Car and Driver, Road no Track

posted in: Online Around the Net | 0

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When we had lunch yesterday at the Dam Site Inn in Hell, Michigan the waitress asked,

“So you guys test drive cars?”

“Yes. It’s a living,” replied Aaron Robinson, Executive Editor of Car and Driver and my host for the day.

“How come you guys don’t do it on a track, like at Chelsea Proving Grounds?” she retorted.

In an assembled choir of perplexity Ezra, Tony, Jared, KC and Aaron, the C&D writer make up of our table totaling six of the eleven people eating in the joint, said: “yeah, that’s a good question. Not sure about, we often ask ourselves, well the roads offer… but the track is…” I’m not sure if I ever understood the answer but it didn’t matter. The Holy Mess burger was yums going down and most likely clogged blood flow through body and brain blocking conscious thought, an easy sacrifice.

The roads west of Ann Arbor were a flame with all the cars up for their 10 Best issue. This was the week they drove, vetted and voted. This was the week out of town correspondents wondered yet again, why do we do this in Michigan? This was the week in town residents wondered how long them hotshot crackerjacks going to whiz past us. For four hours, I wondered how I ever left the California car haven for Rustbelt Transport.

Driving autos back to back, or in my case riding in them, puts a lot into perspective, chassis dynamics, interior materials, ride comfort, engine noise. Shoot, you don’t need me to tell you what goes into testing and evaluating a car. Go read the magazine. However, in the magazine you may miss what I will share. The banter. Watching writers take sides, defending opinions or winning support. “If you like it vote for it.” Yeah, maybe I will. Maybe I will.

There are smoke breaks for some, lunch breaks for others or no breaks for those that need to play catch up. Clip boards, note taking and reference sheets. There are head down employees, senior lifers, entry levelers, clicks and glory day tales just like at any company. And just like any company, there is a commodity being traded. This one by way of asses transplanted from seat to seat. That commodity may be your dream car now dirty with judgement. But to a select few who have honed their skills to evaluate and write about cars, apparently, it’s a living. To many of us, a Hell of a living.

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