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april 2014 newsletter

The Road Ahead
Autowriters Road Ahead: Rinspeed Driverless Car

From hands-free driving to control central for the Internet of Things, connected cars are sparking entrepreneurs from the Silicon Valley to New England's Innovation Hub and points in between. No more so than in Michigan where 70 to 80 percent of the auto industry's $11.7 billion R & D activity is centered according to MiBiz's Nick Manes' report of a study by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.

The sizzle is selling but the meat is far from done. Just how far from done and what else is on the menu is the focus of the 14th annual Telematics Update Detroit, June 4-5 at The Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi, just outside of the Motor City.

An expanded, 100-plus speaker slate of experts from across the telematics industry value chain is expected to out-draw last year's 2,000 senior executives who attended the big-ticket gathering. | Road Ahead: Telematics UpdateRepresentatives from Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz and Nissan will deliver keynote addresses. Executives from Ford, GM, Panasonic, VW, Gartner and Progressive Insurance will also take the stage during the conference. A snapshot view of some handpicked start-ups will be provided in a "Shark Tank" format with each company allotted five minutes to pitch its innovative ideas to a voting audience. Other firms represented include: Chrysler, Harman, Pandora, Sony, Nuance, Magneti Marelli and Spotify. Go here for a current list of participants.

Telematics, Wikipedia tells us, differs from telemetry in that the latter transmits data from one source to another, and the former sends, receives and stores information in conjunction with affecting control on remote objects. For example: a camera and a car's brakes or streetlights and its headlights.

Some of the potholes, twists, turns and construction zones on the way to the connected car's full role in the Internet of Things will be presented and analyzed at the conference. Common versus competing systems is one. Is differentiation worth the cost or is a common system such as BlackBerry's QNX or AppleVoice, now being used by 15 manufacturers giving too much control to one supplier? Is hacking, a real possibility?

For the first time, there will be a pre-event media conference June 3 for pre-approved journalists, who will also have access to the two-days of speakers, the world's largest gathering of connected cars and some of the latest telematic developments and innovations. Register online.

Autowriters Road Ahead: Video: Car to Car Warning Systems

Scientific American: "Vehicles that can communicate with each other and alert their drivers to traffic hazards may soon be seen on America's roads and highways. U.S. regulators are crafting a rule requiring all new vehicles to be able to 'talk' to one another."
Watch video.

Scientific American writer Larry Greenemeier's article: Fact or Fiction?: Your Car Is Hackable points to hackers taking control of a self-driving car and swerving it into traffic, boosting its speed or jamming on the brakes. Also in waiting are all the developments required to provide the network of devices and capabilities needed for a connected car to fulfill its potential.


road signs

The most immediate of this issue's "Road Signs" is the observation or warning by David Carr's media column in the NY Times: Risks Abound as Reporters Play in Traffic. He says, "Journalists who were paid to write when the muse or events beckoned, are now held accountable for the amount of work they produce and the volume of traffic it attracts ...The availability of ready metrics on content is not only changing the way news organizations compensate their employees, but will have a significant effect on the news itself." He illustrates this point with several examples and possibilities that are worth reading.

Typical traffic generator....

Autowriters Road Signs: Video - Which is the guilty dog

Email Insider's David Baker predicts that by 2017, email will be used to send instructions or actually activate 3D printers to produce products. Replacement parts for cars are expected to be among them, if not in three years, soon. Other developments Baker predicts: virtual currencies will be accepted, putting buy, sell or trade at our fingertips; the ability to tie marketing to scents, providing "a real emotive connection," a single screen that can be projected on any surface, car, bathroom wall, eyewear, as well as TV, Ipad or smartphone. He concludes his prognostications with a quote attributed to Albert Einstein, "It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity."

Yet another forecast comes from Joe Espelien, a senior advisor at The Diffusion Group (TDG). As reported by P.J. Bednarski in VidBlog, a TDG survey of video viewing indicates that by 2020 legacy TV viewing will be down 25%. That is not a startling trend, Bednarski notes, citing the 1990 ratings leader was "Cheers" at 21.3 while the 2013 leader was Sunday Night Football with an 8.3 rating. He says, "Espelien's new Big 4 are Amazon, Apple, Google, and Microsoft, which aren't very new at all as powerful Web forces, but (with the exception of Apple) are much newer as content players." Espelien says, about his new Big 4, according to Bednarski, "each one is 'building global ecosystems to support quantum video viewing - the multi-screen, multi-context, highly-personalized video viewing experiences.' In short, they're where the money is. Or will be."

Or, in a few more years into the next decade, we may well be where the Internet takes us. A joint study by the Pew Research Center and Elton University's Imaging the Internet Center, titled Digital Life in 2025, reveals persons recognized as Internet experts believe the Internet, "will become 'like electricity' – less visible, yet more deeply embedded in people's lives for good and ill." Some of the developments seen by the experts are hardly unexpected, others seem idealistic and a few suggest serious concerns such as humans losing primacy to devices. For a quick summary go to: The Center for Media Research's report: Research Brief: The Gurus Speak: The Internet Impact in 10 Years. Or see the full report at Pew Internet.


pit notes

A commercial not seen in recent reviews of the Ford Mustang's introduction 50 years ago is one that showed a prim and proper MissMary Barra shake the decorum of her office job, literally let her hair down and hit the open road in her Mustang convertible. Whether it was the competition or Ford's intent, there were those who called it, "the secretary's car." That was before Carroll Shelby put some muscle in it and it truly became a good-looking, affordable performance car.

Also not seen are cynical media appraisals of Dan Ackerman's hasty departure from GM, stepping out the door just before the recalls hit the fan. And, the departure of his PR chief, Selim Bingol, who may have advised his boss to point to his wife's illness and run for cover while the image-shattering appointment of Mary Barra stole the headlines. Perhaps it was shrewd reverse sexism, recognizing that GM's image would be softened and hoping she would symbolize a "new GM," while banking on people in and out of the company rooting for Barra to succeed, holding their wrath long enough, at least, for Ackerman to swim safely to shore, his public record ostensibly blameless and to privately indulge his reported distain for some of the male CEO aspirants around him. To be fair, AW contributing columnist Mac Gordon has suggested GM's turmoil would make a great opera with Barra as the soprano protagonist surrounded by male tenors and baritones.

Autowriters Pit Notes: Video: Mustang the "Secretary's Car"

This black and white version of one TV spot in the "Secretary Campaign” - not the one referenced above -  but enough to establish where "secretary's car" came from and, in AW's opinion, a tone-deaf response to Betty Friedan's Feminine Mystique published three years earlier that fomented America's second wave of feminism. Carrie Nation exciting the first.


Hugo Miller writing for, reports that somewhat surprisingly, BlackBerry, Ltd., which fell from the lead to less than 1 per cent of the global cellphone market, is the leader in the connected car market which is predicted to reach $83 billion by 2018. The Canadian company's QNX operating system has become "the technology of choice for mapping, communication and entertainment systems in cars from Ford Motor Co. to luxury German brands Porsche and BMW, Miller states." One of QNX's biggest selling points he says, "is that it's a microkernel-based operating system -- meaning it has multiple layers or servers that keep operating even if one is shut off or freezes." QNX's reliability has been documented in contracts with the U.S. Army's unmanned Crusher tank and nuclear power plants operated by Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. That is comforting to carmakers and will help sell connected cars to consumers.

They're called "Easter Eggs," drivers of Chrysler vehicles can search for, according to Mark Phelan's April 17 story in The Detroit Free Press: Chrysler gives owners a wink to history with hidden images. According to Phelan, whose story was brought to AW's attention by former co-Autowriters Pit Notes: Chrylser Easter Eggs : Willys Jeepworker Marty Habelewski.  As part of a whimsical game Chrysler design teams have embedded images into some of their cars for consumers to try to find. For example: a tiny image of a 1941 Willys Jeep climbing up the corner of 2011 Wrangler windshield or other demi-totems such as floor mats imprinted with the outline of race courses where the Viper set records or another with an outline of the Detroit skyline sans the iconic GM building.

This July Fourth, a radically expanded and revised edition of Karl Ludvigsen's book, Corvette - America's Star-Spangled Sports Car - The Complete History, 1953-1982, will go on sale through Bentley Publishing. This new edition more than doubles the size of the 1973 edition of Ludvigsen's landmark Corvette history book, with 784 pages, 989 photos and illustrations, and 52 chapters (compared with the original's 19 chapters.). Ludvigsen's only US appearance in support of this book will be Friday, June 27 when he is inducted into the Great Hall at the 41st annual Bloomington Gold show in Champaign County, Ill. It is the longest continuously running Corvette event in the U.S. and Ludvigsen will sign books at the Bentley stand there. For more information and to order go here.


new roads

Autowriters New Roads: Outdoorx4 Digital MagNew to AW is OutdoorX4, a bimonthly print and digital publication sub-titled: "Adventure is Worthwhile." Editor Frank Ledwell says, "OutdoorX4 is focused on providing engaging articles and photography of which you can relate to, whether in a 4x4, dual-sport motorcycle, or on a hike, camping, mountain biking, fishing . . . you name it!" For more information visit: or email: . . . Wooden Horse Newsletter reports, "Black Television News Channel should be launching in about a year. It plans to air live news from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., followed by commentary programs until 9 p.m. The network does not have established TV personalities to attract target viewers yet. Co-founder is Robert Brillante.

The inverse dynamic of data growing exponentially while the time to keep up becomes proportionally shorter or the multiplying media means to target and reach consumers dividing the subscriber and advertiser dollars available to use them, may indeed produce a new form of journalism. Shaun Koiner, writing in Online Publishing Insider, thinks so. He says, "The idea that it always takes 600-700 words to elucidate an opinion is ridiculous. That (approximate) mythical word count was determined by the 72 column inches in newspaper pages for the previous 100-plus years. Those pages dictated an organization's ability to tell the story that needed to be told. Consequently, there still are far too many people convinced that "journalism" is what printed newspapers used to do. That's patently false. Journalism is content that serves readers. Sometimes they're the same thing. These days, they often are not." He praises Circa and theScore, both of whom, he says, "have redesigned the packaging of news in a concise, clean experience that's optimized for mobile devices.

That most likely is what the NYTimes is doing in its own way by introducing new digital "packages" for the news its sizeable staff gathers and reports so professionally. One of the new packages is Times Premier, which the editors say, "is an enhanced offering that takes you beyond the news, with access to exclusive behind-the-scenes content and expanded benefits."

The other is NYT Now which Erik Sass describes in Media Daily News as offering access to a curated collection of the most important NYT content, including videos, infographics and slide shows, as well as content from around the Web. The information appears in a continuously updated News stream, where the user can click on summaries to go to full stories. Sass quotes NYTCO CEO Mark Thompson "Our goal with this next phase of our paid products strategy is to satisfy the demand for Times journalism by giving new subscribers the ability to choose the amount of access they desire at a price point that suits them, and to enhance the value we offer our current loyal subscribers." Re-packaging "All the news fit to print," fitting the time and dollars available.


awards & events

Mark Rechtin, West Coast editor for Automotive News, won a first-place prize in the 2014 Jesse H. Neal Awards, a major Competition for business-to-business media. He won "Best Range of Work by a Single Author". . . .Michael Strong reports for the Detroit Bureau: "For the second consecutive year, new car buyers voted Honda "Best Overall Brand" in Kelley Blue Book's annual Brand Image Award study. The company also took the "Most Trusted Brand" honor for the third straight year. Ford was named the best truck brand and Mercedes the top luxury brand. . . . The Audi A3 was named the "World Car of The Year" by a panel of 69 judges representing 22 different countries. The "World Car Design of the Year" and "World Green Car of the Year" went to the BMW i3. Journalist judges in the annual awards regularly test drive cars.


autowriters spotlight

Not long after AW reported launching of The Car Guy TV in Dallas, Texas, questions arose about the whereabouts and activities of the original "Car Guy." To AW's best knowledge, that would be Steve Ford, who registered "The Car Guy" as his service mark in 1985 and has used it ever since in print and on radio, TV and the Internet. So AW asked him what's he been up to and what he is doing with the byline today. His response becomes this month's Autowriters Spotlight.

Most of my closest lifetime friends have migrated from where we met in our high school auto shop class into careers that could leave someone today wondering how they ever fit into the ‘gearhead' stereotype. Still, they're all car guys and into the car hobby to this day.Autowriters Spotlight: Steve Ford "The Car Guy:

For me, that teenage passion for cars forged during those impressionable years pointed to an inevitable career path with commercial use of the registered service mark The Car Guy®.

From early work as a mechanic just out of high school and into the automotive industry, to the moment I started work as The Car Guy in 1983 to pay for college, to every newspaper or magazine article published, radio or television segment broadcast, convention or keynote speech delivered, technical training seminar or automotive class presented, I have worked to uphold the best of this original title. As a moniker for my byline, it reflects the inspirational education I first received as a teenager reading the enthusiast magazines for which many of you write today.

Generating a part-time income in college from used-car inspections for customers was a perfect fit to allow daytime classes. Meanwhile, writing automotive columns for the school newspaper and delivering car tips on the college radio station, KCSN, also opened a view to broadcast journalism.

A few professors and even some buddies laughed about what seemed too lighthearted in use of "The Car Guy" in an era when the predominant and accepted terms for a car person were "car buff", "car enthusiast" and "gearhead," even as being a "car guy" was an emerging new term - among a number of others (including "petrol head" and "motor head" from European car culture).

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An attorney told me I should check with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to confirm that I had adopted an original title. He pointed out that this would both respect the right of any prior or similar registrant and help prevent likelihood of confusion for consumers. After a nationwide search to confirm the originality of The Car Guy, following the registration steps, I received USPTO approval for exclusive use of the mark in 1985.

A moment after college, I was fortunate to land at Los Angeles radio station KHJ to become a part-time broadcaster in their 'Car Radio' format with daily 60-second car features. From the KHJ radio platform, I began writing local freelance newspaper columns for Santa Monica's weekly newspaper and later for the daily Santa Monica Outlook, along with new-car commentary for other media outlets, including KNBC TV news. Later employment in automotive advertising and national public relations enabled the good fortune of an increased income, while continued work as a freelance journalist added more automotive writing experience.

An eventual opportunity to become a regular columnist as The Car Guy for the Santa Barbara News-Press opened another door in 1995 when local station NewsTalk KTMS invited me to host a live radio program. A year later a weekly opportunity opened up to deliver The Car Guy TV consumer feature on Santa Barbara's KEY3-TV News.

When a chance to move to and work in "Motown" arrived, it also provided a series of experiences across five years that included hosting The Car Guy show on radio in the Motor City, while also contributing new-car features and car tips as The Car Guy for Detroit's FOX2-TV News, as well as freelance work including The Detroit News, MOTOR magazine, Autoweek, The Auto Channel, Green Car Journal and the Copley Newspaper Group, among others. Along the way, I earned an M.A. in Distance Learning through Michigan State University's night school program.

Steve Ford: Differential Change

Once a car guy, always a car guy.

When my wife and I missed California and returned to the west coast, l was thankful to be hired as The Car Guy by the DIY Network to join Lauren Fix The Car Coach® as co-hosts of a national car-care TV series. In more recent years I‘ve been fortunate enough to have worked for the California Motor Car Dealers Association as a certified ASE Master Automotive Technician traveling throughout the state as an auto industry representative and speaker to thousands of youth in high schools on behalf of the industry and share my career as The Car Guy and encourage them to explore our field through automotive internships.

Meanwhile, through the years since to this moment, I've continued hosting the website with ongoing articles, audio and video segments along with The Car Guy TV appearances on car care, including consumer tips on the national CBS Early Show.

Today I continue to host The Car Guy radio show weekly from Santa Barbara/Ventura, Calif., on NewsTalk KTMS. In high school I learned that the best rides can't be bought, they have to be built. And while I'll be the first to say I stand in the shadow of a titan car guy like Bob Lutz or Jay Leno, so long as these machines we call "symphonies in agitated metal" roar, purr - or even hum electrons, I look forward to continuing as The Car Guy and stay in touch with that inner teenager from auto shop.


passing scene

This photo was posted by Bold Ride. It is the Lykan Hypersport, the first Lebanese supercar ever built and for only $3.4 million. Want to hear what it sounds like? Watch video. Passing Scene: Lykan Hupersport, first Lebanese supercar

Arrinera Hussarya Supercar:  Not to be outdone by the Lebanese, Poland has its first supercar ready for production. According to Bold Ride, where the photos and information were posted, this 650-horsepower beauty completed chassis testing by renowned engineer and suspension expert Lee Noble and could be on the road in the near future with a top speed of 211 mph, Bold Ride reports. | Passing Scene: Arrinera Hussarya Supecar

Hand-mounted pennies gave this 1949 Cadillac a unique $383.00 paint job. The 38,295 were secured with silicon and took six weeks to complete. They added 200 lbs to the car's weight.

Autowriters Passing Scene: 1949 Cadila painted with pennies.

And if you have an urge to get out of the office but need to work, here's the Lexani Motorcars' Beleza—A Mercedes-Benz Sprinter complete with stylish and elegant workspace.

Autowriters Passing Scene: Lexani Motorcars' Beleza


regional news


The Petersen Museum's exhibit of "The World's Greatest Sports Coupes" selected by celebrity collectors is now open to the public in Los Angeles. Included among many who helped curate the display are: Patrick Dempsey, Francis Ford Coppola, Bobby Rahal and NickAutowriters: Regional News: Auto Club Dragway Sound Barrier Mason. . . As Mark Vaughn reports in AutoWeek: this photo shows a solution 40 years in the coming: instead of moving to escape encroaching suburbia or shutting down altogether (as many dragstrips were forced to do) the Auto Club in Fontana, Calif. built this million-dollar wall to ease the ears of nearby neighbors when the fun begins. . . . Chrysler cars designed by the famed Virgil Exner have been added to the Palos Verdes Concours September 14 at the Trump National Golf Course in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif.


The Pacific Coast Region of Team Shelby will be hosting their Carroll Shelby Memorial Classic car show at the Blackhawk Museum Plaza on Sunday, May 10, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.. . . . . . On May 17, in association with the Sonoma Historic Motorsports Festival, the Blackhawk Automotive Museum is planning a 'day at the track'. The day will include a group drive from the Blackhawk Museum to the renowned Sonoma Raceway to enjoy one of the leading vintage car race events, and the opportunity to drive your car on the track during the lunch time session. This opportunity will be limited to the first 40 people to register.


"The Forward Look" of Chrysler cars from 1955-1961 will be highlighted in the Sunday, July 27 Concours d'Elegance of America at St. John's, outside of Detroit. The display will tell the story of "The Forward Look," with carefully selected examples from each generation of the genre. Virgil Exner Jr., retired Ford designer and son of Virgil Exner, will be an honorary judge and will also be conducting a seminar on the development and evolution of the "Forward Look" cars.

Autowriters Regional News: 1960 Plymouth XNR concept car, designed by Virgial Exner


Topics NEMPA will discuss at its May 29 annual tech conference at MIT include: "How will we adapt to these new safety and interface technologies, and the cognitive demands associated with them? What will be the impact on car prices? On safety and insurance regulations? How are the auto industry, the scientific community and the public sector working together to make us safer drivers? The group's annual general meeting and awards dinner will take place that evening, after the tech conference.


On May 10 Sam Posey will be the honored guest and speaker as the International Motor Racing Research Center hosts a talk about the Formula 5000 series in 1971 and 1972, that was lauded by some and overlooked by many. Posey finished 2nd in the series both years. . . . No frills, just a long day of driving, much of it overlooking the Hudson, for IMPA's annual Spring Brake to Bear Mountain.
Registration closes May 7 for the May 15 event.


To commemorate the 50th anniversary of The Beatles arriving in America and the elegance of classic British automobiles, the 2014 Pinehurst Concours d'Elegance will stage a "British Invasion" concert in the Village of Pinehurst , N.C. on May 3. Also on display at the Concours Sunday May 4, on loan from the Petersen Automotive Museum, will be a 1956 Jaguar XKSS once owned by movie legend Steve McQueen as well as the Hot Wheels-branded Snake and Mongoose Funny Cars, now owned by NASCAR car owner Rick Hendrick.


lane changes

Autowriters Lane Changes: Matt DeLorenzoA little late in getting to AW, former Road & Track editor Matt DeLorenzo has been at Kelley Blue Book for five months as managing editor, news. Try him at  . . . Matt Degen's Kelley Blue Book address is His phone # is 949-267-4814. He is a senior associate editor there. . . . Muhammed Elhasan has left the Torrance (Calif.) Daily Breeze and suggests releases go to:  . . Pete Vanlaw has phased out his Western Branch Productions email address and can now be reached at:

Rick Bourgoise has joined Toyota MotorSales, U.S.A.'s Midwest publicAutowriters Lane Changes: Rick Bourgoise relations Team. He brings 19 years of PR and media experience to the post with 15 of them in automotive brand development and strategies. He was director of communications for Smart USA. Unless Toyota's email protocol has changed, Rick's email is To verify, the Midwest office telephone is (313) 259-4598.

Freelancer Nick Zart's Car News Cafe can be reached at  or 562-244-305. . .. Eric Cruz has supplanted Elizabeth Williams as a press fleet coordinator for Mercedes-Benz/USA Event Solutions. Email him at:  . . . Joe Momber has replaced Jeremy Hayhurst as the Autobody News contact. Reach  him at:   . . . Tom Stahler has moved to Vintage Race Car where he is contributing editor and director of sales and marketing. His email:

Forty five year car-talk radio pioneer, auto writer and skilled master auto service technician David Finkelstein has moved to new car auto Autowriters Lane Changes: David Finkelstineditor (both web and print) for the upscale St. Louis-based pub "The 9s Magazine" ( Previously, he was with New Times Publishing/River Front Times Additionally, David's "live" Saturday car talk radio show is now heard on TuneIn mobile App Radio, H-D Radio, the Internet, iHeart App Radio, and PodCasted. It's also heard on ITunes and the100,000 watt FM 97.1/KFTK (FOX News Radio). It unfolds in the noon hour/central time. His email is


- 30-

Glenn Campbell, Owner, Publisher

Glenn F. Campbell

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April 2014
2 WAPA | Luncheon - Nissan Taxi Demo/Drives - Washington, D.C.
3-6 AutoFair | Charlotte Motor Speedway - Charlotte, N.C.
6 MPG | Power Trip: Toyota Automobile Museum - Torrance, CA
6-7 SAE | 2014 High Efficiency IC Engine Symposium - Detroit, MI
7 Automotive PACE Awards, Detroit, MI
8-10 SAE World Congress | Detroit, MI
16-17 New York Int'l Auto Show: Media Days, New York, NY
18-27 New York Int'l Auto Show: Public Days | New York, NY
24 SAMA | Luncheon - Miami, FL - Honda
26-27 SO CAL Test Drive Expo | Long Beach, CA
27 Peter Brock | Blackhawk Museum
27-28 TAWA | Auto Roundup - Ft. Worth, TX
29 NEMPA | Dinner - Automation Garage, Nissan Taxi Dem and Drive
May 2014
1-3 Pinehurst Concours | Pinehurst, NC
7 APA | Luncheon - Detroit, MI - Michelin Design Panel
13 MPG | Droptops & Dirt - Malibu, CA
14 WAPA | Luncheon & Drive -Manor Park, MD, KIA
15 APA | Luncheon - Detroit, MI - KIA
15 IMPA | Spring Brake - Bear Mountain, NY
20-22 MAMA | Spring Rally - Elkhart Lake, WI
June 2014
1-3 Pinehurst Concours | Pinehurst, NC
3 Telematics Update Detroit | Media Day - Suburban Collection Showcase, Novi, MI
3 Telematics Update Detroit | Awards Gala Dinner - Hyatt Place, Novi, MI
7 APA | Luncheon - Detroit, MI - Michelin Design Panel
18 APA | Luncheon - DAC, Detroit, MI, JD Power IQS
July 2014
15 Concours d'Elegance of America | Short Lead Press Day, Plymouth, MI
24-27 Concours d'Elegance of America  |  Plymouth, MI


talk back

Telltale Symbols

Everyone knows the symbol for every make of car is there (sic) emblem. It is important. It says who they are. Some I think are beautiful, example the Alfa Romero and the Aston Martin to name a few.

Chevy has a nice badge that is synonymous with its brand. The problem is that the bean counters have turned them into junk. Almost everyone you see is fading or peeling which tells the public my brand is junk and will fall apart. They need to wake up.

Best regards,

John (Morris)


Hi Glenn,

I have news for you for the April newsletter: I (freelancer Robert E. Calem) was elected Second Vice President of the International Motor Press Association (IMPA) Board of Directors for 2014.



Help! Car Shot Sought

I am interested to know if you could help me find information regarding the car my family drove in 1940. It was a Renault 1938-39 stretch limousine. I have written a book about that period and need a picture of that car. My father drove it from Brussels (Belgium) to Lisbon (Portugal). Thanks for any help you might be able to give me.

Dina Klayman

Process Improvement Simplified

My first new book, released March 14, is "Process Improvement Simplified — a How-to-Book for Success in any Organization," published by the American Society for Quality (ASQ). While the title may be off-putting journalistically, there is a good story here in how this book came about — by a team of retired Ford Motor Company retirees from meetings of the Ford Retired Engineering Executives (F.R.E.E.) club. Further, my role as a veteran wordsmith was to try to make the book readable, as opposed to the usual tomes gracing management textbook shelves.

My two co-authors are brilliant Chinese-American brothers, former Ford manufacturing and quality managers, and we were guided by a panel of other retired executives, meeting together monthly over several years to develop and refine the book.

One of my other ideas was to omit any mention of Ford, the auto industry or Detroit from the manuscript, so that it would stand on its own feet void of any cultural biases. Yet the book is, I believe, richly (if anonymously) anecdotal with case histories (but few from the auto industry).

The underlying message of the book is that Process Improvement—P I for short—is applicable to any organization: business, NGO, professional and local government.

Secondly, Arcadia Publications is releasing on April 7 my photographic history of the Ford Mustang, “Mustang and the Pony Car Revolution.”  This is my own take as an automotive historian of the background and development of Mustang (and its competitors) over the 50 years being celebrated next month. As far as I know, I am the only Ford insider authoring a Mustang book; no doubt there will be several Mustang anniversary books issued this year. The Mustang book is my 16th commercially published book of which I have been author, co-author, editor or major contributor, all since retiring from Ford PR after 25 years, my subsequent ENA/Gannett days and later as executive director of the Detroit Historical Society.

Just to show I am even-handed despite my Ford years, in 2012 Arcadia published my two-volume photographic history of Chevrolet.

Best wishes,

Michael W. R. (Mike) Davis

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motoring press organizations

North American 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.

Logo: AARWBA - Automotive Auto Racing Writers & Broadcasters Association

Norma "Dusty" Brandel
President, Exec. Director

Automobile Journalists Association of Canada


Automotive Press Association
Detroit, MI

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Mark Phelan, President

American Racing Press Association

Lo Association

Stan Clinton, President


Eastern Motorsports Press Association
Ballston Spa, NY

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Ron Hedger, President


Greater Atlanta Automotive Media Association
Atlanta, GA

GAAMA: Greater Atlanta Automotive Association

Davis Adams, President

International Motor Press Association

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Dave Kiley, President


Midwest Automotive Media Association
Chicago, IL

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Kirk Bell, President

Motor Press Guild
Los Angeles, CA

Joni Gray, President

New England Motor Press Association
Boston, MA

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Craig Fitzgerald, President

Northwest Automotive Press Association
Portland, OR

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Nik Miles, President

Phoenix Automotive Press Association
Phoenix, AZ

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Cathy Droz, President

Rocky Mountain Automotive Press
Denver, CO

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Andre Smirnov, President

Southern Automotive Media Association
Miami FL

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Bill Adam, President  

Southeast Automotive Media Organization
Charlotte, NC

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Texas Auto Writers Association

Michael Marrs

Truck Writers of North America

Logo: Truck Writers of North America

Tom Kelley, Executive Director

Western Automotive Journalists
San Francisco, CA

Logo: Western Automotvie Journalists

Brian Douglas

Washington Automotive Press Association
Washington, D.C.


Melanie Batenchuk, President

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