By on November 23, 2013


111 articles. I’m a little surprised by that number. Some months ago, when I submitted my snippet to TTAC’s Future Writers’ Contest, I had no real idea that it would lead to a regular place on these hallowed pages. Like a lot of you, I had read TTAC for years and even commented from time to time, but until that contest began I had never thought about becoming a contributor. I am not an industry insider nor do I have any real insight into car design, manufacturing, sales or even repairs. I am just a regular guy who loves cars. Still, I knew I could write and so when the contest came up I thought I would go ahead and send in a piece to see how I stacked up. I’ve always had a way with words and I figured I would win hands down – boy was I wrong about that, I didn’t even win my own day. Still, I received enough votes to get a full try-out and once I got the editors’ email addresses I just kept on sending them stories until they gave me access to the back side of the site. For some reason no one has told me to stop and now, whether you like me or not, you are stuck with me.

With Thanksgiving just a few short days away I’ve been looking back over the past year and thinking about all those things I have to be thankful for. Being able to write for TTAC is high on that list. This is a special place with an incredibly diverse readership. We come from many nations and all walks of life. Some of us have spent our lives designing, building, selling, repairing or recycling cars while others are just getting started. Like all families we speak the truth to each other and sometimes we fight. Some of us don’t really like each other but at the end of the day, though we may go away mad, we always come back. I’m damn proud to be a part of that.


Yesterday when I was going through the many Japanese books on the family bookshelf I came across something that I had forgotten about, a hard backed sales brochure for the 1999 R34 Skyline GTR. Whether or not you can actually read it, it is a beautiful book, with many wonderful photos of a truly awesome car. I thought I might write and tell you all about it, how I received it from a student who was an instructor at Nissan’s Technical College (Nissan Gakuen) and how I have quite literally carried it all around the world for more than a decade. But then I thought, rather than write an article and then return it to its shelf where it will surely be forgotten, why not give it to someone?


And so dear friends, here is your opportunity to own this special bit of history. Of course, to get it, you are going to have to do a little work. In line with the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, click through the past year’s worth of articles and choose your favorites. In your comments, tell us why the article your chose hit-home, what you liked about it. Easy, right? On Thanksgiving Day, in between the parade, dinner and the pumpkin pie, I’ll decide the winner and the book will be mailed to you the following day.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Best and Brightest, friends, Romans, countrymen thank you for giving me your time and attention over this past year. It is my continued pleasure and a true privilege to have the opportunity to write for you each week. Have a wonderful and a safe holiday season.

Thomas Kreutzer currently lives in Buffalo, New York with his wife and three children but has spent most of his adult life overseas. He has lived in Japan for 9 years, Jamaica for 2 and spent almost 5 years as a US Merchant Mariner serving primarily in the Pacific. A long time auto and motorcycle enthusiast, he has pursued his hobbies whenever possible. He also enjoys writing and public speaking where, according to his wife, his favorite subject is himself.

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27 Comments on “Tell Us What You Liked, Maybe Win Something Cool...”

  • avatar
    Felis Concolor

    That’s an easy one for me: the Initial D final manga article, as it not only covered a favorite bit of Japanese pop culture, but the following comments and exchanges were equally entertaining.

    I’ve been quite busy since then, but am still interested in those Rumiko Takahashi posters you mentioned earlier; is there a specific TTAC mailbox I should send a message to?

    • 0 avatar

      This one:

      You can write me at my last name at Just FYI the posters are framed behind glass, I’m not really sure how I could get them to you without them breaking.

    • 0 avatar
      Pete Zaitcev

      That one easily was the winner.

    • 0 avatar

      I would like Rumiko Takahashi posters too, depending on what they are…

      • 0 avatar

        OK, so here’s the real story on the posters. I used to be really into anime (say from around 1986 to 1993 or so) and when I was in the merchant marines, whenever I would hit the beach in Asia I would go looking for a Japanese book store and buy manga, posters, the occasional video and soundtrack CD. I amassed a pretty good collection and, one time when I had a bunch of money in my pocket, I took the posters to a local framing shop and had them dry-mounted and put behind glass like they were fine art.

        Then I got a Japanese girlfriend who told me that only a child molester or freak would hang that kind of shit in their room and she refused to go in there if they were on the wall. Since the bed was in there, the posters came down and went into a closet. They have remained there ever since as every Japanese girl I have ever dated has felt the same way.

        I had hoped that once I had children I might be able to hang the posters in the kids’ rooms but my wife nixed that idea. When we move next year the posters will either get sold in the massive garage sale we will probably have or end up in storage again. I’d rather someone buy and enjoy them and mentioned them in a previous comment. Felis remembered.

        What I have are several anime posters done by Rumiko Takahashi and Kitty productions in the early 90s. Most of them are Ranma 1/2, one is of Lum from Urusei Yatsura and another is from Dirty Pair. Other than Lum in her bathing suit, none of the pictures is even remotely risque. I probably have about 8 or 9 of them now.

        At any rate, with an eye towards our next move, I am looking to downsize and the posters should go. These are nice and I paid a lot back in the day to frame them but I guess I would let them go for around $20 each plus shipping – depending upon how much shipping costs and how many a person buys I think I can adjust the price so $20 is just the start of negotiations. If people are interested I can get the posters out and photo them so you can see just what they are, and then we’ll have to figure out a way to get them to you. Anyone who is serious can email me via the directions above.

        edit – Imgur files for the curious, sick and twisted:,l0hBLgf,fM9yDaJ,jtLbBw0,IziSQUX,sZUBZkG

  • avatar
    Zekele Ibo

    I may be completely alone on this, but the only TTAC article I bookmarked for future reference this year was Jack Baruth’s Avoidable Contact: Torture, forgiveness, meaning.

    It, like, rocked, man.

  • avatar

    I know I’ve said this before but Thomas you have a very genuine, familiar, and friendly writing style. I feel almost if we’re all sitting down at the bar and you’re telling a story, its an enviable gift.

  • avatar

    Definitely like the TK motorcycle articles as not all car guys ride bikes so that angle appealed to me. Lang’s articles are never without giving some sort of useful advice when buying or selling a car. Love Piston Slap and Vellum Venom as well. Jim Sutherland’s articles are interesting as are the some of the historical pieces Ronnie has done. While these are my highlights, the site as a whole is always tops on my surf list.

  • avatar

    Has it really been two years since the Impala Hell Project? Where is the glossy coffee table book?

    I’ve enjoyed many more articles since the reboot, but these were the ones that needed to be sent to somebody.

    Pride Before The Fall – I still can’t think of a response that would measure up to the story.

    Torture, Forgiveness, Meaning – The point that people who struggle to construct a good argument will also struggle to recognize a good argument sent me to lie down for a good while.

    Life With Shelby, Part Two – It’s not just Joycean stream of conscious, it’s Gonzo, neck deep in the experience, not the specifications.

    Capsule Review, Rolls Royce Wraith – Worth it for the writing alone, and has the substance to back up the style.

    Honorable mentions to the RFID Enhanced Driver’s Licenses article and An Immodest Proposal To Solve German Nomenclature.

  • avatar

    Keep ’em coming, Krootser…. :-D

  • avatar

    “Triumph…” that single article took me back to being an auto-crazed youth of 18. My sister had caught the eye of a mild-mannered Special Forces Captain, and his 1986 Porsche 944 caught MY eye. Naturally, in an effort to bolster his chances with my sister, he played (actually, he was really a super-nice guy) the role of “kind big brother/friend” to the hilt and allowed me several spins behind the wheel of that glorious machine. When he’d deploy, which happened frequently and without notice, he’d leave the Guards Red beauty with the family. While my parents wouldn’t allow me to drive it alone, there was the long weekend when they went to visit family and I was left alone…with the Porsche. Yes, shades of “Parents Just Don’t Understand” are playing in the background. I drove the wheels off of that car for four days straight. I was the only bagger at Krogers that pulled into the parking lot driving something other than an Escort…took my GF for numerous long, um, rides in the car and even surprised a few street maintenance workers when I dumped the clutch and left a certain stop sign more sideways than straight. So thanks…thanks for bringing that cherished memory back. We all should have that one guy (or gal) that allows us to do things we probably shouldn’t…:)

  • avatar

    I don’t remember the title but for me it was where Thomas drove his friends cappuccino. There’s something so amusing about a big American dude in a Tiny ass car like that. I’m Asian but I’m 6’4 and even though I’m tall I love small cars. The way Thomas recalled his experiences I felt like I myself would feel driving a kei car I felt like would be similar to my own if I was given a chance. Fat guy in a little coat. And his recent bike story was phenomenal as well even though I have no interest in bikes. But that’s what Thomas does he sucks you in. I don’t give a f about winning a prize but I want Thomas to know he is one of the main reasons for people coming to this site. The way he writes makes you feel like you’re there and it’s awesome.

  • avatar

    I suppose I’d have a better chance if I followed instructions, but I’ve got a toss up. Ward’s “Second” and your “Triumph of the Spirit”. Both were great reads that ended up leaving me happier than I started.

  • avatar

    Thanks for the positive feedback, everyone. I always wonder about some of the story articles because they don’t elicit a lot of comments so seeing that so many of you have mentioned them here feels good.

    Maybe I’ll change the the rules of our contest just a little bit, anyone who responds has an even chance now I’ll just pick the winner out of a hat or something. How does that sound? No use getting too hung up on a specific format…

    I tried looking to see if there are any other books like this around and only found a couple listed on eBay. They were asking around $40 so this is a pretty good deal, I think, and I’m even paying to mail it.

  • avatar

    I’m really digging Steven Lang’s recent Hammer Time posts. I really enjoy learning how that part of the auto business works. :)

    P.S. And Junkyard Finds are always cool.

  • avatar

    I don’t comment often, but I enjoy reading your stories, Thomas. I don’t have a particular article in mind, but I would like to thank you for taking part in that contest and sharing with us your stories. I have not come across one that I did not enjoy reading.

    Thank you.

  • avatar
    Athos Nobile

    Putting the little one to drive the car into the garage was truly great. We can all relate to HotWheels cars.

    My son did it after that article, and doesn’t miss a chance to “drive” the cars while either is sitting on the driveway.

    Keep it up Señor.

    • 0 avatar

      Just knowing you let your little one climb on your lap and drive the car makes me proud I wrote that. I can still remember the feeling of that thin steering wheel in my hands and how I used the chrome strip that ran down the center of the hood like a gunsight. I’m sure that the experience will loom large in your son’s mind for along time to come.

  • avatar

    The one that left a profound impact on me was the Sunday Stories article with the shiny Oldsmobile… Every single time I see a weary hitchhiker I shudder and immediately remember that article.

    This line will stay with me forever, “He didn’t bother to look back, there was more than enough ahead.”

  • avatar

    Alphabet Soup: 4×4 vs AWD vs 4WD

    I know, I know, it’s easily found on the TTAC page header. Seriously though, it answered a lot of questions I had. Keeping it in my back pocket for the next conversation I have with some Z71dieselliftedtruckimitationbeadlockerwheels bro.

    • 0 avatar

      Alex’s stuff is always awesome.

      Another great article was where Jack told us about traction and revisted Keith Code’s “traction is like having a dollar to spend…” metaphore. I’d love to write stuff like that but, you know, I’m a jack of all trades master of none…

  • avatar

    Entries are closed here as well. Stay tuned for a selection while I write all your names down and throw them into a hat.

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