If We'll Do THIS for Forty Grand, Imagine What We'll Do For A Cheeseburger

Jack Baruth
by Jack Baruth
if well do this for forty grand imagine what well do for a cheeseburger

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 [s]suckers[/s] 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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2 of 27 comments
  • Mnm4ever Mnm4ever on Jan 31, 2011

    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???

  • PrincipalDan PrincipalDan on Jan 31, 2011
    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.

  • Bobbysirhan I'd like to look at all of the numbers. The eager sheep don't seem too upset about the $1,800 delta over home charging, suggesting that the total cost is truly obscene. Even spending Biden bucks, I don't need $1,800 of them to buy enough gasoline to cover 15,000 miles a year. Aren't expensive EVs supposed to make up for their initial expense, planet raping resource requirements, and the child slaves in the cobalt mines by saving money on energy? Stupid is as stupid does.
  • Slavuta Civic EX - very competent car. I hate the fact of CVT and small turbo+DI. But it is a good car. Good rear seat. Fix the steering and keep goingBut WRX is just a different planet.
  • SPPPP This rings oh so very hollow. To me, it sounds like the powers that be at Ford don't know which end is up, and therefore had to invent a new corporate position to serve as "bad guy" for layoffs and eventual scapegoat if (when) the quality problems continue.
  • Art Vandelay Tasos eats $#!t and puffs peters
  • Kwik_Shift Imagine having trying to prove that the temporary loss of steering contributed to your plunging off a cliff or careening through a schoolyard?