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Ronald Ahrens

Ronald Ahrens

Contributing Writer
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Ronald Ahrens
When Automobile launched in 1986, my byline appeared on a sidebar to the cover story written by our founding editor David E. Davis, Jr. Yet it wasn’t inevitable that I’d write for the magazine, even though my childhood was heavily automobile-flavored: my father raced jalopies and late-model stock cars on the oval tracks around Omaha, Nebraska, where we lived, and my favorite uncle liked drag racing and hot rods.

After earning a B.A. in English from the University of Nebraska, I moved to Los Angeles to become a screenwriter. Instead, though, I ended up holding cue cards on TV shows, including the soap opera Days of Our Lives. My first magazine story, the inside scoop on how we prepared those cue cards, appeared with my own photos in Soap Opera Digest.

In my freelance career, I’ve written for Bon Appétit, the Wall Street Journal, and many others. I started corresponding for the Automobiles desk at the New York Times in 2010, which is proving to be a great relationship. As a change of pace, my historical column for DBusiness (“Detroit’s Premier Business Journal”) has run since 2006. But while a food-and-wine tour can get boring after a couple of days, nothing beats a call from Automobile. I’ve been behind the wheel of everything from a Ferrari 458 Italia (“Blood Red to Goodwood,” March 2011) to the Fiat 500 Abarth. On assignment for “Three Zero Heroes,” I co-drove the winning BMW X3 in the 2004 Alcan Winter Rally. Teaming again with the same navigator, we won the 2006 Carolina Trophy, bulldogging a 1951 Chrysler Saratoga to the finish for “Substance over Style.”

Other assignments have placed me not only in the driver’s seat of a Porsche 911 Targa for the 2002 Targa Newfoundland, a plummy nod that seemed to indicate my editors’ favor, but also in the co-driver’s seat of a Class 1 buggy for the 2003 Baja 1000, suggesting they wanted me dead.

As you might guess, there’s no regret about failing as a screenwriter. And now I’m beginning something new: teaching automotive journalism at Art Center College of Design, in Pasadena. My workshop, Creating Content for Automotive Media, launched in 2012 and will be offered twice a year. I look forward to helping students along on their way to incomparable automotive adventures and working with the best editors in the business.

articles by Ronald Ahrens

2015 Hyundai Genesis Sedan Front View Parked
Road Tests

2015 Hyundai Genesis Review

Sleeker but more substantial.
Apr 06, 2014
Motor City Masters Video Screenshot
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Motor City Masters

Coming soon: Our own Jean Jennings in a reality TV series.
Apr 02, 2014
2015 Volkswagen Golf TDI EA288 Diesel Engine
News & Rumors

Volkswagen Unveils its New EA288 TDI Engine

Your feelings about efficiency are reciprocated.
Mar 24, 2014
2015 Kia K900
Road Tests

2015 Kia K900 Review

From zeroes to superlative.
Jan 27, 2014
vintage cars museum
News & Rumors

Embracing The Automobile As Art

Vintage cars are rolling into art museums.
Jan 09, 2014
Ford Edge Concept
2013 Los Angeles Auto Show

Ford Edge Concept Debuts at 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show

The Ford Edge is an indisputable utensil.
Nov 20, 2013
2014 Aston Martin Vanquish Volante
Road Tests

2014 Aston Martin Vanquish Volante Review

The wind and the heirs.
Nov 05, 2013
2014 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Black Series

Reflecting on a Mercedes-Benz AMG Track Day

On pit road, I was surprised by a face familiar from childhood.
Nov 05, 2013
2015 aston martin V12 vantage S
Road Tests

2015 Aston Martin V12 Vantage S First Drive

Indulgence and hardship.
Oct 29, 2013
2014 Dodge Durango Citadel
Road Tests

2014 Dodge Durango First Drive

Completing a cycle of history.
Oct 28, 2013
classic cars
News & Rumors

Drive Classic Cars Across The Auction Block

Ultimate Fantasy Number Four.
Oct 20, 2013
modern muralist
News & Rumors

Mister Cartoon - Modern Muralist

So far today, Mark Machado, better known as Mister Cartoon, has dropped off three of his kids at school and customized a Chevrolet Camaro.
Oct 09, 2013
2014 Chevrolet Silverado High Country
Road Tests

2014 Chevrolet Silverado High Country First Drive

Chevy's competitor for the Ford F-150 King Ranch
Sep 30, 2013
2014 Ram 1500
Road Tests

2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel First Drive

The paper-or-plastic question, rewrapped for combustion.
Sep 21, 2013
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