By on January 27, 2013

The commenters already thanked the Saturday team of contestants for their great work. Let’s thank them again. It was good – at least most of it. Today, we announce Saturday’s winners. We also present a new batch of contestants. Then, we will take a break. But first, Saturday’s winners.

Please give it up for:

  • Keith Kostecke, a.k.a. contestant #39
  • Derek Young, a.k.a. contestant #41
  • Michael Stephenson, a.k.a. contestant #36

TTAC applauds thee. Those who have not won: Don’t despair; there is always a chance to make Editor’s Choice. We announced one editor’s choice yesterday, and we will announce more  next week when we wrap up TTAC’s Future Writers Week for a while. As announced, we will present you  more  contestants during the course of the coming weeks and months, but we won’t do it every day.

Before we do that, let me present you today’s – and for the time being last – batch of contestants.


The TTAC Future Writers – Sunday Contestants

The rules of engagement, listed below, remain the same as yesterday. Keep in mind, the writing examples are presented here in the same order as they arrived in my mailbox. They are shown unedited, unproof-read, as-is. If no writing examples were sent, despite the fact that they were requested, snippets from the emails were used instead.


Contestant 43 writes:

“I don’t like people, but I like cars. A machine seems simple, elegant, sometimes beautiful. Sleek body lines lead to enticingly sculpted rear fenders, making some objects of sexual desire. She (or maybe he) will go as far as you want on the first date (considering you’re buying), and putting on the aggressive moves just enhances the fun. It’s a delightful thought loving cars instead of people: no talking, no nagging, and you can just be yourself. Or can you?”


Contestant 44 writes:

The shifter knobs were gone. Which means that someone at some point realized that they were being stolen. It was the first day of the Phoenix Auto Show in downtown Phoenix. Great weather but no one would be there because it was Thanksgiving Day. A day for football and family and turkey. There were 500 cars. All brand new. You were allowed to sit inside every car. The advertisements said that there would be no ”selling”. But everyone knew that the salesmen would be there. How could they not be there when 100,000 buyers were going to be in that place. The ads were right. No salesmen. No selling. Just a few of the manufacturers’ employees to answer questions; and that’s all they did. No sales pitches. Just smiles.”


Contestant 45 writes:

  As I started approaching 200K in the Accord, I decided that would be the magic number that would trigger my hunt for a new car. During the few months leading up to the rolling of the odo, I ruled out – or should I say gas prices ruled out – anything that didn’t get at least the average 23 MPG that I was getting during my commute to and fro the workplace. While I’m not a total Honda fanboy, I was quite satisfied with the low cost of ownership I experienced with the Accord, and also with the 2007 CR-V sitting next to it in the garage. Because of this, I thought for sure my next car would be another Accord EX, but this time not in the never-can-keep-it-looking-clean-for-more-than-five-minutes black color that I suffered with for all of these years.

Contestant 46 writes:

Riley was my college buddy who was gawky, stuttered, had bad teeth, and a haircut I could really only describe as a Starter Afro, which was weird because Riley was white and from Maine. And yet, to his friends’ continued amazement, Riley always got tons of girls – I mean they were all over him. Equally amazing, I remember thinking, was his choice of car: a 15-year-old 1987 5-speed 318is. Sure, the car looked pretty cool, in an ironic-homage-to-Gordon-Gekko kind of way, but for what he paid for it, there were surely better cars for braving the treacherous hills and thruways of wintertime central New York state. “


Contestant 47 writes:

I bought my Civic two years ago from a family member who bought it new way back in 1993. The car now has over 350,000 km on it, so I expected that it would require some repairs. But it hasn’t required much work. I have changed the starter, battery, and several coolant hoses, but nothing major – yet. In August of last year, I took the car to the nearest AirCare center for its bi-annual emissions test. It failed – high NOx reading. Shazbut. I had already checked everything on the car that I knew to check before the test. The engine doesn’t burn oil, the spark plugs were clean, and the timing was bang-on. I turned to the internet for help.


Contestant 48 writes:

“The bogan: A racist Australian male commonly seen dressed in black jeans, a Jack Daniels singlet and a pair of blacked out sunglasses. What makes a bogan though is his car. He will often have three cars, one functioning car in the garage and the other two that he’ll eventually get around to doing up. One will be on the front lawn, and the other in the backyard. They tend to be part on two camps, Ford or Holden. They will get together each year on a weekend in October to drink ”piss” (beer) and play Metallica as high as their cheap Aftermarket speakers can handle. This cocktail of alcohol and rivalry often leads to a brawl.


Contestant 49 writes:

“Isn’t that covered under warranty?” Whenever this question was asked, there were two possibilities as to its origin. 1) The customer is trying to get something for nothing, or 2) The customer is dumber than they are stupid. As I learned as a service advisor, neither was the kind of person I wanted to deal with. I was at our company’s Saturn-SAAB dealership with some of the best people in the business. I was lucky enough that not only was the owner one of the best men I’ve ever met, he genuinely cared about his staff and his customers. We were always told to do whatever we had to do to keep the customers happy, because customer service is what built businesses.



Above are today’s contestants. Pick them carefully. The top ones will be around for a long time. Here are the Rules of Engagement:

  • You are presented with a set of seven writing examples. Their authors haven been carefully anonymized. They have a number instead.
  • The top three out of each set of seven receive an entry permit into the rarefied world of TTAC writers. Those who don’t make the grade and who fail in front of our jury will be sold into white slavery, or worse, recommended for the morning shift at Jalopnik. (Inciting voter apathy could mean that all contestants are sold off, we want and keep the winners.)
  • The snippets come in the exact order they landed in my mailbox.
  • The snippets have been chosen by me, in a very subjective way: By looking quickly at the story, and by picking what stands out.
  • You have two votes for each day. Both votes have equal weight. You may not vote more than once per day and set of contestants. Don’t throw away your votes!
  • The vote for each set runs until the second set appears. That’s typically for around 24 hours. Vote now, do not procrastinate. Voting for the last set stops when I say so, also typically 24 hours after the last set goes up.


And now,let’s go to the polls!

(No hanging chads. Don’t mail or phone it in. Read snippets before voting. Vote now.)

Remember: You have TWO votes. Place your bets.

This poll has been removed.

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21 Comments on “It’s Sunday. Definitely Last Day Of TTAC’s Future Writers Week...”

  • avatar

    49 because I would love to hear regular input from a man who was unlucky enough to work at a Saab/Saturn dealership. I mean what did he do before that? Oldsmobile mechanic? Did he follow up his Saab/Saturn experience by switching to Suzuki?

    • 0 avatar

      …and he traded his Vega for a Fiat X1/9, and that for a Ford Aerostar?

      • 0 avatar

        If memory serves me right, our local chain of Saturn-SAAB dealerships used to be Saturn-SAAB-Isuzu. And before that, they sold a line of GM Passport-branded vehicle, which was a short lived endevour by GM to sell captive imports under the “Passport” name in the late 80s and early 90s. Clearly, they were the agents of the automotive grim reaper…

  • avatar

    Hm, although I sent you my stuff half a year ago (tried several times on different e-mails, communicated about it with Derek for some time before he stopped getting my e-mails), sent you a properly marked question if you get those in the first or second day of the run, and then re-sent it twice (first time was very early into the run, I think you mentioned you had 22 entrants at the moment), I still didn’t make it into the 49, neither did I get response to the tune of “it’s not worth shit, we don’t want it”.

    What shall I do to get a response from you?

  • avatar

    None of the above.

  • avatar

    Every entry so far has been entertaining in some form or fashion, each bringing a different facet, aspect or perspective to this buffet of written delights.

    I wish I could vote for all of them, but I did pick the two that compelled me to read them twice.

  • avatar

    I like 46, 43 and 49 today. I hope that 43 will get into top 3 by the end of the voting.

  • avatar

    Missed yesterday’s round of winner by one vote. How disappointing. :)

    Still, yesterday was a good day – kudos to the winners.

    This is a reasonable round too.

  • avatar

    Another good batch. Thanks to all brave enough to send a sample.

    Bertel, a suggestion: how about requiring the winners to write one car review for each story they want to write about?
    I enjoy the stories regularly published here at TTAC but also enjoy the car reviews, specially when done with the rigueur that Alex and Michael do it. Most entries in this contest were stories, which is fine, but this idea would bring more balance to the site’s content after the winners start producing full articles.

  • avatar
    Michael S.

    Thanks to those of you who voted for me (#36). Perhaps this opportunity will give me the chance to drive something I don’t hate with every fiber of my being…

  • avatar

    Ah nuts, looks like my entry was too late.

    I hope one of these days that it ends up on the site, just to offer some input on those old unloved GM E-Bodys. The 80’s FF bof coupes that’re always overshadowed by B-bodies and GMs midsized line up of the time.

    Oh well, cheers to a new era of TTAC with fresh insights into the world of cars.

    • 0 avatar

      If your luck is anything like mine, all the cars you love will be featured in Junkyard Finds soon. Then you can express your love for them in the form of a tirade when everyone tries to cut them down.

      “Nothing says love like a tirade.” – I ought to sell that to Hallmark.

      • 0 avatar

        Funny you should say that, the E-body that I reviewed was scrapped a few weeks later on.

        I wanted to love it, but after looking at it and several other E-Bodies I can’t love cars that’re so cheaply made with so many cheap materials.

        Despite this, I’d still take it over the stupid downsized models that came later.

      • 0 avatar

        Just about every car I’ve owned, and a couple I lusted after, has already made it into Junkyard Finds. The only two owned cars to escape (so far) are the first year ’66 Olds Toronado and my first-generation (1995) Altima, the first because it’s too old to show up in a junkyard now, and too rare, the second, I expect to see any day now. The two lusted cars I haven’t seen are the ’63 Riviera and the first year ’67 Eldorado, the first of which is a classic not likely to turn up in a junkyard, and the second produced in too few numbers, too long ago. Talk about feeling old, but when the first half dozen cars you’ve owned were built before 1970 and they were late-model used at the time, it’s not just a feeling.

    • 0 avatar

      Personally I love the E-body’s from inception until 1985 when they switched over to the tiny on the outside versions. (With the exception of the Eldorado, as soon as the 4100 V8 appeared you couldn’t GIVE me an Eldorado.)

  • avatar

    Once again, I see an influence of the position of the entry on the voting results. The guys at the top are getting more votes.

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