was awarded the Harriet Leavenworth Prize for outstanding performance in the field of illustration, as well as the M. Peter Piening prize in advertising design.
Still, Grove took time off to pursue his automotive passions. For example, he and a bunch of buddies, as well as his brother, attended the 1961 United States Grand Prix at Watkins Glen. Though Innes Ireland won driving a Lotus, this Formula One race is best remembered for being Stirling Moss’ final GP; his Lotus failed to finish.
After graduating from college—magna cum laude, no less—Grove took a job with Mel Richman, Inc; its large production studio was located not far from his parents’ home in Drexel Hill. “This was one of the last big full-service operations on the East Coast,” wrote Grove in his autobiography. “I had my own illustration/design studio overlooking the Schuylkill River and downstairs was the biggest state-of-the-art photo studio I had ever seen.”
Grove had landed an ideal job, and by all accounts he flourished at Mel Richman. After two years, though, wanderlust set in and he decided it was time to take off for Europe. He had saved up $3,000, which he guessed was enough to last him six months overseas. Problem was, that amount of dough could just about buy him a brand-new ’64 Corvette. “It was a remarkably beautiful car,” Grove wrote. “I even got as far as picking out the engine, transmission, color and accessories. Came to about $3,300.” He managed to overcome this “brief deflection,” however, and bought a one-way transatlantic boat fare and set sail for the Old Country.
And the ’53 Corvette? Grove kept it, stowing it in a neighbor’s garage. Little did Mrs. Hoover know that Grove’s six-month jaunt would morph into a four-year sabbatical.
At first, Grove kept to his plan of traveling through Europe, most of which he did on a BMW motorcycle. As predicted, his money lasted about half a year, yet the desire to return Stateside did not correspond with the status of his bank account. As he put it, “By the time the money was gone, I didn’t want to leave.” Grove set up shop in Paris, but instead of knocking on the doors of production houses, he put his hands on the ebony and ivory—along with all his other talents, Grove was a pretty good pianist, too. Given his love of jazz, especially the work of Miles Davis, and the fact that it was the mid-’60s, it’s easy to understand his desire to immerse himself in the scene. Playing for tips kept Grove in baguettes and wine, but it didn’t take him long to realize that it wasn’t much of a career.
Grove had been making quick sketches in Europe, including one of the Mako Shark Corvette concept car shown at the 1965 Paris Auto Show. “I was drawing while the car was slowly rotating on a display turntable—not easy,” he wrote. But his focus was on photography at the time, and it was in that field that he thought his future lay. Grove had a French designer look at his photography portfolio, and being impressed with what he saw, the man gave him the names of three reps.