By on January 31, 2011

Our not-quite-colleagues at AutoWeek are between a rock and a hard place nowadays. Back in the dinosaur days of the biz, subscribing to AW made sense. The writing was usually auto-weak, and there wasn’t much insight to be found in the reviews, but it was far more timely than the rest of the color rags. If you wanted up-to-date news on the auto shows, the press-preview events, and European rallies, there was only one magazine with the goods.

Needless to say, the Mandel clan’s rather cozy little empire ran into an Outside Context Problem when the World Wide Web arrived on their shores, chock-full of Jalopniks, Autoblogs, and TTACs. I can’t think of any reason to subscribe to AutoWeek, and judging by the increasing desperation with which they are soliciting me as a subscriber, neither can anyone else.

How, then, can Dutch and company keep the lights on at AW headquarters? I dunno… how about renting press cars?

It’s the adrenaline-pumping chance of a lifetime! No, I’m not talking about BASE-jumping off the Petronas Towers, hunting the Cape Buffalo with a five-shot revolver, or pulling a quick “Julian Assange” on Zhang Ziyi. This is way better. For the low, low price of TWO THOUSAND DOLLARS, you and nineteen other suckers people will have a chance to

test-drive the latest sporty coupes that cost less than $50,000

What are we talking about here? BMW 328i? Mustang GT? 370Z? Kia Forte? Participants will also receive

  • A welcome cocktail reception. (Since the magazine is paying, not a manufacturer, I suspect the only Goose to be seen will be flying over your head and dispensing a stream of liquid waste).
  • A full day of driving and vehicle evaluation at the Ford Dearborn Development Center, followed by a special closing dinner. (A trackday, in other words, on a small track.)
  • Accomodations at the historic Dearborn Inn. (Which is not exactly the Ritz, trust me.)
  • Something something Chip Foose. (I’d skip that, were I you.)
  • An opportunity to chat with your favorite AW editors. (Unless Denise McCluggage is there, this will strongly resemble meeting all the people you used to beat up in high school, after they got fat.)
  • Complimentary tickets to the Henry Ford Museum. (That’s gotta be worth ten bucks.)

The total take from the catastrophe is apparently about forty grand, so it’s a safe bet that AutoWeek will be keeping the expenses low. That means they’ll probably be (mis)using press cars. I thought that I’d kind of set the gold standard for misusing press cars when I all but impregnated a fellow journo’s wife in the driver’s seat of one of the latest sporty sedans that cost less than about $67,000, (and you really haven’t lived until you’ve watched a woman give herself a mild concussion on an Alcantara headliner) but I never ever considered what I could get if I rented someone else’s stuff. Stop by my house this week. For two thousand dollars, you can experience one of the latest Dodge trucks that cost under $25,000. My neighbors just bought it, and they are out of town this week.

Alternately, if you are looking for an actual car-guy/gal experience for this kind of money, here are several much better choices:

  • Two days at Mid-Ohio with an Acura TSX, $1,450 from the Mid-O School.
  • Skip Barber “Intro To Road Racing”, $699 at several tracks
  • Two days in a Ferrari F355 from performancerentals.us, $2009
  • Putting all the money in a pile, setting it on fire, and watching “Le Mans” on a very small television screen.

If I haven’t dissuaded you from wasting your cheddar, you can register at www.autoweek.com/fantasycamp. Better hurry. There’s, uh, some guy who said he was gonna do it, and he might, uh, get there before you.

What? You’re still here? Then let’s watch one of my favorite scenes from Menace To Society. In this scene, my personal role model, O-Dog, gets a free cheeseburger. Warning: if you’re lucky enough to have a job in this economy, you will lose it just by clicking the “Play” button. Contains explicit language and hilarious violence.

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27 Comments on “If We’ll Do THIS for Forty Grand, Imagine What We’ll Do For A Cheeseburger...”


  • avatar

    This idea has legs, Jack. For $2000 a head I will definitely give a group of The Best and Brightest an opportunity to test drive the finest examples of Panther+Fox+MN-12 Ford Love at Houston’s MSR roadcourse.  Daddy needs cash for new motors all around.

    • 0 avatar
      86er

      Do fellow Panther owners get a discount?  A, oh I don’t know, $2000 discount? 

      I think my ’92 would fit in nicely in Tejas.  My outlaws tell me there’s plenty of them down there.

    • 0 avatar

      There are…and you should. I only visit Canada when I want to see my relatives and enjoy a winter wonderland for Christmas. That, and coffee crisp.
      I’ll trade you some Texas Panthers for Coffee Crisp at our grocery stores!

  • avatar

    I’d send ten bucks toward Baruth’s entry, just to read the aftermath story…

  • avatar
    twotone

    Add the Curbside Classics to the list and I’m in!

  • avatar
    stryker1

    “O-Dog, gets a free cheeseburger”
    Feel good film of the century.

  • avatar
    Jimal

    Shoot, for $1700 you can skip the snow, head down to Sebring and spend the day in the sun thrashing Lotuses (Exige and Evora), V8 M3’s, Lexus IS Fs and a smattering of Porsches at the Skip Barber High Performance Driving School.

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      Or a whale of a lot less by just going to Florida for a long weekend and relaxing on the beach to get a respite from the lousy weather up north, not to mention thrashing your rental Aveo when you get stuck on the Clearwater beach round-a-bout!

  • avatar
    KalapanaBlack

    Something something Chip Foose. (I’d skip that, were I you.)

    This cracked me up. Not only is it a hilarious Family Guy/Star Wars reference, but it’s also such an apt description of the walking sell-out known as Chip Foose.

    Also, good lord does AW suck these days. The magazine was always questionable (I grew up in the Internet Age), but at least for awhile they had a decent thing going with their Combustion Chamber forums, which I’m sure quite a few of the posters on here experienced. Of course, about three years ago, they completely ruined those…

    • 0 avatar
      86er

      Chip Foose, Chip Foose…

      Oh yes, he’s the fellow that ruined a bunch of perfectly serviceable two-wheel drive GMCs and Ford half-tons at my local dealership(s) with two thousand dollar rapper rims and two dollar badge on the fender.

    • 0 avatar

      Why all the hate on Chip? I wish I could sell my name as effectively as he sells his. For a designer not employed by a car company, he’s not that bad. Certainly better than whoever designs those import tuner body kits.

    • 0 avatar
      86er

      Now that I think about it some more, I think it was Boyd Coddington who mutilated all those trucks…  I stand corrected, but I stand by my slur!  :)

  • avatar
    z3kerivn

    You better hurry for this “second annual, chance of a lifetime”.

  • avatar
    photog02

    I subscribe to AutoWeek. Well, more accurately put, I “scored” a free subscription to AutoWeek. Much the same as I got free subscriptions to MotorTrend and C&D. I don’t really have a problem with any of the magazines but, on the other hand, I don’t read them either. I flip through them the day they arrive and then leave them in the magazine trading pile at the local library. By the time they get something published it has made it out of the blog publication cycle and I have started trusting the internet (seriously!) more than printed media.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadInSideInc

      And you hit the nail on the head as to why I dumped my print mag subscriptions years ago. They’re behind the curve and have no interactivity, further content, etc….
      Plus my childhood wonder of pouring over R&Ts ‘Ampersand’ is gone. Saw it months earlier. Some memories are too precious to ruin.

  • avatar

    Do a $200 TTAC fantasy camp at NAIAS which involves dinner at Slow’s, drinks at the Pink Palace and Baruth donuts in the Panther.

  • avatar
    TomH

    My one complaint with the article is that the Dearborn Inn is actually a much nicer hotel that the Dearborn Ritz.
    BTW…
    Those of you who aren’t old enough to remember the pre-AW days of the Competition Press may not realize that the Anti-AW sentiment has been going on for decades.

  • avatar
    xyzzy

    When I first started following TTAC a few years ago, it seemed that Farago’s AW subscription was the main source of scoops. I remember a lot of stories that quoted AW.  Haven’t seen any in a while though, maybe Farago took his subscription with him.

  • avatar
    Advance_92

    No car magazine is what it was ten years ago; visiting my magazine hording parents over Christmas reminded me of that.  I was looking through old copies of Auto Week Sport Compact Car and Car and Driver from the mid/late 90s and they’re all twice or three times thicker than today (or in SCC’s case than the last years of printing).
    But that’s nothing compared to a stack of used Motor Sport magazines (UK) from the early70s I found at a used book store a few years ago.  There the writers were naming and berating the company reps that were providing loaner cars when anything was wrong with the vehicle.  Sometimes even if some other journalist was given the car first.  Plenty personal jabs at drivers (Stewart and Lauda), teams and organizers.  They pretty much had Ecclestone and Mosley’s direction of F1 pegged in 1977.  Every article was pretty free with opinions and analysis, though it was generally focused on the sport or a particular issue and not as broadly political as things sometimes get these days.

  • avatar

    I enjoyed my AW subscription mostly for the not-yet-out-of-date racing reporting more than anything else. Once they became Auto-Bi-Weekly, that rationale went out the window and I let my subscription lapse. At the time, I thought their theory that moving to glossier covers would make up for halving the frequency of the publication was a steaming load. Apparently it was.
    Every once in awhile, I think about looking to them for their racing coverage, but usually end up checking speed.com or ESPN’s F1 coverage instead.

  • avatar

    Complimentary tickets to the Henry Ford Museum. (That’s gotta be worth ten bucks.)
    The Ford museum is one of America’s great treasures, though right now not all of their cars are out on display since they’re doing some construction work.  But it’s always worth a visit to the museum. If you go to Cars In Depth, I put up some 3D that I shot at the museum of the Lotus 38 Indy winning car and of the presidential limos.

    • 0 avatar
      Kevin Jaeger

      I agree the Ford Museum is awesome.  I made the trip a few weeks ago and it’s a must-see for any gearhead.

      It’s not quite as good as the massive theme park in Wolfsburg, but it is certainly a first rate destination.

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      If only we could get that massive LIMA Locomotive Works engine in the musem out on a train track somewhere… THAT would be the chance of a lifetime. 

  • avatar
    mnm4ever

    I love Jack’s articles… he always puts in something personal to really allow us to connect with him:  “all but inpregnated a fellow journo’s wife…”  I love it!!

    But seriously, I have an Autoweek sub, only because they sent it to me free.  Its total crap.  Literally, thats why I get it, to read when I crap.  Thats all its worth.  They spend most of the issues advertising thier “iPad electronic magazine” for the tools who actually spend money to read web content on thier $800 giant MyFirst iPhone.  Sure, thats gonna take off.  Anyways, I read about that “Fantasy Camp” last year and thought, what a crock.  But sure enough, it sold out within 5 minutes, whoever emailed them first got in.  What a bunch of idiot readers.

    You guys are seriously missing out.  Could you even imagine what kind of crazy sh-t Jack could put together for $2000 grand each from some of his wealthy fans???

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    when I all but impregnated a fellow journo’s wife in the driver’s seat of one of the latest sporty sedans that cost less than about $67,000, (and you really haven’t lived until you’ve watched a woman give herself a mild concussion on an Alcantara headliner)

    I always laugh my a$$ off if some guy gets upset about that.  The two most likely problems are 1.) She’s a whore or 2.) You took her for granted and aren’t paying attention to her anymore.  Either way, Jack isn’t the source of your problem.  (Which is why I stay fit, stay supportive, and pay much more attention to her than just nodding my head occasionally and saying “uh huh” during coversations.)  It’s amazing what treating a woman like a she really really matters to you (which mine does) will get you. 

    Although honestly Jack, acting like that is likely more dangerous than driving the way you do and using your iPad at the same time. 

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