I have not read Automobile magazine regularly since the late David E. Davis, Jr. departed the Ann Arbor rag a few years ago. I did grab a copy of their November issue while stuck in an airport last week and was treated to a pair of puzzling pieces from Contributing Writer Ezra Dyer.
His monthly column was a first-person rant about a recent car buying experience, your basic Dealership Treated Me Badly story, of which you can find about 10,000 examples of on the Internet. What’s next? An expose on how drunk drivers kill innocent people? It must have been a slow news month at Automobile.
Dyer cried because the dealership’s “title guy” (“finance manager” to you and me) attempted to add a service plan and extended warranty to the deal. Ezra, you are in the car writing world and don’t know what happens when you buy a car? If nothing else you could have used your default position: tell the dealer who you are and promise them some free publicity if they cut you a deal and supply you with a seamless buying and financing process.
In an attempt to protect both his story and the flagging advertising sales of the magazine, Dyer did not disclose the brand, model or type of car he purchased. He did mention that the vehicle was located “two states away” and had a certified extended warranty, so it must have been a hard-to-find late model used car. I am wary when an auto writer does not want the audience to know what kind of vehicle he or she owns.
Next up, Ezra writes of his trip to Europe to drive flat out on a “secret” test track in a 1200 horsepower Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse worth $2.5 million and capable of hitting 255 mph. Now there’s a great story I am thinking, that is merely everyone’s fantasy.
Bugatti has seen enough Frank Bacons darken their door to know they need to control car writers’ driving behaviors while piloting their million dollar babies. I don’t know about you but I would follow Bugatti’s rules if given this amazing opportunity. If Bugatti ordered me to don Danica Patrick’s firesuit and then clay bar and Meguiar the car before we hit the track, I would happily comply. But not Dyer, he had to do it his way.
Dyer’s marching orders were very precise on approach speeds to the mile long straightaways, where to be on positioned on track and when to hit the go pedal, all monitored by his passenger, Bugatti test pilot Loris Bicocchi. Let’s let Dyer take it from here:
“…my brain skips a half a step ahead of the approved takeoff sequence…we’re closing in on 300 kph when I hear a strange noise. It almost sounds like a man yelling. In fact, it is a man yelling. In my peripheral vision, I see Bicocchi gesticulating frantically. I hit the brakes. Bicocchi is pissed. “I was yelling at you to slow down! You need to look at me!” he shouts. He looks angry but also petrified. “I had no control!” he seethes. In my defense, I was not ignoring him. I simply could not hear him…”
You can’t tell a Big Time Auto Journo like me how to drive! He did get his act together and hit 205 mph on the following straightaway. Dyer did not mention what happened after his run but I imagine Bugatti threw him out on his ezra.
Ezra Dyer is a funny and insightful writer and obviously not afraid to admit his screw-ups but I question his editorial judgment and behavior in these two instances. So memo to Automobile: Next time please send Editor-In-Chief Jean Jennings along on such missions. She would have negotiated an additional $1000 discount on the car and would have easily hit 225 mph in the Bugatti. You see, Ms. Jennings is an adult.