What's Next At TTAC

whats next at ttac

People often talk about particular events being seared into their minds: Pearl Harbor, JFK’s assassination, 9/11…I remember the first time I ever read an article by Jack Baruth.

It was 2009, and I was sitting in the living room of my parents’ house, on summer break from college, working a menial job as a receiver on a loading dock. I had the day off, somehow, I found myself on Speed:Sport:Life, reading Avoidable Contact Rich Corinthian Swaybars. No writer had ever been able to weave so many different threads, concurrently drawing out each part into a cohesive narrative that explained the sociology of the automobile, in the most elegant prose I had seen in any automotive publication. My life was never the same again.

In the days that followed, I managed to get in touch with Jack, finally meeting him at the 2010 edition of the Detroit Auto Show. I failed to heed his advice about making this my full time job, and before I was even studying for my finals, I had a full-time auto journalism gig lined up. By the time I joined TTAC in January of 2012, Jack had become a trusted friend and mentor, someone who has been able to help me hone my voice and professional decorum as well as helping me navigate the challenges that come with learning to be an adult and a mensch in my personal life as well. Jack has shown me how to respond to criticism with magnanimity and how to remain principled and ethical in an environment that frequently tests both.

Of all the lessons Jack taught me, none has been stressed more than his words to me on the first day of our rescue mission: “your responsibility is to the readers.”

I’m cognizant of the responsibility being placed upon me. I have never so much as spoken to Robert Farago, but I intend to keep alive his legacy, by reporting The TRUTH About Cars, no matter what it may cost us in financial resources or “access”, the great stick that the auto makers use to keep journalists “on-message”.

Meanwhile, I will strive to keep learning as much as I can about the design, engineering, manufacturing, wholesale and retail sides of the business, building on the lessons taught to me by Ed, Bertel and Jack. I will be bringing in some new faces, like Prof Mike Smitka, Timothy Cain and other former and current industry authorities, to help our coverage of the automotive world, but nobody is being shown the door. We will return to our roots as a site focused on the auto industry, but we will not turn our back on the Junkyard Finds, Piston Slaps, Vellum Venoms, crapcan racing and everything else that has made TTAC what it is.

It is a privilege to have your readership, day in, day out. I will continue, as Cormac McCarthy put it, to “carry the fire”. It still burns white hot within me. I hope you can all see it.

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  • Bob Roberts Bob Roberts on Aug 02, 2014

    The topic of editing that has come up in these comments reminds me of an epic thread that Mr Baruth started on another website a few years back where he openly edited a story from Motive Magazine and invited the community to comment. There were a lot of strong opinions on both sides. The people from Motive were a bit ruffled by this, but it was one of the best (and most memorable) threads on that site, and by the third page, everyone was using words from the thesaurus. The point Mr Baruth was making, if I remember, was that traditional print magazines (properly edited) are in danger of being forced out of business by internet efforts where standards aren't applied in the same way. If that happens, internet articles should go through the ringer like print articles do. Standards should be applied no matter the medium. Classic

  • Scuzimi Scuzimi on Aug 02, 2014

    Good lord, what's all the fuss about...? Yada, Yada, Yada! Get on with it.

  • Dennis Howerton Nice article, Cory. Makes me wish I had bought Festivas when they were being produced. Kia made them until the line was discontinued, but Kia evidently used some of the technology to make the Rio. Pictures of the interior look a lot like my Rio's interior, and the 1.5 liter engine is from Mazda while Ford made the automatic transmission in the used 2002 Rio I've been driving since 2006. I might add the Rio is also an excellent subcompact people mover.
  • Sgeffe Bronco looks with JLR “reliability!”What’s not to like?!
  • FreedMike Back in the '70s, the one thing keeping consumers from buying more Datsuns was styling - these guys were bringing over some of the ugliest product imaginable. Remember the F10? As hard as I try to blot that rolling aberration from my memory, it comes back. So the name change to Nissan made sense, and happened right as they started bringing over good-looking product (like the Maxima that will be featured in this series). They made a pretty clean break.
  • Flowerplough Liability - Autonomous vehicles must be programmed to make life-ending decisions, and who wants to risk that? Hit the moose or dive into the steep grassy ditch? Ram the sudden pile up that is occurring mere feet in front of the bumper or scan the oncoming lane and swing left? Ram the rogue machine that suddenly swung into my lane, head on, or hop up onto the sidewalk and maybe bump a pedestrian? With no driver involved, Ford/Volkswagen or GM or whomever will bear full responsibility and, in America, be ambulance-chaser sued into bankruptcy and extinction in well under a decade. Or maybe the yuge corporations will get special, good-faith, immunity laws, nation-wide? Yeah, that's the ticket.
  • FreedMike It's not that consumers wouldn't want this tech in theory - I think they would. Honestly, the idea of a car that can take over the truly tedious driving stuff that drives me bonkers - like sitting in traffic - appeals to me. But there's no way I'd put my property and my life in the hands of tech that's clearly not ready for prime time, and neither would the majority of other drivers. If they want this tech to sell, they need to get it right.