Meet Frank Williams

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

Frank Williams came to TTAC's attention after he cc'ed us on an email to Car & Driver. The long time C&D reader was all het up about Brock Yate's summary execution– I mean, dismissal. Reading Williams' take-no-prisoners diatribe against the banal buff book, I immediately recognized Frank as a kindred spirit: a car guy with fire in his belly and an itchy keyboard. Since his TTAC debut, Frank's gone on to become one of our most prolific and entertaining talents. Today's anti-nostalgic deconstruction of a 70's icon offers yet more proof that the net is giving voice to a whole new generation of automotive writing talent– even if it's not exactly a younger generation. And speaking of voice, here's Frank's…

Robert Farago
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  • Terry Parkhurst Terry Parkhurst on Jul 13, 2006

    As for Car and Driver, whenever a publication gets more concerned with advertising revenue, than good writing, it is going to go downhill. Many people feel that David E. Davis "saved" Car and Driver; personally, I think he started its slide, many years ago, by focusing too much on getting on Detroit's good side, rather than focusing on good writing. The best C/Ds were when Leon Mandel was editor; and Brock Yates worked side-by-side with him. Now that Brock has been jetisoned, it remains for a new generation of writers to try to take the magazine forward. But here's the deal: they don't really care about the printed magazine. They just hired three new editors for the web edition. And many of those of us who subscribe have gotten queries asking us first, if we knew that the entire magazine is now on-line, and second, if we would pay to (simply) get the magazine delivered to our e-mail boxes. (That way, Hachette-Fillipachi can save money on USPS delivery and printing costs.) So yes, TTAC and other web sites have gotten noticed, because H-F can see that the competition is coming from the Internet. But hardly any Internet sites pay writers enough to get the best. Writers have bills, girlfriends (wives?), boyfriends, lovers, companion animals, rent and mortgages to pay. The best writers want to do it - writing that is - all the time. What makes a person a good writer, also makes them poor performers at other jobs. (That observation came from the writing of the late Hunter S. Thompson and he was one hundred percent correct.) But the key thing is people who put together web sites - not the Farago family but dimbulbs such as and Edmunds - need to understand what truly good writing is and stop calling it by that soul-less name of "content." I stood next to two Internet empty suits at an Independence Day picnic, two weeks ago, and heard one of them discussing "the importance of content." I resisted the urge to turn to him and tell him, "It's writing, you moron. And you wouldn't likely know good writing if it came up and bit you on the ass!" Same as it ever was.

  • Frank Williams Frank Williams on Jul 13, 2006

    To me, the piece that personified the "classic" C&D attitude was their road test of the Opel Kadette wagon in, if memory serves me, February 1968. In their review they described it as "a never-ending stream of the third-rate and the underdone, a rolling potpourri of mediocrity." They openly said the car was junk, and to drive home their point all of the photos of the car that accompanied the article were taken in a junk yard and shot in B&W. This was their "flying vagina" moment. It pissed off GM and they pulled all their ads from C&D and every other mag published by the parent company. You sure wouldn't find C&D (or hardly any other print magazine) taking a stance like that today!

  • Frank Williams Frank Williams on Jul 13, 2006

    Wait a minute, Terry... did you say some internet sites pay their writers????

  • Jonny Lieberman Jonny Lieberman on Jul 13, 2006

    Uh oh....