the newsletter - built for reading not skimming.

june 2013

autowriters spotlight

This is a different kind of Autowriters Spotlight. Craig Fitzgerald trained it on himself when he wrote AWCom: "A post I put up on BoldRide has resulted in threats from the aftermarket. You can read the whole story here. You do a great job, BTW." (Naturally, we had to follow up and read what sounded like a crime story in the making.)

Craig FitzgeraldFitzgerald should have known he would disturb a number of folks by writing "Five Reasons Why Concours Suck" for BoldRide on May 19. He's been an auto writer for 18 years, auto magazine editor and a judge at several such events. His reasons: the cars stay still; the judges are picky, picky; most people attend in order to be seen; the event drags on and the awards ceremony.

Fitzgerald compares that to "a T-ball tournament where everybody is a winner and nobody goes home unhappy." Along the way he criticizes the food purveyed at Concours and the prices charged for it. For his trouble, Fitzgerald reports: "The original article on generated 175 likes, which is far more than anything I've ever written for them before. One of the comments was from Bill Warner, who banned me from getting media passes to Amelia Island."

AWCom saw a number of negative comments on BoldRide. Fitzgerald himself wrote the following on Clunker Nation:

"After that article (Five Reasons) went around, the following was written to me on another blog:

Comment by Bethany Sullivan on 26 May 2013:

"Mr. Fitzgerald: I represent the marketing interests of a number of aftermarket companies whose activities include event sponsorships. Your blog post has been reported to the SEMA governing body and any effort on the part of Hemmings, Boldride, or yourself personally, to engage with my client companies in any form whatsoever will result in actions that leave no doubt as to your limited future in this industry."

I have no idea who Bethany Sullivan is. If she's in PR, to my knowledge, she never contacted me, which makes her pretty lousy at public relations, but be that as it may, this is how the automotive aftermarket attempts to stifle any kind of criticism whatsoever.

For the record, Bethany, I DO NOT WORK FOR HEMMINGS. Other people who commented on that post made that fact abundantly clear. I haven't worked there since 2010. Maybe you should consider reporting me to the "governing bodies" at Enterprise Rent-A-Car and Market Basket Supermarkets, because I used to work there, too.

I've been writing about cars for decades. Some of those years, I spent at Hemmings, most I did not.

A lot of people in this industry — it is not a "hobby" for anyone but you and me — are so insular and myopic that they think its impossible to write without them. But there are hundreds of niches in old cars and new cars to write about, and more outlets to write for every day.

Occasionally, I've commented unfavorably about cars I've driven. For example, Cliff Atiyeh from the Boston Globe once put together a video I was in about MyFordTouch and how frustrating it was to operate.

The people at Ford and I have a professional relationship. I've driven many of their cars, and written what I thought of all of them. Some I like very much, some I do not.

This particular video got a surprising amount of traffic. I ended up getting an email from a PR guy at Ford who wasn't exactly happy about it, but he made his point, we agreed to disagree and we went our separate ways.

At no time did he actually come right out and threaten me about reporting me to some "governing body."

Why not? Because it's pathologically childish, stupid and defensive to do so.

I was thinking about this as I finally got around to reading the February issue of Vanity Fair on Monday. It had a scathing, six page article on how chefs like Charlie Trotter and Thomas Keller have made the dining experience at their restaurants a celebration of the chef's "art" instead of the customer that's actually paying the bill.

When the Huffington Post interviewed Keller about the article, he simply said, "At the end of the day, I disagree with Corby's critique. From my point of view, if you come into my restaurant and you want a bowl of Corn Flakes, my job is to give you a bowl of Corn Flakes. I have no ego attached to what we do."

Fair enough: Disagree with the criticism. Act professionally. Move on.

His only comment on the subject came after he was specifically asked about an article that has a paid circulation of 1.2 million people. He didn't say anything about kicking Corby Kummer out of his restaurant if he dared darken his door again.

But in the vintage car hobby, you're not supposed to criticize anything. If you do, you get threatening messages from people named "Bethany".

I've seen it before. It happened to Keith Martin, famously at the Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale event in 2007. Martin had written a column on muscle car prices in his magazine Sports Car Market, which apparently caused Craig Jackson's famously mercurial blood pressure to peg to the red, and Martin was subsequently escorted from the premises.

I saw it firsthand, when Hemmings Muscle Machines published a column in August of 2005 — when I was the editor — from columnist Ray Bohacz entitled "American Muscle Car: Made in China."

In the column, Ray wrote: "The dirty secret of this business is, the rusted hulk of a dream that you towed home and worked hard to lovingly restore most likely has more Chinese than American lineage, if you purchased new instead of NOS parts."

The backlash from that column was epic, solely because it was completely factual, and nobody wants anybody in the hobby knowing they're buying all of their parts from Foxconn-style factories in China.

The entire aftermarket industry revolted against the magazine, and collectively began pulling ads en masse.

Never mind that this was ONE page out of 96 that month, out of 1,152 pages in that particular magazine that year.

It was fair, honest criticism, and as we all know, criticizing a business for shipping all of its manufacturing to China is an attack on America, mom's apple pie and kittens.

The Drapers as worn by John Hamm aka Don Draper, Mad Men season 6. available exclusively from Old Focals.

I'll tell you what, Bethany, I will continue to work for three reasons:

  • My copy comes in clean and ready to print
  • It is always on time and on budget
  • People seem to like to read what I write

And in case anyone thinks I'm being egotistical, about 93.774 percent of the reason I get writing gigs — and will continue to get writing gigs — is based on Reasons #1 and #2.

What I've learned from this exchange is that many people who have made our hobby a business are so thin-skinned and paranoid that they fear a single article can convince people to quit cars and take up making macramé owls.

So listen, Bethany:

If a bullshit article like that is all it takes for me to never get paid to write anything again — after literally millions of words written in dozens of publications over the last 18 years — I'll get my job back at the f-ing Highway Department, patch potholes for a living and write for free."

For the record SEMA vice president Peter MacGillivray says:

"Bethany Sullivan has no affiliation with our organization. Furthermore, we don't have a "governing body" with oversight on this issue. Don't waste your time on this one, it's jive."

Autowriter Spotlight: Read this at


new roads

Wooden Horse News reports is a new Canadian online men's lifestyle magazine from Ideon Media and aimed at "Canada's modern man." Content runs the gamut from fitness, food, tech and style to relationships. Editor-in-chief is Christopher Turner. . . . A reader who favors the contrary and conspiracies sent along this blog by freelancer James Stone about "a 74 mpg Cadillac-sized family sedan that is not a hybrid and has no power plug." Stone raves about this Mexican built car called "Toledo" that has a base price of $16,000 and offers versions that reach 117 mpg. Stone says: "You can buy one of these amazing cars in Mexico, but you cannot buy it in America, or even hear about ANYTHING LIKE IT in the American press." A conspiracy, of course.

The Toledo a compact car built by the Spanish automaker SEAT

The Toledo is a compact car built by the Spanish automaker SEAT, part of Volkswagen Group. The Toledo name was first introduced to the SEAT line-up in May 1991, with the fourth and more recent generation being introduced in late 2012 as a 2013 model year car.

A cheerier note is word from SEMA that it is "seeking the industry's brightest and most promising young entrepreneurs to compete in the first-ever 'SEMA Launch Pad' competition." The competition, which is somewhat like the TV show "Shark Tank" culminates at the 2013 SEMA Show in Las Vegas, Nevada. It offers executive-level innovators under the age of 40 a platform to showcase their business plans for marketing new automotive products or services. The winner gets a bundle of prizes to help launch his or her idea. For complete details go to: or contact Bryan Harrison at  or 909-978-6691.

In case you missed it, Source Interlink Media sold nine motorcycle titles to Bonnier Corp: Motorcyclist, Sport Rider, Dirt Rider, Motorcycle Cruiser, Hot Bike, Baggers, Super Streetbike, Street Chopper and ATV Rider. These titles, plus Bonnier's Cycle World will make the company the largest publisher in the motorcycle market, according to Wooden Horse News. In turn, Bonnier sold seven titles to Source Interlink Media: Transworld Snowboarding, Transworld Motorcross, Transworld Skateboarding, Transworld Surf, Transworld Ridebmx and Transworld Business. (Bonnier retained Transworld Wakeboarding.) Bonnier also sold the audio and video magazine Sound + Vision to Source Interlink Media. According to "the Horse" Bonnier has said that no layoffs will result from this swap. . . .Wired Magazine has been redesigned and has expanded its content from technology to include people "who make technology happen."


pit notes

Turbo charged Freightliner entered in Pikes Peak Hill Climb

Mike Ryan expects to pilot this Freightliner beauty to a new class record at this year's Pikes Peak Hill Climb with the boost of a Gale Banks precision-engineered Power Super-Turbo configuration on its 14.7L Detroit Diesel engine that includes a positive displacement twin-screw 8.3-liter supercharger feeding into a massive 110mm turbocharger. . . . Media registration for the 2013 AAPEX and SEMA Show is now open. Any questions or difficulties registering? Just e-mail customer service at: . . . . .One reason concours don't suck (see Spotlight), money they bring to local economies and charities. The first ever Pinehurst Concours d'Elegance in North Carolina added an estimated $2,000,000 to the Pinehurst Village and surrounds economy.

"Snake and The Mongoo$e" due in movie theaters Sept. 6 is not a jungle epic, unless you consider drag-racing in its ascending years a jungle of struggle. It celebrates the traveling funny car duels of Don, the "Snake," Prudhome and Tom "the Mongoose" McEwen. Their contentious 200-mile-per hour trips down the drag strip drew fans and helped popularize the sport. . . . . Denise McLuggagDenise McCluggage, is the 2013 Sponsorship Team Chairperson for the International Motor Racing Research Center in Watkins Glen, NY. She deems it, "a charming place with the right vibes for getting things done." And adds, "I spend half my working existence looking for something so I am deeply impressed by people who make a science of knowing where something actually is." Check for more information about the Center and how to contribute. . . . To learn about the actual effect of speed on fuel economy, check:


road signs

Just as we were about to report Google was banning 'native ads' we came across this from Peter Kafka at All Things Google's display ad boss Neal Mohan is quoted: " 'native formats' have emerged as an important new model. They provide new types of brand experiences, like sponsored stories, that are unique to each publisher. We are investing in models like this to connect advertisers and publishers in a meaningful way."

Google's search exec Matt Cutts concurrently posted a video on YouTube ( ) that warns if users of Google Search or Google News aren't made aware that what they are reading or link references in the content are paid for, the publishing sources are in danger of being dropped by Google. . . . . The Detroit News reports: "The top U.S. auto safety regulator said the agency would take action to ensure self-driving cars electronically connected to traffic networks and to each other can't be hacked."

These are a limited edition,vintage eyeglass frames from the 1960′s. This is the very same style of frames Old Focal’s provided the Mad Men character “Harry Crane” in the 6th season of Mad Men.


press box

Courtney Caldwell's 17th annual "Sexy Car Buyers Guide" with 50 shades of innuendo and sub-titles that might have been concocted at a girls' night out, is in the current issue of Road & Travel Magazine, as well as on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. While "Quick, Cute and Curvy," "Sultry Lines Right To Its Rear", "Hacking Hormones" and other descriptors may not appeal to sophisticated car shoppers, Caldwell says the feature is always a winner with her readers and fans. If you equate "Sexy" with "Pretty," a piece by Benjamin Preston in the New York Times' Wheels feature may explain the appeal. He asks: "Could Pretty Cars Be The Key To Attracting Younger Car Nuts?" He answers, "pretty cars, whether great or not-so-great, are the flagships of automobile enthusiasm."

Racemaker Press is seeking to foster auto enthusiasm at an age when aesthetics are still instinctual. The company has published Tommy Saal's ABC of Auto Racing History - for Little and Big Boys & Girls. It has cartoon illustrations by Saal and also contains a racing reference for adults. Check for more details and ordering. . . . . More books called to our attention for a long, hot summer's reading include:

Book: Memoirs of a Hack Mechanic by Rob Siegel

Memoirs of a Hack Mechanic by Rob Siegel author of Roundel's "Hack Mechanic" column for 25 years. He shares his secrets to buying, fixing, and driving cool cars without risking the kids' tuition money or destroying his marriage - 432 pages, with 37 photos Price: $29.95. Available at  and bookstores across the nation. . . .David Bull heralded two books: a new edition of John Horsman's classic motorsports memoir Racing In The Rain. First published in 2006, this award-winning book tells the story of Horsman's career as an engineer and manager with one of the most successful organizations in racing history -- the legendary Gulf Oil-sponsored team run by John Wyer. The other, due out this summer is, McLaren From the Inside: Photographs by Tyler Alexander. To learn more about these and other offerings go to

Derek Daily has written what sounds like a classic: Race To Win. in which he lists the seven essential skills of a champion and discusses the strengths and weaknesses of some of the best-known drivers. He also provides a simple formula for success with his Champion's Pyramid - a seven-component construct which lists and ranks the qualities necessary for the best drivers to win consistently, on any team, with any car, and on any track. Check to order a copy. . . . Last, for this edition, Bill Maloney has sent along a copy of the cover for his autobiography, "Windy City Adman." No price, no number of pages or pictures, but it teases with a sub-title: "Celebrities, Studios, Speedways and Scoundrels."

Press Box: Read this at


awards and events

2013 Webby AwardsWebby Awards in its Car Sites and Culture category included Steve Halloran for and, apparently all who write for About.Com Auto Channels  including Keith Griffin, Aaron Gold and numerous others. . . . Ford's Mustang GT500 Shelby and redesigned Fusion took top honors at this year's TAWA's Auto Roundup. . . . Peter Brock has been named Grand Marshal of the 2013 Palos Verdes Concours d’Elegance on September 15 in Rancho Palos Verdes.

George Barris, Eric Grant, Wade Kawasaki, and Joe Schubeck are the 2013 SEMA Hall of Fame inductees. They and new SEMA board members will be installed at a gala banquet July 28 at the Sheraton in Pomona. For more information: Jamie Eriksen at or call 909-978-6737. . . . John Krafcik, president and John Krafcik, President & CEO Hyundai Motor Americachief executive officer of Hyundai Motor America, has been named "Automotive Executive of The Year" for 2013. The honor which has been bestowed since 1964 comes from a program created for that purpose that is currently directed by Robert Djurovic, who is director of Automotive Services North America, DNV. . . . Hilary Becker has been appointed to the National Board of the Antique Automobile Club America. She is the Hospitality Liaison for the Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance. From Amelia Island Concours founder and chairman Bill Warner's description of her duties there it sounds like the AACA Board followed the adage, "If you want something done ask a busy person."

A "Connected Car Expo" and conference will be staged at the Los Angeles Convention Center in conjunction with press days at the Los Angeles Auto Show, Nov. 19-21. Technology experts from, Auto Alliance, Aha Radio BMW, Delphi, Ford, Gracenote, Hughes Telematics, INRIX, J.D. Power & Associates, Kia, Livio, MIT, Pandora, QNX Software Systems, Stanford University, Sprint Velocity, Strategy Analytics and others are slated to participate. It is not cheap. Go to . . . . Briggs Cunningham, the only American to win yachting's America’s Cup and auto racing championships, will be honored by the Blackhawk Museum near San Francisco with a display of his cars throughout July. . . .  To celebrate the soon-to-be-run 90th 24 hours of Le Mans, Car Art calls attention to its Le Mans Gallery of 50 fine artworks by 16 top motorsports artists. Check them out: here. . . . The 2014 Mazda 6 was named winner of the Gene Ritvo award for design and elegance by the members of the New England Motor Press Association. The award is named in honor of their late member who was an outstanding photographer.

Awards, Honors & Events: Read this at


the tom-tom

This feature returns with neither a rant nor a rave but an op/ed piece written by Brett Arends for MarketWatch submitted by Paul Weissler with this preface:

"This guy's column is a semi-political piece, but it does go through the economics of being a journalist, and that's a subject that many of your contributors have raised (including yours truly). The issue of speed-and-money applies to us in automotive journalism as much as to those in any other editorial specialty.

I cover press events that I find are posted on the web as the programs are finishing. Or not much better, a journalist goes up to the key presenter, asks a couple of general, leading questions while a guy with a video camera records the answers. Five minutes later, with one lead-in paragraph, the piece is on the website with a link to the video. No reflection, no edit, and probably not much money for the two guys.

Because I write for tech-oriented audiences, such as at Automotive Engineering International (SAE) and MOTOR Magazine, I get a little more time to produce an in-depth tech piece. Fortunately, that also pays somewhat better, because it costs me about $60 to $75+ just to go from my NJ home to a press conference in NYC. The tabs: $18.80 tolls, about $21-25 for gas even at NJ's lower prices; and $20-35 for NYC parking if there's no free parking from the car company. But the "little more time" to package the article still means working deep into the night and beyond, as the online audience has already seen once-over-lightly pieces at other websites. So it doesn't want to wait "forever" (a couple of days or so) for AEI to provide an in-depth report with analysis.

As a result, I've become a big fan of embargoes, although I know car companies consider them a pain to monitor. As for the pay, well I've talked about that before, and the business case for covering any event is simple. Unless anyone writing for $50-$75 has multiple outlets for each event he's covering, he might as well stay home rather than drive to a press conference, even if he doesn't have all the NYC-level tolls and parking costs I do."

The news media is even worse than you think

Brett Arends: Market Watch

5 corrupting influences are keeping the public from the facts

Anyone who feels cynical about the U.S. media has been having a good few weeks.

There have been the high profile goofs — by CNN, in its coverage of the Boston bombings, and by Howard Kurtz, the famous media "critic" in a blog post about gay athlete Jason Collins. The Tribune Company faces a potential takeover by the, er, colorful Koch brothers.

And it all comes, with perfect timing, on the tenth anniversary of the exposure of Jayson Blair, the serial fabulist, at the New York Times.

The Icon worn by Roger Sterling in Mad Men season 6.

It's become a cliché these days to say you don't trust the media. But you know what? You're right not to do so.  The problems aren't as bad as they appear. They are much, much worse.

And, as usual, almost everyone is focused on exactly the wrong things.

The problem isn't that the occasional journalist makes a mistake on deadline. We're human, folks. The problem isn't big business, or corporate control. It isn't even the Koch brothers. If you're a liberal, you should probably want them to blow $600 million on a loss-making newspaper company.

Here are the real problems. And I don't see any solutions.

Click here to continue reading online.

Tom-Tom: Read this at


lane changes

Ex-Chrysler, SEMA and MEMA PR gal Rosemarie Kitchin has moved from being "softly" to fully retired with the door on her Kitchin's Ink. Ltd. firmly shut in Chapel Hill, N.C. While she doesn't claim it, she may have been the first distaff automotive pr staffer amongst theRosemaire Kitchin erstwhile "Big Three." She thinks there may have been a female in PR at one of them during World War II but knows of none working in that capacity when Chrysler hired her in 1976 to handle service and parts PR, its "Women On Wheels," program and the "Plymouth Trouble Shooting Contest."  At the time, she admits, she couldn't drive a stick shift, was just passable with an automatic and "didn't have an inkling about the automotive press or the advertising industry." However, she soon established that she could handle herself in a testosterone-fueled industry and was not to be dismissed as another "hairpin" or "skirt." From Chrysler she went on to a number of automotive aftermarket communications posts before opening her Kitchin's Ink agency in 1993.

Bryan JoslinBryan Joslin left his Vortex Media post to develop GranTurismo Magazine. Due out by the end of 2013, it will be a bi-monthly motorcycles premium print publication with a fully optimized digital (tablet) counterpart. The focus of the magazine is "European motoring," which encompasses cars and motorcycles, both new and old, along with a solid mix of lifestyle features for the affluent owner/collector/enthusiast of European cars and motorcycles. He can be reached at 630-640-3151 or emailed:  . . . . Nancy Darga has beeNancy Dargan appointed executive director of the Ford Piquette Avenue Plant museum and education center established to preserve the Detroit birthplace of the Model T. More information on the museum can be obtained at: . . . . Jimmy Dinsmore has left the Cox Media Group and self- syndicated his Driver's Side column now running in the Dayton Daily News and Austin American- Statesman as well as on the web site. He can be reached at: . . . . Edward Lapham will retire as executive editor of Automotive News at the end of June after 40 years with the paper. . . . The Miami Herald has moved to 3511 NW 91st Avenue in Doral, FL, a suburb of Miami. . . . Bruce Smith hasBruce Smith moved back to his home in Long Beach, Mississippi after 4 years in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, as founding editor of Randall-Reilly's ProPickup magazine. Still doing the same job—editor of ProPickup, but the new office is back home on the Gulf Coast. Work e-mail: 228-731-3018 (d) 228-669-1591 (m), 5 Pecan Lane, Long Beach, MS 39560.


- 30-

Glenn Campbell, Owner, Publisher

Glenn F. Campbell

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Old Focals: Hollywood's Vintage Eyewear Experts


RetroFocals: We've Got Your Style!

June 2013
5 APA: Luncheon,, Detroit, MI
6 MPG: Trail Day, Malibu, CA
8 NEMPA: Cruze Diesel Program, Boston, MA
18 IMPA: Meeting, New York, NY
19 APA: Luncheon, J.D. Power & Associates, Detroit, MI
20 NEMPA: Ford Program, Boston, MA
22-23 MAMA: Spring Rally, Elkhart Lake, WI
25 SAMA: Luncheon, w. Hotel, South Beach, Acura
26 WAPA: Luncheon, 4225 Connecticut near D.C.'s first "Freedom Station" (EV Charger)
July 2013
11 MAMA: Luncheon, CATA, Oakbrook Terrace, IL, GM
16 IMPA: Meeting, New York, NY
17-18 NEMPA: Ragtop Ramble, Boston, MA
25 WAJ: Meeting, Sparky's Hot Rod Garage, Chrysler
August 2013
5-8 CAR Management Briefing Seminars: Traverse City, MI
September 2013
10-11 Frankfurt Int'l Auto Show: Press Days, Frankfurt, Germany
12-13 Frankfurt Int'l Auto Show: Trade Days, Frankfurt, Germany
14-22 Frankfurt Int'l Auto Show: Public Days, Frankfurt, Germany
17 APA: Honda Luncheon, Detroit, MI
18-19 IMPA: Test Days. Monticello, New York
October 2013
10 WAJ: Future Cars, Future Technology, San Jose, CA
10-12 TAWA: Truck Rodeo, San Antonio, TX
16 APA/NADA: Luncheon, Detroit, MI
16 Seattle Auto Show: Press Day
28 APA: Consumer Reports, Luncheon, Detroit, MI
November 2013
5-7 AAPEX 2013: Las Vegas, NV
5-8 SEMA Show: Las Vegas, NV
14 APA: Lincoln, Luncheon, Detroit, MI
19-21 Los Angeles Auto Show: Press Days, Convention Center, Los Angeles, CA
20-21 Tokyo Motor Show: Press Days, Tokyo, Japan
22 Tokyo Motor Show: Special Guest Day, Tokyo, Japan
23- Dec.1 Tokyo Motor Show: Gen'l Public Days, Tokyo, Japan


automotive journalists

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across the finish line

A.B. Shuman – Much respected former Mercedes-Benz PR man.

Dean Jeffries – Pre-eminent racecar and hot rod artist. Created  "The Monkeymobile" for the Monkeys TV show.

talk back

Autowriters Spotlight: Dick Kelley


I still admire the great work you do with  A couple of quick notes: the Bentley guy is Graeme Russell, not the other way around.

And in the Kelley piece, it would have been nice to mention his professor's name, which was John Ahlhauser, one of the great photographers on The Milwaukee Journal in the 1960s, when the Journal had the finest corps of news photographers in the country, many of whom went on to careers with Life, Look, National Geographic, Smithsonian, Sports Illustrated and other prestigious publications. I know this for a fact because I worked with most of them in my 40 years with The Milwaukee Journal and its successor, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. I retired as the Washington bureau chief in 2000 but still write my car column, which I believe has had a record run. I have not missed a week since it started in 1975.


Frank Aukofer
Scripps Howard News Service
Author, "Never a Slow Day"


Al Vinikour

On May 31 TAWA President Michael Marrs penned the following note to TAWA members:

“Fellow members,

In our hurried world, it is all too often that we are led to reflection by the unfortunate plight of those around us.

Our friend, Al Vinikour, is now producing his own "Cancer Chronicles" as only Al can do in regard to a Stage 4 diagnosis that has been confirmed. At a time like this, there are really no words nor level of true understanding that can be conveyed. However, it is the words of encouragement, the words of caring that can provide the warming glow of comfort and hope that is so often needed in a time of darkness. While texting and email provide that instant outreach that is soon shifting down the screen as each are replaced, the written word will stand the test of time with a chance to relish each visualized concept as it is read - then read again and again.

As we try to understand that which we can not, please keep Al and his family in your prayers and thoughts - even if it is just a quick 'get well' note."

Al Vinikour
5647 Pinehurst Drive
Trenton, MI 48183

As of June 14, Marrs reports Al remains in the hospital but stays busy working as he can and writing his chronicle.

2006 Autowriters Spotlight: Al Vinikour



TMI led to an incorrect conclusion in our last Newsletter. We corrected it on the web but for those who stick to the email version of the Newsletter:

Todd Burlage, Joe Kyncha and Tom Jensen are not employees of Wheelbase Communications but they contribute content to it.


talk to us

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regional news


Keith Griffin advises Brett Johnson from Skip Barber has extended a generous offer to any NEMPA member looking to do a story on Barber’s offensive driving programs. He doesn’t say what the offer is so for more information: contact: Brett Johnson: 678-828-2045

Jeep won three significant awards here recently. NEMPA named the Grand Cherokee "Official Winter Vehicle of New England" for the third year in a row; the 2011 Grand Cherokee was voted Wheels TV’s "Previously Owned Vehicle of The Year" and Mike Manley, Jeep Brand President and CEO, was named 2013 NEMPA Executive of the Year.

Registration for NEMPA’s annual Ragtop Ramble and Crustacean Crawl, the organization's annual "thank you" to the automotive industry, is now open. Go to to register.

Atlantic States

IMPA has modernized its web site to make it easier to use and responsive to the various devices used to access it: IMPA is seeking volunteers from its members to help with its annual "Test Days" Sept. 18-19. Contact: contact Paul Licata at

WAPA has redesigned its logo and, instead of a luncheon looking for a program, it has a program looking for a lunch. Members will visit an eVgo charging station in the city and they are looking for a nearby place to chow down.

South East

A Porsche 911 Carrera 4S Cabriolet claimed the overall Best Convertible automobile title at the third annual “Topless in Miami” event hosted by the Southern Automotive Media Association.

Porsche 911 Carrera 4s Cabriolet

West Coast

Michael Coates is now Chairman/co-chair of "Future Cars, Future Technology" Summit to be held Oct. 10 in San Jose, Calif. to be convened by the Western Automotive Journalists.

MPG postponed its June 6 Trail Day to a yet unannounced date later in the summer.

motoring press organizations

The 18 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

Automotive Press Association
Detroit, MI

Logo: APA Auto Press Associaion

Mark Phelan, President

American Racing Press Association

Logo: Ameican Racing Press Association

Stan Clinton, President


Eastern Motorsports Press Association
Ballston Spa, NY

Logo: EMPA Eastern Motorsports Press Association

Ron Hedger, President


Greater Atlanta Automotive Media Association
Atlanta, GA

GAAMA: Greater Atlanta Automotive Association

Davis Adams, President

International Motor Press Association

Logo: IMPA Int'l Motor Press Association

Dave Kiley, President


Midwest Automotive Media Association
Chicago, IL

Logo: MAMA Midwest Automotive Media Association

Kirk Bell, President

Motor Press Guild
Los Angeles, CA

MPG: Motor Press Guild

Aaron Gold, President

New England Motor
Press Association
Boston, MA

NEMPA Logo: New England Motor Press Association

Keith Griffin, President

Northwest Automotive Press Association
Portland, OR

NWAPA Logo: Northwest Automotive Press Association

Nik Miles, President

Phoenix Automotive Press Association, Phoenix

Logo: PAPA Phoenix Automotive Press Association

Cathy Droz, President

Rocky Mountain Automotive Press
Denver, CO

Logo: Rocky Mountain Automotive Media Association

Nathan Adlen, President

Southern Automotive Media Association
Miami FL

Log: Southern Automotive Media Association

Jaimie Flores, President  

Southeast Automotive Media Organization
Charlotte, NC

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Texas Auto Writers Association


Michael Marrs

Truck Writers of North America

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Tom Kelley, Executive Director

Western Automotive Journalists
San Francisco, CA

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David Ray

Washington Automotive Press Association
Washington, D.C.


Melanie Batenchuk, President

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