My grandfather worked for Marathon Oil in Western Michigan. He tested gasoline. He’d connect small glass jars of fuel to the 390 cubic inch V8 in his Ford Galaxie, checking if the refined dead dinosaurs were up to snuff. Sounds safe. My father helped my grandfather build a La Darwi Coachcraft kit car. My father later outran a tornado with that La Darwi. When I was nine years old, I convinced my dad to buy a Volkswagen Rabbit GTI instead of an ex-driver’s training Ford Tempo. I don’t think he fully appreciates how important that decision was.
Every job I’ve ever had intertwines with the automobile. Working at a car wash transitioned into odd jobs for a car collector. Sweeping the shop floors and detailing his eccentric mix of vehicles transitioned into something more. When I graduated from college, I went career hunting but a conventional job reminded me of someone who drives a Ford Tempo. Instead, my car-collecting boss asked me to go racing with him. That developed into a position that sent me all over the world managing (and co-driving) a fleet of historic rally cars and IMSA GTP/Group C prototypes.
After eight years of wonderful adventures in auto racing, I married a lovely lady I met while living in England and had a daughter on the way, which led me to drop Jean Jennings an email about a job at Automobile Magazine. I was looking for something that kept me home a bit more yet still utilized my passion for cars. We met for lunch at Old Town Tavern in Ann Arbor and Jean told me I was stupid to want to work for a car magazine. Luckily, Jean—and a cut in pay—didn’t scare me away and I became the magazine’s road test editor.
Four years later, an opportunity arose where I could move back to my hometown of Grand Rapids, Michigan, and continue to write for Automobile Magazine. I took it.