Things change. Paradigms shift. Torches are passed. Cars change hands. Generational leadership changes, too
Having devoured all the car magazines growing up, I can tell you, doing this “auto-writer” thing for a living and still having so many of the heavyweight writers, authors and editors from that fantastic era as peers, is indeed a generous part of my passion. Two of those guys are Larry Edsall and Bob Golfen, long-time auto writers, founding editors of this website — and Baby Boomers. They’re not leaving (thank goodness). But now I’ll be carrying the torch as managing editor.
I won’t bore you with my pedigree. Don’t get me wrong, I can pontificate with the best of them. However, since we are just getting to know each other, that’s never a great way to start. What I can tell you is that this Gen Xer has had the car bug from the moment I sat in a stroller, at 8 months of age, in Thunder Valley and witnessed Chuck Parsons and Skip Scott winning the 1968 Road America 500 in a Lola T70 Mk.3 Chevrolet — a full six laps (24 miles) ahead of the McKee Mk.7 Ford of Bob Nagel and Ed Lowther.
The car hobby, and my various gigs, have taken me many places and introduced me to many interesting people, who without the passion otherwise might not give me the time of day. The people you meet in the car world are just people. People who put their driver’s suits on one leg at a time. People who have to deal with life on whoever’s terms – we all gotta serve somebody… But come the weekend, all over the world, a great secret society meets in so many places. People and their rides converge on Cars and Coffee, National Meets, Concours de’Elegance, Club Races, Track Days, Drive-Ins, Cruise-Ins, Speedways, Street Circuits, Dragstrips… All speaking a common passionate language: The Automobile.
It doesn’t matter if it’s 1955 or 2020: It’s 10 p.m. The lights of the open garage bay bathe the driveway in soft light. In the garage, a group of people stand around an open hood — beverages in hand — admiring, talking, commiserating. We really are all the same. In the more than century-old history of the car, many branches have grown away from the trunk that is the foundation of car culture. But in the end, we are essentially all the same.
The diversity of cars and the incarnations of style, mods, uses, and the demographics of the people, may seem foreign from one side to the other, but what unites us all is that car bug. Each of us can pinpoint the moment and tell the story of how we caught it too.
If I’m at a party, and most of the people there are talking about, say, tennis, and some guy pulls up in a fully dressed East LA Lowrider, guess who I’m going to talk at the party? I may not follow that branch of the car culture closely — but I respect it. I know that guy will speak to me in a language that the other people in the room won’t understand. It’s a secret handshake of sorts. Consider I was purposely seated at a wedding next to a gentleman, because the bride knew we both liked Formula One. That man would become my oldest daughter’s Godfather. See how that works?
The genuine interest is out there, despite leaps and bounds in technology, so many distractions, smartphones, entertainment options… Life… The idea is to get hands on. To twist wrenches, to bid, to admire, to drive. No matter who we are and where we come from, we are united.
The idea of being the editorial boss of a well-circulated car site like ClassicCars.com is certainly a “feather in the cap.” I have been working in this field many years, aspiring to an opportunity like this. But in the end, I’m just blessed. I get to be around this lifestyle — and feed my kids!
That said, with respect to you, the reader, I also aspire to be a good steward of these pages. There will be some changes, but invite all of you to reach out when you like or don’t like something, have an interesting idea, or just want to talk cars at a show somewhere. I promise to keep my eyes and ears open for you.
It has been an amazing 50-plus-year ride from that stroller in Elkhart Lake. I’m looking forward to all the new adventures to come.