By on September 18, 2011

I’m not generally much for anniversaries. Heck, after more than six years together, my steady sweetie and I can’t remember our actual anniversary, so we had to make one up… and we (both) still forget it most years. But here on the internet, there’s a record of everything. And looking back, it seems that it was exactly two years ago today that Robert Farago called me to say that The Truth About Cars was going to be my problem from now on.

Even two years removed from that tumultuous weekend, just thinking about it causes my stomach to shift uneasily. Though I’d had some indication that I might at some point become Editor-in-Chief of this fine site, the actual transition took me completely by surprise. And as I scrambled to figure out what it would take to run this site without its founder and editorial touchstone, the sense of nervous anticipation was palpable in the comments from TTAC’s regular readers. Our traffic took a graceful swan dive, key writers left (understandably), and I was almost completely overwhelmed by the challenge of taking a brand that had always relied on one immensely talented voice and guiding it into the future. If I’d known at the time that, two years later I’d be sitting where I am now, this anniversary might not be the occasion for such a flood of intense, nerve-wracking memories. But the journey from there to here is something for which I’m immensely grateful. Through the immense challenges of that fateful transition, I’ve become a better writer, a better editor, and I’ve become close with some of the most talented people I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. And, as a result, I like to think that TTAC has become a better site.

Of course none of that would have been possible had Robert Farago not created the strongest, most compelling brand in automotive journalism… or taken a chance on a young freelancer with no automotive experience. Though the circumstances of Robert’s departure were difficult for me (as, I’m sure they were for him), my respect for, and gratitude to him remain undimmed. It took a true visionary to create a brand like TTAC and build it around DNA that would sustain it past his departure.

Similarly, I owe my father, Paul Niedermeyer, a special debt of thanks: when I took over, he quickly agreed to become my Managing Editor, providing critical moral and professional support in my, and TTAC’s, hour of need. Though the last two years have been as tumultuous for our personal relationship as they’ve been for me professionally, and though he no longer writes for TTAC, the opportunity to work with ones father is something that sticks with you. And though I often wish we could still work together, my heart swells with pride at the success he’s achieved with his own site, Curbsideclassic.com.

Another special thanks must be reserved for the man who replaced my father as TTAC’s Managing Editor: Bertel Schmitt. Few people were as instrumental in keeping TTAC together in the post-Farago chaos, and I thank the mysterious forces of the universe every day that Bertel continues to stick by my side. His deep industry experience, his razor-sharp mind, his passionate work ethic and his wonderful sense of humor have become an indispensable part of both the TTAC brand and my own life. Anybody in this car-writing game would be honored to have Bertel as their right-hand-man, and I’m doubly honored by the knowledge that he’s stuck with me despite receiving several offers from far more established outlets.

One of the conclusions I reached within hours of digesting the reality that I would be in charge of TTAC, was that I couldn’t do it alone. I needed a core of talented, inspired and passionate writers to fill in the many gaps in my automotive understanding. And I literally could not ask for a better core of editors than Jack, Murilee, Steve, Sajeev and Michael. Seriously, I’ve given the topic much thought, and there’s literally no team of automotive writers with the same mix of talent, perspective, dedication, passion and diversity. These guys are my dream team. I know it hasn’t always been easy for us to pull together as a team… after all, there’s enough passion and diversity of perspective in this group to make personality clashes inevitable. But deep mutual respect inevitably carries us through, and I would always rather we fight like dogs because we’re too passionate than harmoniously churn out mediocre, uninspired pap.

Speaking of which, I feel an immense sense of gratitude to the readers and commenters who have stuck with (or even left and come back to) TTAC since I took over. Looking back at your comments from two years ago, I see as much nervousness in your comments as I see support for TTAC’s unproven new editor… and that nervousness was well-founded. In many ways, TTAC was and is lightning in a bottle, and I could have very easily fucked the entire thing up. To those of you who uncritically supported me through the entire thing, thank you for your confidence. To those of you who lacked confidence but still gave me the chance to prove myself, and to prove that this site is bigger than any one person, a double shot of thanks. I would not be where I am today without your willingness to keep me and my writers honest, every day and on every story. And none of us would be here at all if your visits and occasional ad-click-throughs didn’t keep the lights on.

I could go on and on with the thanks… certainly VerticalScope deserves thanks for allowing us to keep our independence while paying our bills, and the Automakers deserve thanks for giving increasing access to the brand that can only shoot straight. Also, TTAC’s occasional contributors who pepper our regular content with their flashes of insight and lively prose, are the seasoning that make TTAC such a consistently delicious read. But instead of waffling on, I’ll just shut up and get back to work. After all, TTAC isn’t about basking in glory and good vibes… it’s about keeping your head down, keeping your mind sharp, and never forgetting that readers always deserve better than they’re getting. I figure if I stick to that formula, we’ll be back here celebrating another year before you know it.

I can’t wait…

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58 Comments on “Housekeeping: Has It Really Been… Two Years?...”


  • avatar

    Congrats Edward. I can recall the day well, and the doom and gloom predicted for TTAC’s near future, if not its very existence. How wrong they all were!

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      +1. I have only be a reader for 6 months but love this site. I don`t know the history and was curious when the follwoing was written “Though the circumstances of Robert’s departure were difficult for me (as, I’m sure they were for him), my respect for, and gratitude to him remain undimmed.”
      What were the circumstances if you don`t mind me asking?

      • 0 avatar

        The truth is I’m not 100% certain on the details, just that the results ended up in my lap. I was simply trying to reference the fact that it’s not easy for anyone to leave a project and brand that they’ve poured themselves into for the better part of a decade. But he’s clearly had no problem moving on… for those who don’t know, Farago’s new site, thetruthaboutguns.com, is rapidly becoming as indispensable to the gun world as TTAC is to the car world.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        For those who’ve never been to ttag, and have an interest in all things related to guns and the US gun industry, Farago’s site is quickly becoming the de facto standard for up-to-date comments on salient topics relating to the US gun industry. If guns are one of your hobbies, ttag is the place to get your knowledge on about what’s going on.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    Keep up the good work – TTAC is a pleasurable part of every day for me!

  • avatar
    PenguinBoy

    Thank you for sticking with it.

    TTAC and Curbside Classic are the source of pretty much all the auto writing I read these days. I had subscriptions to a couple of old school dead tree car magazines, but I let them lapse as I found I never got around to reading them with TTAC available on line.

    Keep up the good work!

  • avatar
    StevenJJ

    I’m on here every day and have been for… I don’t know how long.

    It’s better than it has ever been.

    I don’t even post on ANY forums anymore (no joke). This site is different.

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    The place has never been better and you, Young Niedermeyer, have learned one of life’s important lessons. If placed in a position to lead you must surround yourself with people who are strong in the areas you are weak, those who know the things you don’t know, so that your abilities will compliment each other.

    In the position I’m currently in colleauges will sometimes ask me; “What if you got promoted to ___________ or __________ or __________?” I always give them the response above. No person can do it alone and you have collected some wonderfully tallented people around you.

  • avatar
    highdesertcat

    You’re doing a great job! Keep up the good work. The comments your topics evoke have been priceless for anyone in the US auto industry interested in what the people who matter think. (That’s the buying public, in case you were wondering who the people that matter are.)

  • avatar
    Zykotec

    I agree with all the above (so far, I guess there will be more replies after a while.) Congratulations, and I you should thank your father, his ‘curbside classics’ (which I still follow) was what led me to this site, and his objectivity, mixed with his love for cars (a rare mix) must somehow have gotten into you too I guess. Even if I lost interest in modern cars some time ago, I still like to follow up on whats happening in the industry, and I like to have such a diverse and honest source of information available.
    And I love a little political discussion from time to time too :P

  • avatar
    Philosophil

    This is one of only two forums I’ve ever respected enough to actually join (the other one is about hockey–don’t laugh!). Lots of great insights here from the editors, writers, and forum participants, and I love the generally respectful manner in which everyone behaves.

    Great stuff!

    • 0 avatar
      Monty

      Domi, is that you? I’m not laughing – I’m also on the same forum, under this name. I remember you well; I wish for you to engage in discussions, as well, and as willingly as you do over there. I enjoy reading when you dissect a poorly made or ill-considered point.

      • 0 avatar
        Philosophil

        Thanks for the compliment, but unfortunately I’m not Domi (though from the description I kind of wish I was). In fact, the Leafs have always been one of my long time rivals (in a fun sort of way), so for me to adopt a name like Domi would be akin to renouncing all that is good and decent about the world.

        Glad to see there are other hockey fans here besides me, however, so thanks for the note.

      • 0 avatar
        Monty

        Oh, sorry. The Sportsnet fan community, where I am a member, also has a member under the sobriquet “Philosophilia”, so I assumed you were he.

        Winnipeg Jet fan here.

  • avatar

    Many many congrats, Ed!!
    +on the tv, interviews, WSJ, etc.

    From someone who has worked on 1 or more difficult entrepreneurial targets, and been derailed, multiple times: You Really have done a very good job with a tough situation.

    +God bless you for daring to work w/ family.

    And you’re right, Bertel really is a gem.
    Smart, weird & funny; kind of like a male German Ke$ha without all the whore-glitter.

    And Jack?
    -YOU STAY THE )(*^*(* AWAY FROM MY ()*^@$*^%-ING WIFE!, YOU *^$%#&-ING @@^*&^-ER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Good job, fellas.
    Looking forward.

  • avatar
    carguy

    Well done Ed. It’s never easy to learn on the job but you have found your voice and shaped TTAC into an informative and entertaining site that I visit nearly every day. You have also assembled a team of talented and diverse writers to give this site a decidedly fresh and independent feel. But maybe the greatest accolade is how you fared against your web competition in this segment which ended up either as an AOL owned auto press release outlet or crashing after a lame “awesome manifesto” and disastrous site redesign. Bravo for keeping the ship steady and staying true to your mission.

    The only complaint I have is not with your content but with your web-hosting company. You seem to use relatively simple web templates and yet they manage to serve them up slower than cold molasses. But its small drawback while the content is as good as it is.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      I use Opera 11.51 and a DSL and have no issues with speed from their web-hosting company. Maybe your area is saturated/oversold for capacity. Where I live it is pretty sparsely populated. No speed issues here.

      • 0 avatar
        PenguinBoy

        I don’t have too much problem with the way the site loads at home using a variety of systems and browsers, but I do find it slow on mobile devices – particularly on a train or other area where there are plenty of users.

        A lightweight, mobile optimized version would be a worthwhile enhancement – although with content this good, it is worth waiting for…

    • 0 avatar

      We definitely had pageload problems in the past. There is a lot of stuff on these pages. here has been tweaking of the code, a move to a faster server, and most of all, a move to Cloudflare. Ever since, it works alright. I see the site from many perspectives, from a fast fiber line or a 4G wireless in Japan to an insufferably slow line in China, and all things considered, it is working fine now. Trust me, I was the biggest critic when it was slow ….

  • avatar
    KalapanaBlack

    I may not be as vocal a commenter as many, but TTAC has been a near-daily web visit for me since, let’s see, just before the Subaru Tribeca was handed its female reproductive organ-inspired nickname. So thats, what, six or seven years? And in that time, I’d say there’ve been a combined total of 30 days I haven’t visited (I don’t get out much, apparently…). Hell, TTAC was the first place I visited on my phone when I upgraded to a smart phone with mobile web a few years ago.

    I’m never one to nit-pick, so I’m probably not the best basis for constructive criticism. But if my (and many others’) long-term repeat visits are anything to go by, you guys are doing a hell of a job!

    It might be different now than when Farago was at the helm, but despite the predictions of the attention span-deprived Internet (i.e. the mass organism also known as), that’s not necessarily a bad thing. At least as good, just, y’know, different.

  • avatar
    grzydj

    I thought this place was done for back then. I’d check in on occasion to see if articles were still being posted, and sure enough they were! I wouldn’t say that things blossomed quickly by any means, but at a steady enough rate to keep me coming back every day.

    I have been critical of editors and articles on a few occasions, to which I was given insightful and meaningful responses by the editors here at TTAC. I admire that greatly, and I’m glad we can all have a say in matters without resorting to juvenile name calling or obligatory internet memes.

    It’s been an interesting two years, and I look forward to many more. Keep up the good work TTAC.

    On a side note, I find it interesting that carguy mentions the much lauded (at the time) “awesome manifesto” that was to set Jalopnik apart from the rest of the internet car websites. It’s funny how if I give any kind of criticism about any of their non-car related stories, which is which makes up most of their “content” now the editors there simply tell you to move onto the next story if you don’t like it. At least TTAC didn’t fall into the pit of “PAGE VIEWS ++ AT ALL COSTS!” that has cost Jalopnik all of their journalistic integrity.

  • avatar
    Robert.Walter

    Congrats Ed on work done well and well done!

    Congrats to the rest of the team and the B&B for making this such a fun and informative site.

    Thanks as well!

  • avatar
    ihatetrees

    An interesting 2 years. You’ve done an outstanding job. All the writers deserve a big “Thank You”.

    I’m sure you had a few gut check moments given that this new interweb journalism thing is new and constantly changing. I think you’ve weathered the worst of times – the carmageddon meltdown that hurt all things automotive. With all the new media devices on the way (go Apple and Kindle!), prosperous times lie ahead for TTAC.

  • avatar

    Love you Edward!

  • avatar
    mpresley

    I am happy that you produce the site, and that you allow comments. There are some pluses and debits.

    Being a “daily” you may cover stories as they happen, something the magazines cannot do. This is a plus.

    Your editorial style is OK and I detect no real bias toward any manufacturer. I take it that your writers probably own cars, and pay for maintenance?

    The technical side is not as well done, nor is it as in-depth as the material found in C/D (the only one I sub to). However I’m sure that they have resources TTAC does not possess.

    I do not think TTAC writers are as literate as the best C/D writers, but they are not bad, for the most part. One thing: it is difficult to pull off the gonzo style consistently, and at times it shows.

    I find TTAC reviews rather haphazard in presentation. Sometimes it is difficult to find basic technical information. Often it is not given at all (as far as I can tell). On the other hand, you highlight many cars that are not reviewed by the slicks, such as some of the older finds.

    After two years I believe TTAC has done a respectable job. With all that in mind, I realize that it is easy for anyone to show up and comment. But we commenters are not doing the production work, and it is even easier to criticize than it is to actually produce something worthwhile. I hope you take my small criticism in the manner intended, which is not meant to be negative at all, but just my view.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    I’ve been a member for over a year now, and I have simply not found anything else worth my electron’s trouble wasting time with!

    TTAC and CurbsideClassic are the ONLY two websites I belong to. I must say it’s worth every all the time I spend between the two of them.

    TTAC is the car site I’ve waited for for a long time, and as I said last week, I’m not going anywhere.

    Congratulations to you and the TTAC team for putting forth such an outstanding product, and to your father Paul for doing the same! Now I have to go over there and congratulate him, too!

  • avatar
    golden2husky

    A job well done! You have allowed this site to grow beyond the boundary lines set by RF…and it is much better for it. I rarely post on any other site. Keep it up.

  • avatar

    TTAC is the most journalistically honest site I am aware of. the technical information is top notch, the stories pertinent, interesting, and timely. I enjoy visiting daily and commenting when the mood strikes,

    it was politically correct for you to pay homage to Farago, you did so in an accurate and classy fashion. I do miss the cutting wit he provided that may never be duplicated.

    all the best to you Ed and your crew, they are indeed a fine bunch.

  • avatar
    cheezeweggie

    Ed,
    Not many days go by without me clicking onto this site. It’s kinda like having the urge to rubberneck an accident victim. Three things make TTAC unique. 1- No paid subscription nonsense. 2- Some of the comments I have read over the years rival those of professional comedians. 3- A car can be worth less than $50,000 and still be worth the effort to write about.

    Keep up the good work.

  • avatar
    Acc azda atch

    I think I’ve been on this site about 4+yrs.. about 2 before the downfall of GM.. and always loving the Death Watch Series as they give ya a honest to goodness, no b.s, fire and brimstone look into what is going on with the auto industry.

    Im not seeing much of that brimstone as of late and have backed off of my usual posts to about 1-2 a week.. depending on the comments. (The recent Lincoln debates have made me absolutely crazy. Insane to think that a site like this.. has ENOUGH people who cant figure out what the nomenclature means / relates on a Lincoln or any other auto co who uses a series of letters to figure out what rung a particular car sits at price / prestige wise.)

    Im also not thrilled about how long people on this site can moan on and on about the Panther frame. Its like C&D’s love for the Accord. Its impossible to think that there aren’t any better cars than the current 3500lb fwd 2.4ltr 4cycl 4dr 4spd 8th gen Accord. Altima and or Maxima could have done better. Mazda6 could have done better.

    Really.. a RWD Panther frame.. cant be that fantastic. It’s legendary in the fact that its been made for so long and exists in a utility that puts to good use the frame and assembly. We shouldn’t be championing it.. we should be bringing the Falcon frame up from AUSTRALIA and re-engineering the car for replacement duty as well as the next Mustang.

    I love the site.. but I also like horseradish because its tart and clears up my sinuses and goes well on a roast beef sandwhich, with swiss cheese, toasted on rye.

    More brimstone is always welcome.

    Solid site
    Love the variation…
    Miss Murilee on JALOP.. site isnt the same.

  • avatar

    I’m not certain how I first came upon TTAC–I think it was from those who were at Jalopnik during the golden era of that blog–but I’m happy to see one of my favorite old-school Jalop writers here; Murilee’s epic has great writing, and I’ll be sad when he writes the final entry of his Impala. I’ll be here for a while to come yet.

    Happy anniversary, Ed!

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    I couldn’t imagine TTAC without Robert. And while it has evolved differently than it would have under him (not better, not worse, just different), you have done an incredible job with expanding the site’s interests and coverage. You are to be commended with keeping it together and progressing forward, never an easy thing to do in the face of adversity.

    I check it several times a day….like a junkie. I’m amazed at how much especially Jalopnik has eroded in the past year.

    I’m very glad you and Paul found your own ways and spaces to share both your tremendous abilities….

    Best wishes on the continued path of success….

  • avatar
    suspekt

    I have been on the TTAC drug 7 years. There is no cure.

    The team at TTAC deserve all the accolades written here.

    Great site. The Best.

  • avatar
    RGS920

    I started reading TTAC when I was a first year law student about 6 years ago and I have been hooked ever since. I think TTAC’s mission and content are clearer and stronger than ever. Cheers Ed on TTAC’s success.

  • avatar
    BlisterInTheSun

    I think there are many among us who check this site frequently but don’t necessarily comment that much.
    Please keep up the good work Ed — my daily dose of TTAC is a must for me!

  • avatar
    jpcavanaugh

    Congratulations. I can hardly believe that it has been two years. I enjoy this site, though I must confess that I don’t get here as often as I used to. Your father is keeping me too busy at Curbside Classic:) But I still get here pretty regularly and this is the only modern car site that I come to.
    I enjoy the writing and the wide range of what you cover. No political slant, but pretty much right down the middle. Keep up the good work.

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      Yeah, JP, you keep me pretty busy over there, too! You do a great job, to say the least. As I said above, splitting my time between the two sites is a balancing act for me, especially at work, but I try to chime in during the evenings when I get a chance.

  • avatar
    Bimmer

    Congrats on your two years anniversary, Ed!

    Lately I’ve been pretty busy with school and work, however every evening I check TTAC. If I don’t have time to read articles, I bookmark ‘em and read it over weekend or when I have some time.

    I was lucky to meet JB in person, would like to meet the rest of the crew, if you’re in Toronto area.

  • avatar
    redliner

    I am a daily reader. Without Ttac I would be stuck with Jalopniks sensationalistic titles to get more clicks “news,” and the pre-digested slop from places like MT and CR, not, to mention the infomercials known as Motor Week.

    So for that, I thank you, and your talented staff. Thanks TTAC.

  • avatar
    mazder3

    Great work, Edward! This site is extremely addictive. It’s always informative and entertaining.
    Thank You!

  • avatar
    Spencer Williams

    Thanks for all you do, Edward, I appreciate your work.

    When you listed all your writers, I was amazed to realize that I really respect all of their work. That’s not something I can say for any other site, hell, for any other ANYTHING. All I’d ask for is more Steven Lang auction tales!

  • avatar
    joe_thousandaire

    It is hard to believe its been two years. I remember reading R.F.’s sign-off and thinking ‘well that’s that no more TTAC – I guess I’m down to Autoblog and (sigh) maybe Jalopnik’.

    Then I kept coming back, checking in every day, as much to see if the site was still up as to read the new content. But new content there was, and shockingly the site was not only surviving but thriving and evolving, adapting to its new environment and becoming a stronger species.

    Keep up the good work!

  • avatar

    Congratulations Ed,you had some big shoes to fill two years ago and kept the TTAC name alive and well in the post-Farago era. I contribute occasionally to Robert’s new site which has become a great place to watch him continue to use his considerable writing skills in a new arena.

  • avatar
    LordDetroitofLondon

    Congrats fellas! Keep it coming.

  • avatar
    nadude

    Congrats on two years Ed!

  • avatar
    JJ

    I think Ed wants TTAC’s commentariat to enlist in the army…

  • avatar
    lmike51b

    Thanks to Ed and all the contributors. Keep up the good work and there will be many more anniversaries.

  • avatar
    LKre

    Congratulations. You have led the site through a crisis. After Farago’s departure, the project was careening toward becoming a pointless automotive blog, one of many and read by few. Reviews became less frequent than before and editorials lost their trademark combination of venom and gradeur, which made them read as capital verdicts for crimes against humanity. Gradually, you managed to “restore service.” Reviews appear regularly, and reviews are everything for a publisher of original auto content. The rest is a background for them. Yet, I wish your editorials reconquered the spirit and sheer magnitude of the old days. Perhaps, that could be a resolution for the Year Three. Good luck.

  • avatar
    Mark MacInnis

    This site is kinda like the 49ers were after Joe left and Steve took over….the excellence continued…just the leadership changed….

    Congrats on the two-year anniversary.

  • avatar
    brettc

    Congratulations on 2 years of success! I was a little freaked out as well when I read about the departure of RF. I wondered who would continue the GM deathwatches and write about flying vaginas. I kept returning to see what was posted because I have a fairly dull job most of the time. And sure enough, new and interesting articles continued to be posted.

    While the content changed, it wasn’t a bad change. Just different and I’ve adjusted to it. I now prefer the way it gets updated by so many different people throughout the world. Hammer Time is my favourite because Steve is basically the rain-man of used cars. But everything else is great too. So here’s to many more years of success and spreading truthiness about cars to the rest of the interwebs!

  • avatar

    Congrats Ed and Bertel for keeping the site so relevant.
    While I do wish Farago would occasionally write for TTAC, the site has definitely matured and found a good rhythm over the past two years.

  • avatar
    Samir

    It’s true that this TTAC isn’t Robert’s TTAC – to wit, an article of several thousand words right below this story.

    RF’s wit will always be missed.

    That said, I enjoy this new TTAC and I think if you’re a part-time writer and full-time car guy, you can’t find a better place to write. I also still haven’t found a place with as much insight in the business of producing and selling cars – most places just focus on the cars themselves. I love the industry talk.

  • avatar
    supremebrougham

    While it’s true I don’t comment a whole lot, I do visit almost every day, and several times a day at that. Why? Because the content is always of high quality.

    Ed, you and the gang are doing a wonderful job, and I have no plans or desire to leave here. Along with your dad’s site, these are parts of my daily routine that I truly enjoy.

    So here’s to even more years here, and to hoping that one day we’ll get to meet up, perhaps at NAIAS sometime???

    -Richard

  • avatar
    jruhi4

    Congrats, Edward, Bertel and the rest of the crew.

    You really have a special site going that has become a near-daily must-read for me.

  • avatar

    I’ve been out of web reach for two weeks in the depths of Glacier National Park, so this comes mighty late: Congratulations son; I’m mighty proud of what you’ve accomplished! I knew you would succeed, and the past nine months or so, you’ve really proved it.


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