if you're reading this then you not seeing a lot of great images!
may 2011

This month's newsletter is sponsored by Demand Media

Demand Media: How Hiring Automotive Writers
the road ahead

One Man's Road Ahead - William Jeanes has had a distinguished career in automotive communications, a craft which he treated as a profession and expected those who worked for him to do likewise. He spoke out on the need for literary and ethical standards in a field of journalism that often invites and sometimes requires compromises in at least the latter and increasingly devalues the former. His voice will be missed now that he appears to be turning to other pursuits.

Musings from An Automotive Dinosaur

I've followed the Blogosphere vs. Establishment controversy as presented on during recent months. As some of you know, I spent a few decades as a part of the establishment, most visibly as a writer, an editor-in-chief, and a publisher at Car and Driver magazine. I also worked in the world of advertising agencies for ten years and was thus allowed to see car magazines and automotive writing from a second perspective.

William JeanesI am now 73; my first for-pay automotive freelance piece appeared in AutoWeek in 1972, and my most recent piece is a less-than-serious history of the automobile that will appear in the May/June issue of The Saturday Evening Post. I recently quit an editor-at-large slot at AOL Autos, and I'm now inclined to log off my laptop insofar as automotive writing is concerned. Why? Because I have other interests that I want to explore in the few years remaining to me before the world succumbs to vapor lock. And because I don't think automotive writing matters as much as it once did.

For years I've been convinced that cars have become too good to support meaningful criticism. Hybrids and electrics have provided some diversion, of course, just as they did in the early 1900s, but that does not change my conviction that the industry has improved and refined itself to the point of dullness. I and my peers have been reduced to the undignified picking of nits. Most of all, a decreasing number of publications have the space or inclination to run long features, which is what I enjoy writing. Further, pay for writers has adjusted inversely to inflation.

With the arrogant belief common to all writers - that someone, somewhere, wants to read what you write - I am going to offer up some thoughts and mention some principles I've come to value during the past forty years. As I express my thoughts, with any luck I will irritate both sides of the continuing discussion in equal measure.

I begin by saying that I was a writer before I was a car person even though I pulled a wrench for pay from about age 15. I was 34 before I sold an article about cars (about racing, actually). I was a car enthusiast, but not to the point of hysteria.

When Car and Driver offered me a staff writing position in 1972, I had just been accepted to the University of Arkansas writing program. I opted for the excitement of New York, writing on a daily basis, and pay. I've never regretted that decision.

After three and one-half years there, the late David E. Davis, Jr. then creative director at Campbell-Ewald (Chevrolet, Goodyear), brought me into the advertising profession. He called me in 1975, before we ever met, and said, "I sure like your stuff. Why don't you come out to Detroit and let me teach you the advertising business?" I went, and I never regretted that decision either.

Most automotive writers cannot make the transition from prose writing to copywriting; I never understood why, but it's so. I learned that advertising writing was a business, a complicated one. At some point, it became obvious to me that automotive writing or, more accurately automotive publishing, was likewise a for-profit activity.

There was no need for a Scarlett O'Hara moment ("As God is my witness, I'll never be hungry again."). I just came to realize that, writer or not, I had no intention of starving in the pursuit of writing. Rightly or wrongly I liked money and still do. According to our President I've made a great deal more than my share.

My late father was fond of saying, "You can tell a lot about a man when you watch him get something free." I believed that, based only on my pre-magazine years. Imagine my reaction when, on my first press junket as a Car and Driver writer, I witnessed the spectacle of a gaggle of automotive writers fighting over free foul-weather gear provided by Volkswagen during a sail to Martha's Vineyard. You're right; my throw-up valve slammed into the red zone.

That sad vignette begs the obvious question, "If you're so all-fired pious, why did you ever accept junkets, trinkets, and dinners from car companies?"

Excellent question.

About the big-ticket item, junkets, the business answer is simple enough. Early access to new products was critical to our success. Couple that with our accountants having discovered that there was a way to avoid travel expenses, and there you are; take it or leave it. The small gift items were easy; just don't take them, and if you're the boss, don't let your staff take them.

I failed at repeated efforts to have our parent company pay all our travel expenses. But I want to add that this was anything but a holier-than-thou act; it was an effort to create a set-apart differentiator with which to beat the competition over the head.

Press cars were another matter. We at Car and Driver drove as many cars as possible in order to maintain a comparison-driven awareness of the market's products. Was it always necessary to keep on hand enough cars for the entire staff to drive, even those who did no writing or evaluation? The answer is yes, and here's why.

An independent writer, in his or her conception of a perfect world, can get one press car per week. That's 52 per year. At Car and Driver, our unwritten requirement for maintaining a useful seat-of-the-pants database was to drive at least 125 cars a year. That is possible only if you maintain and manage a large press fleet at your place of business. I do not think there's a freelancer or blogger on earth who can do that.

Bloggers and freelancers also do not normally have access to instrumented testing and an engineering staff. At Car and Driver, we emphatically did. So, those of you who routinely savage the establishment, exactly what is it you're bringing to automotive enthusiasts other than your opinions?

If you say that magazines which take advertising are susceptible to influence by manufacturers, I agree. But the key word is susceptible. Integrity is your choice, and it wasn't even difficult. If you have 40 automakers as advertisers, you have every reason not to favor one over the other. Doing so, as I've said a hundred times, will cause you unshirted misery.

And if you, as I did, forbid staff writers who do road tests from doing freelance work for automakers, your job is that much easier.

Is this a slap at bloggers and freelancers? Not a serious one. A serious one would be to reference the endless stories told to me by public relations folks and fleet managers about "journalists" who are getting by with a single car at home and who are wont to call up and say, "Get a car over here. I don't care what it is." I don't know about you, but if I ever made such a call I would hope to God that a thunderbolt of revelation might tell me that I was in the wrong business.

That "wrong business" thought brings up the question of professionalism. Are you a professional?

Once upon a time, I served an undistinguished term as president of the American Racing Press Association. Its membership was composed of writers and photographers who covered all forms of racing in the United States. Our continuing dilemma was our inability to gain blanket credential approval from the major racetracks. We tried, but we were unsuccessful.

Here's why we failed: not enough of our members were professionals. I can't be sure, but it may have been Jim Foster at NASCAR who asked me, "How many of your members make their living covering races?" I do not remember my reply, but it was not "All of them." Foster's point was simple: If you don't make your living at it, you're not a professional. Never mind your talent level.

When a blogger, or anyone else, requests credentials to an automotive event, it seems reasonable to ask, "Do you make your living doing this?" If the answer's yes, you win. If not, see us next year. That of course may be oversimplifying.

Assume that an individual blogger has a large audience but does not make much, if anything, in the way of money. Is the press officer not shooting himself in the foot if he refuses a credential? I'd say he was, but I'd say so reluctantly. But my heavens, I read earlier this week that some website or other had set its pay range for an 850-word piece at $25-$300. You do the arithmetic; I don't want to waste my time. You could make a better living collecting aluminum cans.

Here, I'll pause and make the distinction between individual bloggers and well-staffed electronic giants such as,, and Kelley Blue Book. And of course the traditional car magazines' electronic operations.

By and large, existing print media have failed to marshal their considerable horsepower to add compelling electronic executions to what they offer. The reason is simple to an outsider, which I am: Properly done, a hotshot website has the potential to kill off its print sibling. You may not agree with that, but you cannot argue that the reverse is even remotely possible in today's world of instant, on-demand, information.

Just as certain, no individual one-man or one-woman website can compete, save through copious use of links, with the big guys mentioned above. The individual can't drive enough cars, do enough - if any - serious instrumented testing, produce enough distinctive copy, or otherwise match the heavyweights. A website that uses many freelance contributors, I might add, faces serious organizational and consistency issues.

I suppose it would be possible for an individual to carve out a niche, such as the absolute best instant photo and video coverage of all auto shows. But, after all, how many of those are there? And could you make a living? You'd be lucky to make travel expenses, although your credential would at least put you in the Eat Free or Die buffet lines and keep you from starving a few weeks each year.

For the past three weeks, I have been cleaning out a building I own. It was filled with more relics than you can imagine, and among them was a copy of the first issue of Automobile Magazine, April 1983. Its founding editor, the aforementioned David E. Davis, Jr., wrote in his opening column that he was proud of the first-rate writers he'd assembled (among them Dean Batchelor, P.J. O'Rourke, Jean Lindamood, Kevin Smith, and even this writer) because, as Mr. Davis went on to say, "…second-rate writers attract second-rate readers."

Consider the blogs in light of Mr. Davis's statement. In a recent issue of, bloggers demonstrated what appears to be utter unfamiliarity with their native tongue (e.g. "…newspapers have went under.") I find this depressing almost beyond endurance. And if you think that's a sad example, you should read the comments.

Here again, save for the most unusual individual, the biggies at least have the budgets to ensure decent copyediting if not sparkling writing. Whether they do this with any real enthusiasm I do not know.

Something not in question is that bloggers exist, and that there are lots of them. If you were an automaker or an event manager, what would you do with them? Paul Brian and the Chicago Auto Show allotted a whole press day to bloggers. And they let the manufacturers select who came, handing off the difficult question of who deserves (as opposed to wants) credentials. The day was considered a success by most of the manufacturers, and one and all got a better handle on the situation, albeit a hazy one.

Comparing the starting of a blog with the starting of a traditional career in print media, I say that the single most important difference is that the traditional guys had to earn their way into the business. A blogger can just peel off the pajamas, open up shop and proclaim that he or she is a credible source. Credibility, when you get down to it, is everything. You can succeed without it, of course, but you are a fraud. Not that your intentions are evil, but you do not in most cases have enough resources to allow you to know what you're talking about.

Do I wish that celestial lightning would strike down all bloggers? Of course not. I believe in free speech even if its syntax and spelling are substandard. And there are some entertaining storytellers and commentators out there. Joe Sherlock comes to mind. There are a few others. Very few, led by Peter DeLorenzo whom I consider to be the father of the automotive blog (and who came with established credibility).

What I do wish is that I might be spared endless whining about credentials, press cars, unfairness, and general mistreatment from would-be automotive "journalists" who are demonstrably hard put to write much beyond their request for something free and who dress as if they shopped at Third World yard sales. And who couldn't get, let alone hold, a job at any professional publication, electronic or otherwise. When your blog's posted comments, most of which appear to be sent from planets where correct spelling and punctuation constitute felonies, are better than your articles, it's time to consider retraining. Or, if your enthusiasm for cars is pathologically uncontrollable, suicide.

I will say that there is at least one good quality about all blogs, even the most illiterate: Reading them is voluntary; the same is true for the existing magazines, most of which are well down the road to obsolescence. Bloggers don't bring much that's new to the party, and the establishment won't let anything old escape from the festivities.

Those are my opinions, and I'm sticking to them. It occurs to me that writing none of the foregoing paragraphs gave me any pleasure at all, which reinforces my decision to say goodnight and good luck to the world of automotive writing.

William Jeanes

William Jeanes is the former editor-in-chief of Car and Driver, Classic Automobile Register, and AMI Autoworld Weekly. He was publisher of Car and Driver and Road & Track. His automotive writing has appeared in more than two dozen publications, and his non-automotive work has been seen in Sports Illustrated. The New York Times, Playboy, Playbill, American Heritage, Journal of Mississippi History, Over the Front, and War, Literature, and the Arts. He co-wrote the book Branding Iron with Charlie Hughes and was a senior vice president at two major advertising agencies. He was Writer in Residence at Northwestern University in 2005 and serves on the board of trustees at Millsaps College and on the board of directors for the Eudora Welty Foundation. He and his wife, Susan, the creative director of five automotive magazines, live in Ridgeland, Mississippi.

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passing scene

BC Honda launched the 2012 Honda Civic in downtown Vancouver, B.C. with this eye-catching whimsical display of the new model as a prize emerging from a gigantic cereal box. Vancouver photographer Maurice Li was on hand to snap what became the photo of the week on the official blog of Pan Pacific Vancouver.

Honda Civic emerging from cereal  box. Photograph by Maurice Li.

Truly Safe?'s day-long conference on "De-bunking Myths and Creating Effective Policies for Car Safety" has a number of outstanding authorities coming to Washington D.C.'s Newseum on May 24. Among them: Congressman John Dingell (D-MI) NHSTA Administrator David Strickland, AutoNation Chairman and CEO Mike Jackson, DOT's Research and Technology Administrator Peter Appel and several others.

A Policy Is A Policy Is A . . .?

When confronted with the fact that there was incontrovertible evidence that Facebook had hired them to plant negative stories about Google, a spokesman for PR firm Burston-Marstellar was quoted by Gavin O'Malley in Media Daily, "the assignment was not at all standard operating procedure and was against the company's policies. ...The assignment on those terms should have been declined." Until the next time the money makes it worth doing?

1962 Fuji Rabbit, Ferrari F-40,Ferrari F-50

The Petersen Automotive Museum's latest exhibition Scooters: Size Doesn't Always Matter, opens June 18 and runs through May, 28, 2012. Over 90 vehicles on display will take museum visitors on a chronological tour of motor scooter development beginning with the simple Autoped of the mid-1910s to the alternative power vehicles of today.

For those who like to test their knowledge or remember when you tried to beat your Buds in calling out the name and year of cars as they came rolling by, here's a quick trip down memory lane:

Name That Car from the 1950s

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road signs

The Daily Beast's Photo Gallery reports that a survey to determine the 20 most useless college degrees pinpointed Journalism as the most useless. The reasoning behind this designation:

  • Median starting salary: $35,800

  • Median mid-career salary: $66,600

  • Change in number of jobs, 2008-2018: - 4,400

  • Percentage Change in number of jobs, 2008-2018: -6.32

  • Undergraduate field of study: Communications

  • Number of students awarded degrees 2008-2009: 78,009

In addition, Brian Stelter reports in the NY Times, "Columbia University has surveyed the state of digital journalism, and it has concluded that journalists must rethink their relationships — and their audiences' relationships — with advertisers." He quickly assures that doing so does not include giving sponsors/advertisers editorial control. But it does mean newspapers need to develop a new business model based on how advertisers spend their money in a digital environment. The 139 page report on the study and recommendations for recapturing some of the ad dollars lost to other media was released earlier this month by Columbia's journalism department.

With well over 200 new car awards offered every year, it is reasonable to ask if awards make any difference as far as the consumer is concerned. Auto Pacific's Vehicle Voice research division asked 869 adults that question in April and here is what was found:

Influence in Vehicle Purchase

Awards based on safety ratings


Awards based on owner ratings


Vehicle brochure




Awards from magazines


Ad on television


Direct mail ads


Ad in a magazine


Ad in a newspaper


Shopping mall display


Internet banner ads


Ad on the radio


Not included: Awards by auto media organizations.

Social Media has about as much influence as an Internet Banner ad David Barkholz reports in Automotive News. Quoting a survey by market researcher R.L. Polk & Co. and, a car shopping Web site, "just 3 percent of 4,005 new and used car buyers polled last summer said social media influenced their purchase decision."

ContentNext Media's reports The New York Times plans to spend $3 million, on its paywall in 2011, the bulk of it on promotion. If so, with 100,000 paywall subscribers signed up in just a few weeks, even if all at the lowest price, the paper could break even on what PaidContent call its "have your cake and eat it" paywall strategy. The newsletter compares that approach to the London Times', "Berlin Wall" stance. When access was free, The London Times once had 10 million monthly "uniques". Now, after eight months of no free access, it has but 79,000 digital-only subscribers and its overall circulation has dropped 13.49 percent since erecting the paywall while the NY times has dropped but 5 + percent since its partial wall was installed.

Ad Age quotes Arianna Huffington from her speech at the paper's recent Digital Conference: "If you're going to produce great journalism, you have to build a team of people who are working together and driving toward the same goals editorially. That is something you cannot do with hundreds of freelancers." Most of them, according to Huffington, were producing "commodity content" rather than unique content that drives page views.


Demand Media: Now Hiring Automotive Writers.
autowriters spotlight

A memorial service for David E. Davis, Jr. convened luminaries from within and without the auto industry to celebrate his iconic presence in their lives. Ronald Ahrens provides this report.


The literary efforts of David E. Davis Jr. had a profound and beneficial effect on the American automobile industry and "did a great service to the United States in the one major manufacturing industry we have left." So said retired General Motors product czar Bob Lutz, whose voice was among the many raised April 28 at the memorial service for the incomparable, bewhiskered editor, who died in March. David E. Davis, Jr.

The service was in two parts, beginning at the First Presbyterian Church in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the city where Davis had moved Car and Driver from New York in 1978. About 200 people attended and heard his sister, Dr. Jane Makulski, say, "If I have one regret, it's that no magazine will have a column where he critiques what God has offered him."

"Your pals are still gathered about you for the sake of freedom and whiskey," said his pal Ham Schirmer, ending the eulogy that emphasized the great man's love of cars, dogs, clothes, his wife Jeannie, and all his pals.

Part two was held immediately afterward at the car guys' warehouse, as it's informally known, next door in Ypsilanti. This former industrial building along the Huron River is home to vintage and special-interest cars, some undergoing active restoration or repair. In recent years, about 2000 square feet of office area was reserved for Davis's operations.

Enjoying the food, drinks, and live music were luminaries such as the actor Edward Herrmann, a friend from Pebble Beach, and the writer P.J. O'Rourke, whose sometimes hilarious essays followed Davis from title to title.

O'Rourke's toast summed up Davis's tastes in food, alcohol, and automobiles: "To suckling pig when you're hungry, Sazeracs when you're dry, all the cars you've ever wanted, and heaven when you die."

Former Time journalist Charles Eisendrath lauded board member Davis's work on behalf of the University of Michigan Journalism Fellowship.

Representatives of the Car and Driver fraternity included Davis's peer Brock Yates, former editor-in-chief Csaba Csere and executive editors Rich Ceppos and Mark Gillies, current editor-in-chief Eddie Alterman, technical director Don Sherman, columnist John D. Phillips III, and staffers Darin Johnson, Tony Quiroga, Juli Burke, Michael Austin, and Erik Johnson. Aside from Yates and Csere, all of the former either started their careers or served intermediate stints under Davis at Automobile.

Davis left Car and Driver in 1985 and soon launched Automobile. Deputy editor Joe DeMatio and managing editor Amy Skogstrom represented the magazine. Editor-in-chief Jean Jennings, who unseated Davis in 2000, was not present, reportedly at the request of the Davis family. Automobile alumni included William Jeanes, Bill Sharfman, Ken Gross, and James Lee Ramsey, who were Davis's soldiers during the '80s and '90s. Kevin Smith, the original Automobile co-executive editor with Jennings, traveled from California. So did Davis's art director Larry Crane. Kathy Hamilton, former senior editor, flew in from New Jersey.

Motor Trend was represented by Todd Lasa, Frank Markus, and alum Jack Keebler. Larry Webster waved the Popular Mechanics flag; spy photographer Jim Dunne also paid tribute. Kevin A. Wilson, former AutoWeek executive editor, did the same for Crain Communications.

Michael Jordan, Automobile's West Coast editor for nearly 22 years, took time off from his position as Inside Line executive editor to come to the rites, along with news editor Kelly Toepke, who started in the early 1990s as Davis's assistant.

John Hilton, long-time editor of the alternative monthly Ann Arbor Observer, contributed to Car and Driver and Automobile in the 1980s. He lent his eminence to an assortment of locals ranging from Paul Eisenstein, of—present dean of Detroit's automotive journalism establishment—to Lindsay Brooke, senior editor at Automotive Engineering International, a publication of the Society of Automotive Engineers.

Davis's long shadow fell across three generations of automotive journalists, who came together to honor his singular career during a memorable and often poignant afternoon.

The Davis family requests memorial gifts be sent to:

Knight-Wallace Fellows
620 Oxford Road
Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Ronald AhrensRonald Ahrens is a former Automobile employee and a frequent contributor to that publication, the New York Times and numerous other media outlets. He recently moved his Baggy Paragraphs Company to Monrovia, California and, until phone numbers are established, his best contact is:

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the tom tom

Tom-Tom rants, raves, rambles and ruminations are volunteered and express the opinions of the writer. Autowriters.Com invites readers to submit a tom-tom.  Your reward: a byline and an audience of your peers.  All submissions are acknowledged, queued and used at the editor's discretion. 

In a recent President's Message posted within the Motor Press Guild's monthly publication, Mile Post, I wrote about a curious run of discussions shared with various members of the OEM and PR community. Normally I would have considered such chats to be a fact of life as a press organization's President, but the frequency and tone of these conversations started to add up to a bigger story. In the April edition, I wrote:

James Bell, President of MPG

James Bell, President
Motor Press Guild

"The other big topic this month has been the role of organizations like the MPG and how they can best work with the OEMs to provide guidance and "filters" on the ever-expanding media machine. The discussion on old vs. new media is about as relevant today as CDs vs. MP3s ... the battle is over. Rather than talking about old vs. new or print vs. electronic, we need to lock arms as a unified automotive community.

This point has been made even clearer to me thanks to several conversations I have had with members of other press organizations as well as several OEMs. This industry is striving for new and creative ways to engage their audiences, and some of them are looking to groups like the MPG for guidance and to help identify the best providers of this new engagement. The value of each member and their specific outlet is no longer the point — it is how well that member satisfies (addresses) the needs of his or her intended audience.

Unfortunately, the manufacturer's promotional budgets have not been able to keep pace with the expansion of automotive journalism and so many are looking to us (associations like the MPG) for help. My feeling is that our goal is to provide a fair and proactive forum for all participants to meet, share perspectives, self-promote, and ultimately further our craft. The MPG is not alone in the space, as my contemporaries at other press associations have reached out to see how we are tackling this difficult subject.

Ultimately, this business demands a keen sense of responsibility. The "good ol' days" that I keep hearing about are over, so now is the time to make sure you are offering all you can to the industry that we all love. Otherwise, don't be surprised when opportunity stops knocking.

Of all of the thoughts that I expressed above, my comment that "we need to lock arms as a unified automotive community" surprisingly has generated the most reaction. It appears that the highly competitive nature of the automotive industry amongst the OEMs has percolated deep into the media corps as well, and this is a shame. As many of you know who share the "Groundhog Day" life of press event to auto show to press event to auto show with me, there is decreasing cohesion among those of us that cover this dynamic industry. The exceptions to this rule are found in the rewarding friendships that develop after a day spent as driving partners "geeking out" over a vehicle's handling balance and steering feel and an evening breaking bread with the chief engineer responsible for that vehicle's final state of tune. It doesn't get much better than that.

Our sense of camaraderie has been threatened by the democratization of automotive media and the proliferation of "channels" that have sprouted to help the OEMs spread their news. I suspect that most of this threat comes from raw and healthy competition for access to the OEMs and their stories, but all too often the comments I hear some of us make about others of us are downright nasty and obviously designed for personal advantage.

I think it is worth a reminder that we are privileged to work in an industry that many of our friends and neighbors would give their right arm to join. This business has every right to keep us sharp and push us to be better at what we do, but it shouldn't turn us into a roving gang of "ugly and evil stepsisters" along the way.

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new roads

Wooden Horse News reports two publishers are launching new editions, one in the U.S., the other in Canada. The Red Bulletin, published by Red Bull energy drink launches this week in the U.S. Already published in nine other countries it features traditional and extreme sports, travel and adventure. Also this week, Maxim will debut an all-Canada edition with nearly all Canadian writers in the first issue. Girls (Canadian) and sports will still be the draw.

The New York Times' Jim Wilson reports the new Storify Web site, can find and piece together publicly available content from Twitter, Flickr, Facebook, YouTube and other sites. They can also add text and embed the resulting collages of content on their own sites. During a private test period, reporters from The Washington Post, NPR, PBS and other outlets used the service. Wilson says it is one of several solutions to help journalists collect and filter the information that floods the Internet on almost any topic. Others are: Storyful, Tumble and Color.

Google has been testing a new format for its News page, Laurie Sullivan says in Online Media Daily. It introduces expandable sections with related stories about a subject, highlights movable modules and click-through slide shows. It identifies articles most cited and shared. Also, social tags for Google Buzz, Google Reader, Twitter and Facebook allow the searcher to post links and comments directly from the Google News page, Sullivan reports.

In what seems contrary to what its star employee is saying, AOL plans to add 8,000 unpaid bloggers (10 each) to its Patch Network of 800 local news sites. Arianna has down played volunteer bloggers contributions to quality content that attracts page views.


pit notes

Colin Carter: Legends of IndyAppropriate for the month of May and the 100th anniversary of the Indianapolis 500, artist Colin Carter has introduced Legends of Indy a series of artworks as seen here Each artwork comes in a choice of prints: a 36x48 giclee on canvas (250 edition) and a 23x31 lithograph (850 edition), all signed by the artist. Many of the litho series are also autographed by the driver. For more information contact Peter Aylett CarArt US 949-443-0500.

Auto A Fondo TV's second season began April 18 on Speed TV. The half hour Spanish language show for Hispanic car enthusiasts in the U.S and Central and South America, is produced in Los Angeles by Ricardo Rodriguez Long, editor of Auto A Fondo Magazine and airs at 7PM Wednesday evenings and again on Saturday mornings. . . . Randy Leffingwell has been commissioned by Porsche to produce the "definitive official history of Porsche motorsports activities," according to David Bull who will publish the book. Its working title is Porsche Racing History. Leffingwell is working on the project in Germany now. He will share his progress on a blog as he interviews executives, mechanics, and drivers and adds his own photographs to those from the company's archives. The blog uses the book's working title:

Another book on racing: "Caribbean Capers -The Incredible Story of Racing In Cuba" was introduced at this year's Amelia Island Concours. Authored by Joel Finn, it covers the 1957, '58 and '60 Cuban Grand Prix races in 368 pages packed with more than 500 photographs. It is available at


Demand Media - Hiring Automotive Writers
lane changes

Motor News Media has relocated from Urbandale, Iowa to 3710 Capitol Circle, Ste. F Grimes, IA 5011. MNM provides new vehicle reviews, feature and photography services to media outlets throughout the U.S. and through IVintage Automotive Media and Materials Unit has online stores in 35 countries as well as an iPhone app.that provides concept, custom and prototype vehicle images. Contact Kenneth Chester at 515-986-1155 or  . . . editor-in-chief Jon Alain Guzik has taken on the added role of west coast editor for Antenna Magazine. He can be contacted at 415-217-8899x 107 or

As of last report, Mike Armstrong can be emailed through: . . .Michelle Nelson has supplanted Brittany Marquis in the west coast office of Popular Mechanics. Email: . . . Jeff Zurschmeide, current president of NWAPA, has a new email address:  . . . Bruno Bornino's email address is: . . . Josh Max's newest outlet is blogger/vlogger at covering fine automobiles, travel destinations, men's fashion and related subjects at "Vlogger" new to AWCOM, probably references the videos he offers at that site and other outlets for his varied interests, activities and talents - from guitars to Gospel. His new email address is:  . . . Ronald Ahrens' has relocated to Monrovia, Calif., and has a new email address:


across the finish line

Steven Gehrlein, the automotive answer man at KTSA radio station in San Antonio for 17 years.


- 30-
Glenn Campbell, Publisher,

Glenn F. Campbell

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awards honors and events

The 2011 International Car of the Year Awards:

  • World Car of The Year – Nissan Leaf

  • World Green Car of the Year – Chevrolet Volt

  • Sedan of the Year: Volvo S60, Most Dependable

  • Luxury Car of the Year: Jaguar XJ – Most Respected

  • SUV of the Year: Ford Explorer – Most Resourceful

Women's car of the year

Car Coach Lauren Fix reports:

"Women motoring writers from around the world have determined their choices for the Women's World Car of the Year for 2011. So close was the voting this year that the supreme award produced a dead heat – the BMW 5 Series and the Citroen DS3. Category winners and the runners-up are:

  • Family Car - Volvo S6, Kia Sportage

  • Sports Car - Aston Martin Rapidev, Audi TT

  • Luxury Car - BMW 5 Series, Jaguar XJ

  • Economical Car - Citroen DS3, Mini One Diesel

A special award this year recognized the ‘Green' Car – which does not qualify for the overall supreme award because some models are not sold in the requisite 10 countries worldwide. The Women's World Car of the Year 2011 – Green Car – is the Audi A1 with the Honda CRZ a close second. The fourteen judges selected their short list of no more than seven cars in each category earlier this year. Final secret ballot voting was then undertaken to produce the 2011 results."

TAWA'S Texas Auto Roundup winners

  • Writer's Choice – The Car of Texas 2011 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe

  • High Performance Car of Texas 2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302

  • Family Car of Texas 2011 Dodge Journey

  • Alternative Powered Car of Texas 2011 Chevrolet Volt

  • Most Innovative 2011 Chevrolet Volt

  • Best New Design 2012 Fiat 500

  • Best Value 2012 Fiat 500

One category winner still to be announced.

EDMUNDS SAFETY CONFERENCE's May 24 conference in Washington, DC will feature top safety experts, researchers and industry leaders addressing a "standing-room only" crowd. Interested parties may request to attend the kick-off cocktail party from 6-8pm May 23 by writing

Bloomberg TV Wins Top Award

For one of the few times in its 40-year history, a TV report won the top honor in The Detroit Press Club Foundation's International Wheel Awards competition. Its Golden Wheel went to Bloomberg TV in Detroit for John Meaehan and Ed Caldwell's insightful "GM: Retooling an American Icon." Numerous awards across a wide spectrum of media were presented. For a complete listing of honorees, visit

26th Annual Huntington Beach Concours

Dave Kunz,KABC-TV, Grand Marshall HB ConcoursClassic Car and Motorcycle show June 4 + 5 in Huntington Beach Central Park. Saturday features Hot Rods in the park and Sunday a tribute to Cadillac, Chevrolet & Bentley as well as Triumph & Victory Motorcycles. Dave Kunz, KABC-TV Automotive Specialist, will be the Grand Marshall. Click here for more info.

SEMA Announcement

Gray Baskerville, Art Chrisman, Chris Economaki and John Towle will be inducted into the SEMA Hall of Fame during a gala and fundraiser July 29 in Long Beach, Calif. For more information and tickets:


England's Motorsport Industry Association welcomes nominations for their Award for Outstanding Contribution to the motorsport industry from anyone involved anywhere in the motortsport industry. It will be presented to the honoree in the House of Lords, July13th. Previous winners listed are all from England but the MIA assures its is a world-wide election. The MIA bills itself as "the world's leading trade association for motorsport's performance engineering, services and tuning industry." Send your vote to Or contact her for more information.

Belated Announcement

A news release from the Road Racing Drivers Club named the persons who earlier this year were inducted into the Talladega International Motorsports Hall of Fame: Brian Redman, John Holman, Jan Opperman,Maurice Petty and Rex White.


Demand Media - Now Hiring Automotive Writers
May 2011
19 IMPA Spring Break, Bear Mountain State Park, NY
19 GAAMA, Lunch, Atlanta TBD, Nissan
20 NEMPA, Vehicle Connectivity Conference and Awards Dinner, Cambridge, MA
23 Edmunds Safety Conference, Kick-Off Party 6pm-8pm, Newseum, Washington, D.C.
24 Edmunds Safety Conference, 8am-5pm, Newseum, Washington, D.C.
24 MAMA Spring Rally Manufacturer's Dinner, Elkhart Lake, WI
25-26 MAMA Spring Rally, Elkhart Lake, WI
25 WAPA Ride 'N Drive, River Farm Alexandria, VA, Fiat
25 APA Luncheon, Detroit, A.C., Berce-GM Financial
TBD SAMA Luncheon, GM, site and date to be determined
June 2011
8 WAJ, Dinner, So. San Francisco, Kia
15-16 Journalist Only: Mountain, Track and Off-Road Driving, hosted by RMAP. For more info go to:
16 MAMA, Luncheon, Oak Brook Terrace, IL, Mercedes-Benz Financial Services
18 Petersen Auto Museum, New Exhibit Opens, Scooters
23 GAAMA, Luncheon, Atlanta, GM
23 APA Luncheon, Detroit, A.C., JD Powers
29 APA Luncheon, Detroit, A.C., NTSB
TBD SAMA Luncheon, Mazda, site and date to be determined
July 2011
20-21 NEMPA Ragtop Ramble, Crustacean Crawl, Boston, MA


regional news

TAWA - A unanimous vote by members in attendance rescinded the Texas Auto Writers Association's ban on bloggers. TAWA president Michael Herzing said criteria will be pretty much the same as for print and broadcast members: assuring they are legitimate automotive bloggers.

RMAP- The Cadillac CTS Coupe, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD, Ford Fiesta and Hyundai Sonata are winners in the fifth annual Rocky Mountain Automotive Press Vehicle of the Year Awards. The field for the 2011 awards included every significant new car, pickup, crossover and SUV for sale in the region. More than 75 models received test-drive evaluations  by members of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press (RMAP) in Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming over the past months

"The members of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press drove this year's winning vehicles on some of the most beautiful and challenging roads in America," said RMAP President Roman Mica. "We tested the cars at sea level to over 14,000 feet on some of the biggest mountains in North America and came away sincerely impressed by how well the winners handle the varied terrain of  the Rocky Mountain West."

Assessing the manufacturer-provided models for value, performance, fuel economy, comfort and safety, RMAP presented awards in five categories.

Chiseled good looks and refined performance earned the elegant 2011 Cadillac CTS Coupe the RMAP 2011 New Vehicle of the Year award for the top redesigned or new-to-market model.

Nearly unstoppable off-road and comfortable on-road, the all-new 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee is the RMAP 2011 Rocky Mountain SUV of the Year among crossovers and sport-utility vehicles.

Capable of pulling a 17,800-pound trailer and boasting a new frame and a revised turbo diesel V-8, the re-engineered 2011 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD has what it takes to be the RMAP 2011 Rocky Mountain Pickup Truck of the Year.

The RMAP 2011 Rocky Mountain High-Mileage Vehicle of the Year must be fuel-efficient but also comfortable, safe and fun to drive. That describes the all-new 2011 Ford Fiesta, which rates 30/40 mpg city/highway and delivers European-bred road manners.

Head-turning styling, a roomy interior, and a choice of four-cylinder engines, including a turbo and a gas-electric hybrid, makes the redesigned 2011 Hyundai Sonata midsize sedan the most impressive all-around 2011 automobile and the RMAP 2011 Rocky Mountain Car of the Year.

RMAP will host journalists for a unique track, off-road, and mountain-driving rally in the second annual Rocky Mountain Drive Experience June 15 and 16, 2011. Go to for information, media participation and coverage opportunities.


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.

Logo: AARWBA - Automotive Auto Racing Writers & Broadcasters Association

Automotive Auto Racing Writers & Broadcasters Association, Inc. - Norma "Dusty" Brandel, President, Executive Director,, 


Automotive Press Association, Detroit - Joann Muller, President,

ARPALogo: Ameican Racing Press Association

American Racing Press Association- Stan Clinton, President,,

Logo: IMPA Int'l Motor Press Association

International Motor Press Association, NYC, Mike Spinelli, President -,

GAAMA: Greater Atlanta Automotive Association

Greater Atlanta Automotive Media Association

Logo: MAMA Midwest Automotive Media Association

Midwest Automotive Media Association, Chicago , IL-

MPG: Motor Press Guild

Motor Press Guild, Los Angeles -

NEMPA Logo: New England Motor Press Association

New England Motor Press Association, Boston, MA -


Northwest Automotive Press Association, Portland, OR, Jeff Zurschmeide, President,


Phoenix Automotive Press Association, Phoenix, Cathy Droz, President-

Logo: Rocky Mountain Automotive Media Association

Rocky Mountain Automotive Press, Denver -

SAMA Log: Southern Automotive Media Association

Southern Automotive Media Association, Miami FL, Paul Borden, President,

Logo: Southeast Automotive Media Organization

Southeast Automotive Media Organization, Charlotte, NC


Texas Auto Writers Association, Mike Herzing,


Truck Writers of North America, Tom Kelley, Executive Director,


Western Automotive Journalists, San Francisco -, Ron Harrison


Washington Automotive Press Association, D.C., Alvin Jones, President




RE: VW China car is Urban Legend


That 1-liter VW car that supposedly will be built in China is an internet hoax that's been circulating for years!

The car is a concept that was introduced by VW nearly 10 years ago. Someone in the webworld decided to write it up as being built in China for only $699 and the rest of the world bought it hook, line and sinker.

VW may well end up putting a version of this car in production and the latest version certainly looks much better than the photos you ran. But it hasn't happened yet, and it will never sell for anywhere near that price.

Anyway, love the newsletter!

All the best,

John McElroy

Sorry Glenn. When I got verification that one of our guys had seen the darn thing, I thought it was a good item. Ya just can't trust anything on the Internet. Geez! Now they are saying that Obama really was born in Hawaii! Imagine that.


"The Austin Texas Grand Prix race track, site for a Formula One race in the U.S. in 2012, has been named "Circuit of America," Steven Cole Smith reports in AutoWeek."

Circuit of the Americas.

Bob Beamesderfer


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Glenn Campbell, Publisher       Lysa McCarroll, Managing Editor

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