By on October 22, 2012

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.


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15 Comments on “Tales From The Cooler: Buff Book Boy Beaten By Dealer, Booed By Bugatti...”

  • avatar

    I’ve read his columns before and if I recall the vehicle was a Lincoln MKT EcoBoost. I wouldn’t be surprised if he hasn’t purchased many new cars before…

    • 0 avatar
      Rental Man

      IIRC he had a used M3 at one point and a Mitsubishi Outlander that might have been new. I like the article as there are lot’s of dealerships that respect you as a human and do not force you to do or buy anything. Ezra just didn’t visit one. The rest of us can easily find those better dealerships.

  • avatar

    I can’t walk out of a big box store without the cashier offering me an extended warranty on my Snicker bar.

  • avatar

    when did this site get so….. bitter?

    • 0 avatar

      Feb 17, 2002, as close as I can figure.

    • 0 avatar

      Ever since they stopped getting invited to the all-expense paid press trips in Italy, which, so far as I can tell, happened somtimw between 2002 and “the flying vagina” debacle. (

      Perhaps extremely, unwavering skepticism?

    • 0 avatar

      So true. Another terrible TTAC “story” where all they do is gripe about legitimate journalism. Using Automobile magazine as a platform to settle a petty gripe about one salesman to call out an entire dealership would be something TTAC know a lot about, unprofessional,. Ezra Dyer is hilarious, and informative. He has more talent than all of the TTAC writers combined.

      • 0 avatar

        “Ezra Dyer is hilarious, and informative. He has more talent than all of the TTAC writers combined.”

        This X 1,000!

        Why they didn’t grab him for Top Gear US I’ll never understand.

      • 0 avatar

        Precisely. The story of how Dyer got into auto journalism is interesting on its own, and I can’t help but think that there’s some jealousy coming from some who write for this site about the fact that got in the hard way but is now “living the dream.”

        Let’s face it, no one goes into writing for automotive publications to get rich. While the urge to thumb your noses at advertisers and tell what you see as “the truth about cars,” all too often, this site is filled with screeds about fellow auto journalists you see as less than worthy, and puzzling articles about why you banned this or that commenter.

        I do think it’s telling that very few of the people you call out on this site bother to respond in kind. I don’t think even Jalopnik bothers to mention this site.

        I come here for the reviews, which are excellent, but way too few and far between. I don’t know how you pay your writers but it seems to me that if they do get paid for their writing, that you could afford to chop 80%+ of the crap so as to afford to rent some cars and put some gas in them, or however it is you get a hold of cars to review here.

  • avatar

    Dyer deserved to get razzed for endangering the life of his passenger by not following the specific safety instructions of an expert. I can see why someone would comment on that.

    Dyer’s column about the typically awful experience people have when buying a car was spot on. He’s got as much right to complain as anyone – what the heck does TTAC care? Are you annoyed that someone who doesn’t work for TTAC actually told the truth? Is this bizarro day at TTAC?

    TTAC has an annoying habit of making a public spectacle of the petty, inconsequential politicking between auto journos. I suppose the next article will be a brag about winning a sissy slap fight with someone from R&T? Embarrassing.

  • avatar

    The reason why you rarely see major news networks get into public slap fights is that it diminishes the standing of all involved. There are exceptions in cases where ethical or criminal misconduct or even extreme incompetence at other news outlets are reported. However, this is rare as such criticism is often perceived as thin skinned and petty. Since this generally applies to all branches of the news business I would urge TTAC to exercise editorial restraint in all but the most egregious cases of your fellow journalist’s failings.

  • avatar

    The late D.E.D. had a more appropriate description for Ms. Jennings than “ADULT” and unfortunately it’s not printable.

    • 0 avatar

      What happened to those two? I saw them together not too long before the split at a restaurant, and they seemed to be having a good time. I know it got ugly towards the end..

  • avatar

    wow Virgil… who’s having the slow news month?

    I subscribe to google alerts for Ezra & instead of getting another great piece by a talented journalist, I end up here, with a slam piece from an automotive journalist who critiques people (not that well, either) rather than autos. stick to what you know (or is that a reach too?).

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