When I first joined The Truth About Cars in April of 2015, I made it my mission to catch up on TTAC’s illustrious history. I marked a date in my calendar: November 14th, the date of TTAC’s first published post, which makes today TTAC’s 15th anniversary.
TTAC has done a lot in 15 years. It’s offered up honest, informative, and entertaining reviews, which many in the industry still describe as “brutal” — a descriptor we wear with pride. We’ve kept an eye on the Detroit Three before, during, and after the massive bankruptcies of General Motors and Chrysler. We’ve kept Silicon Valley and government honest. And we’ve launched the careers of some of the industry’s most trusted critics (and others who completely sold out — you can’t hit a homerun every time you step up to the plate).
It’s easy to look back on 15 years of history with a romantic view, but it’s infinitely more difficult to predict and anticipate the future.
That’s why I come before you today.
The author of the most famous — and controversial — book ever penned about the automotive industry turns 82 today.
Automobile safety crusader Ralph Nader probably wouldn’t have made it to this ripe old age if the industry hadn’t made design changes and undergone cultural reforms in the wake of his scathing 1965 publication “Unsafe at Any Speed.”
That book, which laid bare design flaws and the general lack of regard for safety during the then-Big Three’s heyday, ultimately sunk the innovative ‘swing axle’ Chevrolet Corvair — or as Nader called it, “The One-Car Accident.”
Reading the book “Winning: The Racing Life Of Paul Newman” last night, I realized that there were several connections between Paul and today’s featured Curbside Classic. Newman raced Zs successfully for the Bob Sharp team in the seventies, having started his career in a Datsun 510. And they’re both celebrating birthdays: The Z arrived in the US forty years ago, and Newman would have been 85 today, had he not passed away last year. I’ve praised the coming and eulogized the passing of the 240Z in the CC, but I’d like to give a moment’s tribute to my life hero: