the road ahead
Demand For A New Kind of Writing
NetTalk, GoogleScript or another name for a new kind of
writing skill is in the offing simply because advances in
technology have made it necessary.
Google's Sergey Brin wearing his internet eyewear
made with Google Glass
Alexis C. Madrigal, in his Atlantic piece "The World Is Not Enough: Google and the future of Augmented
the coupling of Google Maps and Google Glass will call for
pairing "the kind of local knowledge newspaper reporters
used to accumulate, with the unerring sense of raw
interestingness that the best short-form magazine writers,
bloggers, tweeters, and finderyers (sic) cultivate."
of a mood-jarring canned recitation of facts, the new
writing genre will augment what a person wearing Google
Glasses is experiencing while walking down an unfamiliar
street or touring a museum, department store or other
location by providing a narrative more appealing to him or
her. Video: Project Glass
As USA Today's Roger Yu reports, "digital cartographers
view indoor space as an untapped but potentially lucrative
field for delivering navigation, pushing out
location-relevant information and promoting deals."
The ability to granulize audiences will mean covering the
same material in different ways, depending upon who is
The immense volume of data on the worldwide web (nearly 100
billion pages of data now and 5 billion new wireless devices
connecting to the Internet predicted to be sold and
generating more data in 2013 alone) requires new means, new
shortcuts to organize, communicate and utilize what is
available and pertinent to a particular audience.
Big Data's increasingly sophisticated algorithms can do much
of this but, as Evegen Morozov points out in his New York
Times essay, "You Can't Say That On The Internet,"
censorship is implicit in algorithms and other kinds of
internet technology because somebody, somewhere is deciding
what values are culturally acceptable or befitting a brand's
Yet, an answer to that may be in what an MIT
professor and student have developed: an algorithm model
structure that is determined by the data - not by
humans - in advance. Boston.com cited an MIT press release as its source
and offers an example of this new capability: predicting
hours in advance when
#Bieber will start trending on Twitter.
even more likely to shape a new computer language is word
from The Amsterdam Report that IBM predicts that within five
years computers will touch, smell, hear, taste and see, each
in their own special way.
Also in the Report: a prediction that the human brain will
be upload-able by the end of the century and will be key to
our exploring the universe.
Permalink: Road Ahead
A land-air hybrid vehicle described in a
Scientific American piece passed on by Silvio Calabi may someday make commutes faster
and easier - if not cheaper at a current price of $300,000. The
article by Gary Stix and accompanying video of the auto gyro
evoked mostly negative responses from readers.
Previously announced and recently shown driving on roads and
navigating in water is the Quadski, billed as "The world's
first high-speed sports amphibian." Company founder Alan
Gibbs, said, "The Quadski is capable of reaching speeds of
45 mph on both land and water and transitions between both
in five seconds or less." For more information go to the
Auburn Hills, Mich. company's web site:
"The very rich are different from you and me," one of F. Scott
Fitzgerald's characters said in The Rich Boy. How different
is apparent when a "Suicide 1212" package raises the
purported speed of the Mosler Raptorgtr (the first of
the only one) to 263/mph. Its horsepower to weight ratio is
927hp/ton, 0 to 60 is 2.2 seconds. The cost? Not even
mentioned ("if you have to ask you can't afford it") but the
web site includes a "billionaire's row." Due to Mosler
ending production, this will be the only Raptorgtr that will
ever be built, according to James Todd Wagner, owner of
Supercar Engineering, who has agreed upon terms with
Warren Mosler for a buyout of Mosler automotive under a new brand.
Back in the world of affordable, a new
self-installed device, GasPods, promises to save money at
the pump, extend your car's range and reduce its carbon
footprint. GasPods retail for between $59 and $125, They are
exclusively made in the U.S.A. and distributed globally by
AeroHance, Inc., 715 Kimball Ave., Santa Barbara, CA 93103,
Check GetPodded.com or GasPods.com.
Permalink: Road Signs
mac's detroit dispatch
Screening Top Detroit Show Cars
To wit: Top 10 auto show cars are not really the best!
Here are the NY Times picks-with my comments:
Maynard "Mac" Gordon
1. Corvette 7th generation 2-door called the
Stingray-but why never a 4-door "coupe"? Even one at
2. Cadillac ATS-long-awaited "baby Cadillac" is GM
platform sharer, but performance disappoints as V-8
edition is held up.
3. Cadillac ELR-show car of the year-upmarket Volt
hybrid coupe that answers dealer pleas for stronger
answer to BMW et al.
4. Turning from GM's winners: BMW finally fills
entry-level gap with 4-series coupe priced at $35,545
with AWD. 3-series, the world's favorite 'luxo coupe,'
now facing affordability challenge between 3-series and
5. Bentley charms the snobs with $238K Continental GTC.
We'd love to sell insurance for the 6-figure supercars.
6. Ford is so global that its small 2013 cars still lack
A-one initial quality metrics, especially on the Fusion.
Ford's crop falls short of 'clean' output results too
much. New COO Mark Fields goes after 90 percent-plus
quality on Ford and Lincoln, especially the latter's new
'baby' version-the MKC.
7. Mercedes-Benz- "Affordability" drives the Germans to downprice with a vengeance. In addition to its
unheralded smart minicompact, Mercedes showed showgoers
a $30K C-Class CLA250 sedan, replete with 208 hp 4 with
AWD or front-drive, Mercedes (the only car named after a
woman!) also unwrapped an E-Class E6B sedan and wagon
rated at 550 hp. No prices yet but you better believe
Mercedes won't get beat in the HP race.
8. Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn, never to be outdone, adds
heft to Nissan's and Infiniti's higher-styled looks. The
Nissan Murano crossover and new Infiniti Q50 sedan deliver styling cues like Chihuly glass
pieces-Honda, a U.S.-minded power, debuts a Fit-based
9. New models emerge from heavy hitters Toyota (a
Corolla Furia concept with Lexus-like diode front
lighting); VW (the Cross Blue diesel hybrid SUV pulling
89 MPG and 660-mile range) and Hyundai/Kia (with the new
Kia Cadenza sedan offering a 293-hp V-6 rated at a
suggested price of $33K.
10. Last but not least is luxury sedan sales leader
Lexus, whose IS sport sedan 250 and 350 has been
re-baked as consumers get a choice of all-wheel or rear
drive. It was Lexus and Infiniti, which ushered in the
Detroit (NAIAS) show in 1991.
Audi and Acura strategies promise more bang for the
buck, even on small cars; Audi, Bimmer and Acura draw
peak crowds as 'aspirational brands.'
Fiat, Chrysler leaders confirm that Alfa Romeo will
reenter the North American market this year as evidenced
by displays at the Detroit, LA, Chicago and all other
shows coming this year.
The Fiat 500 and smart exhibits equal the lavish signage
of the larger cars, with cars and girls just as
attractive. Less is more, a welcome crowd pleaser in an
Click here for all the
Mike Davis' recount of his publishing career that he says has ended
with a twist tells enough of his walk on both the PR and Journalism
side of automotive communications to qualify as the Auto writers
Spotlight for January.
"The Gas Miser's Guide is truly among the Undead. I'll
let readers decide whether it should be put back in the casket and
returned to the graveyard from which it came--even though it's just
as timely today as it was 39 years ago when first created. GMG is
both my first and latest book of 15.
"To recap my checkered career first, I was a reporter for The Miami
Daily News and Business Week, as well a correspondent for
Life, Kiplinger and Business Week before joining
Company's Public Relations Staff. After 25 years at Ford, I returned
to the newspaper business as an executive at the Evening News
Association (later, Gannett), as the corporate communications
director. Then I was executive director of the Detroit Historical
Society for five years. After that, nearly 23 years ago, I began
producing books and free-lancing magazine articles, mostly about
"Anyway, in January 1974 when the first gasoline panic in America
since World War II came about, I was Technical and Product
Information Manager for Ford, busily fielding inquiries all day long
every day from media across the continent about fuel economy. An old
friend of mine, Chuck Mackey, who then was partner of a Philadelphia
advertising agency, called me and asked, "Do you know anything about
fuel economy?" I admitted that my day was filled answering questions
on the subject. "Can you write me a book on the subject in the next
two weeks?"Now, that's a challenge and one I couldn't resist if for
no other reason than my wife Mary Kay was just in the process of
having her first book published, Needlepoint from America's Great
Quilt Designs (co-authored with Helen Giammattei, it went on to
become a Book of the Month selection).
"With most of a fuel economy book in my head, at home every night I
banged out the commissioned book on my
Royal Portable (remember
those?) by the due date sometime in February. Chuck massaged my
nerdy PR copy the way only a crack advertising copywriter can, and
his artist partner drew up a series of cartoons of a "gas miser"
character for the book's cover and inside art. Their plan was to
sell it to one of their clients as a premium ("Open an account at
our bank, and we'll send you a book on fuel economy); GMG was
subtitled "Everything you wanted to know about saving gasoline but
didn't know who to ask."
"Unfortunately, Gas Miser's Guide died on the vine in March 1974 when
the fuel crisis--driven then and now by panicky news
media--disappeared almost overnight and the book was never
"Fast forward some 30 years. In an automotive commentary I wrote for
Paul Eisenstein's eZine,
thecarconnection.com, I alluded to this
book I'd written many years before. Much to my surprise, I received
a flurry--maybe half a dozen--emails from readers asking where they
could buy this book, or "bring it back." So I called Chuck and asked
if he could find the copy and artwork. He told me he was long
retired, the business had closed and he had no idea where those
materials were. Then two years later (about a year ago), he called
me back and said he'd just found the copy and most of the artwork,
and had already Fed-Exed it to me.
"I looked over the then 38-year-old manuscript and decided that,
while the essential fuel-saving tips were still valid, it would take
a lot of research and re-writing to bring it up to date with new
regulations, electric cars and exotic fuels--and I'd just been asked
by Arcadia Publishing to produce a photographic history of
Chevrolet, so my agenda was full.
"Then last summer, during a brief respite from Chevy (finally
released in two volumes, in August and December), I attended a
writers' conference where another attendee was praising a no-cost
service to publish ebooks. I told Chuck, why don't we put GMG out
there as a no-risk ebook and see what happens. With the help of our
two in-house computer experts, his son and my daughter, The Gas
Miser's Guide, my first and yet 15th book, was posted on November
29. On that day, I was about to enter the hospital for back surgery
and Chuck was recovering from a broken hip sustained by tripping
over an open dishwasher door in a darkened kitchen. Some pair of
octogenarian authors we turned out to be!"
The Gas Miser's Guide can be found on-line at
Permalink: Autowriters Spotlight
A record 10 auto manufacturers exhibited on the floor of this year's
International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, according to
David Shepardson of the Detroit News. Two of them, Toyota and
highlighted their work on driverless car features for future models. . .
.In case you missed it, a Ford press release announced, "the iconic
1940 Ford Coupe is the latest addition to Ford Motor Company's growing stable
of officially licensed all-steel reproduction car bodies. The full
body shell as well as individual steel panels are available now through
Dennis Carpenter Ford Restoration Parts,
. . . The company also has set February 21 as the deadline for a summary
submission of 2013 Ford Aftermarket Project Vehicle proposals and March
1 as the deadline for submitting the complete proposal. Persons
interested should contact Sherry Kollien or Mike Nicopolis at
firstname.lastname@example.org for more information
A little before
Christmas, John Matras announced the "500th article and 228th review we
posted on the Car Buzzard web site." That "we," includes
BJ Killeen (Buzzardette),
David Boldt, Nick Yost and Ron Moorhead, plus editor and founder Matras,
representing more than 100 years of automotive journalism experience. .
. . Matras also reports, "Saab owners who have been nervous about
warranty service can breathe a little easier. Saab Automobile Parts
North America, a company established to provide genuine Saab parts after
the manufacturer went down like aquavit at a Swedish midsummer festival,
reached an agreement with General Motors to provide warranty
administration and related services through Saab's network of 179
Warranty Service Providers for model year 2009 and prior Saab vehicles
still covered under the GM limited warranty."
Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix is looking for 1,400 volunteers for the
auto race, which is scheduled for the weekend of May 31. Volunteers
drive golf carts, run the media center, take tickets and staff
information booths. Volunteers get a uniform, food and a lapel pin and
are expected to work at least 25 hours. There is a $15 registration fee.
Anyone with interest can sign up at http://www.DetroitGP.com.
British have announced a serious, funded plan to set a 1000 mph landspeed record this summer on a course in South Africa.
Salt Flats trumpet, historian and raconteur Landspeed Louise Noeth says
that if the British team that's held the record for the past several
years does hit 1,000 mph, it will erase the chances of regaining it in
the U.S. because "we don't have the real estate" for such an attempt. .
. . . Neither does Barbados but they'' compensate with two weekends of
historic racing and a carnival
of fun in between, August 15-28. For more information contact:
www.barbadosrallycarnival.com . . . . There'll also be historic races in
the Bahamas in 2013 but AWcom has not been told the dates. For more info
Applications for automotive
scholarships are now available through the 2013 SEMA Memorial
Scholarship Fund (SMSF) at www.sema.org/scholarships. Students preparing
for careers in the auto or auto parts industries may be eligible for
financial awards of up to $5,000. . . . Chrysler PR announced that the
2013 Fiat 500 electric version boasts an "Industry-best 108 MPG highway rating.
Best-in-class EPA combined city/highway estimated driving range of 87
miles and an unsurpassed frugality with EPA-estimated annual
fuel-equivalent cost of $500."
Permalink: Pit Notes
awards and events
The automotive awards season has pretty much survived without AWcom
adding its applause for the many, many people and products honored so
far. Rather than attempt to catch up we will arbitrarily name a few to
confirm that we recognize giving credit and praising accomplishments in
all areas and advances in the industry.
AutoWeek Best of The Best: Porsche Boxster S, Mercedes-Benz GL
North American Car and Truck of The Year: Cadillac ATS, Ram 1500.
Urban Wheels Lifetime Achievement Award:
Kathy Jackson, Automotive News
2012 EPPY Award, Best Automotive Web Site:
JIM CHAPMAN AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN MOTORSPORTS PR:
Judy Kouba Dominick
and Nancy Wager, who represent Chevrolet in motorsports.
CARL BENZ AWARD (Society of Automotive Historians):
Robert E. Petersen Lifetime Achievement Award: Dave McClelland, "The
Voice of NHRA."
Permalink: Awards and Events
"Babies born now will never read anything in print. Face the reality
that print will eventually go away," according to Ben Horowitz,
as quoted by Wooden Horse News from the technology entrepreneur's
speech at the American Magazine Conference in October. . . . The
Newsletter also quoted John Micklethwait, editor-in-chief of
The Economist, " Print is still the most efficient medium to get
across detailed information." . . . Apparently, The Wall Street
Journal agrees, it will launch a new quarterly magazine in March,
WSJ. Money. Also according to Wooden Horse. WSJ.Money will focus on
all the good things that go with having a good deal of green. The editor
is Mike Miller. Contact: 212-416-2000.
The trend to digital prompted internet media guru Clay Shirky
to comment, "publishing isn't a job anymore, it's a button" - which, is
why many writers are learning to press one. A number of new startups
have simplified the task of making apps for Apple's Newsstand.
29th Street Publishing is among them, Wooden Horse reports, while
Glossi, it says, is a publishing platform that enables its users
to create their own online magazines on laptops, tablets and smartphones.
. . .Then there's the question for self-publishers getting paid. Mark
Walsh offers a solution in OnlineMediaDaily - a relatively
new company in New York City: Tinypass. From bloggers up to large
media companies, Tinypass provides the software means to collect fees,
subscriptions, metered reading and other payment arrangements.
Karl Greenberg reports in Marketing Daily, "Ebay Motors
is reaching out to the enthusiast crowd with a new Web Site devoted to
aftermarket customizers and car lovers looking for muscle cars, classics
and automotive odds and ends." It is called eBay Garage. He says,
"Kind of like a Facebook for cars, the site lets visitors 'like'
a vehicle, follow a customizing project someone else is doing, follow
conversations, etc. And sell aftermarket parts and accessories. . . . .
National Speed Sport News, which re-launched last year as a monthly
magazine, has partnered with Emmy-award winning producer Jim Roller
to spearhead its video, television and production efforts under the
Speed Sport TV flag. Plans include an online video channel featuring
on-demand and streaming events, professional video and television
production services, and developing and producing programs for
broadcast. For more information contact Joe Tripp at
Permalink: New Roads
After nearly 10 years of writing weekend columns for Dow Jones'
MarketWatch.com, Ron Amadon (photo-l) and the company have split. He continues to
write about autos daily with a review each Saturday at Ron Amadon's
Roads on Wordpress and
Facebook. He can be emailed
at email@example.com. . . .
Cam Benty (photo-r) is now Marketing Director at
Heidts Automotive Group, an Illinois- based purveyor of hot rod and muscle
Angelo Sakis in Palm Harbor, Fl. is the East Coast Editor of
www.weekenddrive.com. He can be reached by cell phone at 402-541-6124
or emailed: firstname.lastname@example.org.
. . .
Robyn Eagles (photo-l) is the National
Public Relations Mgr. for American
Honda Motor Co. Phone her at
310-783-3163 or Email email@example.com.
Automotive Museum has made a number of moves to expand its outreach.
World-renowned auto collector Peter Mullin has been named Chairman;
Debbie Lewis is now director of business development. She and her late
Jim founded the HotRod & Restoration Show and Trade Magazine and in
2002, the Robert E. Petersen Lifetime Achievement Award. Kahn Media was
named the museum's public relations agency of record, charged with
public relations, media outreach and strategic communications. Agency
president Dan Kahn can be emailed at
Dan@kahnmedia.com or telephoned at
(photo-l), is now Sr. Manager of Communications for
Nissan. He can be reached at:
firstname.lastname@example.org and telephoned:
616-725-6264 . . .Jeff Sabatini is now feature editor for Car and Driver. Email him at:
JeffSabatini@hearst.com or telephone: 734-975-9265 . . . . The San
Francisco Bay area's public car collection, The Blackhawk Automotive
Museum, has a new executive director, Tim McGrane. He is the man to
reach to book events at the impressive facility. Email him at
email@example.com or call 925-736-2280 ext 100.
Jeff Vaughn (photo-r), the new anchor for the 5 pm
newscast on WXYZ-TV in Detroit covers business and autos. Reach him at
or 238-027-9449. . . . Michael Austin has joined Popular Mechanics
as automotive editor. Email
or telephone 212-649-2000 for more information. . . . Patrick George (photo-l) has
departed his auto writing at
the Austin American-Statesman but will continue to write for Jalopnik.com.
Permalink: Lane Changes
Glenn F. Campbell
North American Int'l Auto Show:
Press Preview, Detroit, MI
NAIAS: Industry Preview,
NAIAS: Public Days, Detroit,
Washington Auto Show:
Chicago Auto Show: Media
Preview, Chicago, IL
Chicago Auto Show: First Look
for Charity, Chicago, IL
MAMA Chicago Auto Show:
Breakfast, Chicago, IL
NEMP: Winter Vehicle Judging,
Chicago Auto Show: Public
Days, Chicago, IL
WAJ: The Silicone Valley Car
(joint program w/SAE), Danville, CA
IMPA: New York, NY
Petersen Automotive Museum:
Corvette Day(s), Los Angeles, CA
Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance
Greater New York International
Auto Show: Media Days, New York, NY
Greater New York International
Auto Show: Public Days, New York, NY
SAE 2013 World Congress &
WAJ: Media Days, Monterey, CA
Help us make sure you continue to get the information you
want the way you want it. Keep your autowriters.com profile
current. Fill out the
form online. Thank you!
across the finish line
Robb Mahr - Long time Detroit-based journalist and active member of the
Jack Teahen –Started writing for Automotive News in 1954 and continued
to do so until 2012, well past his formal retirement in 2009, garnering
numerous honors and considerable respect and regard from fellow auto
journalists along the way.
John Cooper Fitch--The first Sports Car Club of America national
champion and a star in European sports-car racing in the 1950s and '60s.
He created the sand-filled Fitch Inertia Crash Barriers that have saved
thousands of lives on racetracks and highways around the world.
Dick Dixon - Writer, educator and lifelong automotive enthusiast.
Publisher of Hot Rod Parts Guide.
Bill Fox - Former Road &Track photographer and SCCA
Your question is whether it looks "weird".
Only after 3 drinks.
# # #
Great issue, thanks.
Bill Wolf, SEMA
# # #
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NEMPA’s annual holiday party
at the Boston Globe drew automakers and media people from across
the country for good food, good company, entertainment and
gifts. OEM’s planning to participate in NEMPA’s Winter Judging
are advised by Prexy Keith Griffin, you can't win if your
vehicles show up only on Feb. 7 and depart Feb. 12. Your best
bet is to get sufficient vehicles into our fleet for an extended
Newly elected IMPA president Dave Kiley works in Detroit
job as editor-in-chief of AOL Autos takes him to New York often
enough that he can handle his IMPA responsibilities. He also
announced that IMPA’s luncheon meetings will be changed to the
third Tuesday of every month, to better accommodate members
whose editorial deadlines keep them from attending meetings on a
Audi of America president Scott Keogh will deliver the
keynote address at the Newsmaker
Breakfast on January 30 to kick-off two Public Policy Days prior
to the opening of the Washington Auto Show, Feb. 1. The show
itself has made several changes, including the grouping of 11
upscale makes in a “luxury Showcase” and at least six different
"ride 'n drives" offered by manufacturers on the streets outside
the Washington Convention Center.
Michael Marrs is the new President of the Texas Auto
Writers Association, TAWA. A freelance autowriter and
photographer, he raced and built hot rods before gravitating to
journalism. TAWA has begun a new quarterly newsletter, edited by
Jo Ann Holt.
"The Silicon Valley Car" is a natural topic for the
northern California group of Western Automotive Journalists,
WAJ. They’ll meet with area members of the Society of
Automotive Engineers, SAE, on Sept. 19 to explore the
growing role of high-tech in the automobile.
The top vote-getters in the The Motor Press Guild board
member elections were PR folk, Darryll
Pollack, and Doug Stokes. To keep a supply of
journalists board members available for the top post, as
required in the MPG by-laws, the board was expanded to add
journalists Jason Fogelson and Mike Antich, who
tied for fourth in the voting.
motoring press organizations
The 17 regional automotive press associations provide
information and background not easily found elsewhere. If they are too distant for you to attend their meetings,
belonging usually gives you access to transcripts or reports of
these events and other benefits.
American Auto Racing Writers & Broadcasters Association, Inc.
Norma "Dusty" Brandel
President, Exec. Director
Automotive Press Association
Joann Muller, President
American Racing Press Association
Stan Clinton, President
Dave Kiley, President
Greater Atlanta Automotive Media Association
Davis Adams, President
Tom Appel, President
Motor Press Guild
Los Angeles, CA
Aaron Gold, President
New England Motor
Keith Griffin, President
Nik Miles, President
Phoenix Automotive Press
Cathy Droz, President
Rocky Mountain Automotive Press
Nathan Adlen, President
Southern Automotive Media
Jaimie Flores, President
Southeast Automotive Media Organization
Texas Auto Writers Association
Truck Writers of
Tom Kelley, Executive Director
Western Automotive Journalists
San Francisco, CA
Washington Automotive Press Association
Jessica Anderson, President www.washautopress.org