I™m not sure if this is bizarre, amusing, interesting, or none of those, but I remember picking up the inaugural issue of Automobile from the magazine rack at a Meijer grocery store in metro Detroit. At 9 years old in 1986, I was already a devoted consumer of car magazines, and this new one with the funky font on the cover caught my eye immediately.
Longtime Automobile editor and present-day contributor Michael Jordan despises this story, but I once used his original review of Ferrariâ€™s F40 as source material for a fifth-grade research project. I still have the handwritten report on a shelf at home. Sometimes I text MJ pictures of it â€” just to brighten his day.
Iâ€™ve always been a car fan, but I never had any grand dreams, schemes, or plans of making it onto this publicationâ€™s masthead. I did earn a journalism degree from Michigan State University but at the time never planned to use it for its intended purpose. Law school made more sense to me for some reason. And then, thankfully, it didnâ€™t. I blame two dates for this: May 1 and May 29, 1994.
The former was the day Formula 1 star Ayrton Senna died. As a kid, Iâ€™d seen him race years earlier on the streets of Detroit, and though I didnâ€™t follow F1 especially closely, the news of his demise shocked me. Itâ€™s the only story I remember following in the ensuing weeks, which just happened to lead right into the latter date.
By pure chance, I had earlier accepted a friendâ€™s invitation to accompany him and his father to the Indy 500. Youâ€™ve probably heard people say nothing prepares you for the sight of Indianapolis Motor Speedway, especially in real life on race day, with more than 250,000 spectators on the ground. It sounds like clichĂ©d hyperbole, but itâ€™s true. And along with my renewed interest in F1 in the wake of Sennaâ€™s death, that first encounter with Indy ignited a passion for motorsports I never expected to find.
Without charting the entire course here, the upshot is that it led me to a brief stint working at a racing school, and then to Autoweek, where I worked as a full-time staffer for 13 years, the majority of them as motorsports editor. I was also a tester and reviewer of road cars, a fleet manager, and just about everything in between that is commonplace at automotive enthusiast outlets.
Eventually, my work there led me to Automobile in early 2015 â€” almost 29 years to the day that I first picked up that funky new car mag as my mom checked-off her grocery list.
What else do you probably not want to know? I â€” along with three other people, Iâ€™m told frequently â€” am an avid NBA fan, evidenced by a disturbingly large number of Nikes taking up almost all of my closet space. I enjoy racing/driving video games and simulators, though for me theyâ€™ll never replace the real thing. Road cars are cool, race cars are better.
Iâ€™ve seen the original â€śPoint Breakâ€ť at least 147 times start to finish. Iâ€™ve seen â€śTop Gunâ€ť even more. The millennials on our staff think my favorite decade is the â€™80s. Theyâ€™re wrong. Itâ€™s the â€™90s. I always have too many books to read and no time to do so.
Despite the present histrionics, I do not believe fully autonomous cars will dominate our roads any time soon, probably not for decades. I used to think anyone who didnâ€™t drive a manual transmission wasnâ€™t a real driver, but I was wrong. I wish I could disinvent social media, or at least somehow ensure it is used only for good. And I appreciate being part of Automobileâ€™s proud history, enjoying the ride alongside all of you.