From the December 2022 issue of Car and Driver.
About a month into the editor-in-chief gig, the members of the Maumee Valley Region of the Porsche Club of America (PCA) invited me to speak at their 50th-anniversary dinner at the Toledo Zoo aquarium. They bestowed this honor despite my lapsed PCA membership.
PCA, which has chapters all over the U.S., is unaffiliated with Porsche Cars North America. That’s fine by me since Porsche’s public-relations department is currently annoyed with us. Why? Well, here’s a little inside-baseball stuff: The 911 GT3 RS photos in the September issue appeared on the internet a few days before the car’s official debut. Kurz und bündig: Some arschlöch robbed us. Car and Driver’s new cybercrimes unit is hard at work finding the breach and plugging it for good. Walking away with someone’s head should make a nice peace offering for the Germans.
While our relationship with the PR flacks might be a bit strained, Porsche’s devoted fans, the members of the PCA, welcomed me with a chicken dinner at a table facing a massive saltwater tank with dancing sharks and rays. Just as there’s a WeatherTech mat for every footwell, there’s a club for any vehicle you can imagine. I once joined the Oldsmobile Diesel Club because, well, I can’t recall why I did that. The common theme of all of them is that they’re filled with enthusiasts looking to connect with other car lovers. At C/D, we aim to have that relationship with our readers, but as Ed. reminds you in every issue, the relationship can be a little one-sided.
Guest speaking conveys privileges. I not only had a great view of the rays, but my tablemates were Maumee Valley Region PCA royalty: the club president, a former club president, the owner of a local shop, and their better halves. All were charming and provided laughs and stories. Conversations bounced from blind dogs to how the Audi S4 is sort of like a backward 911.
Talking to an aquarium of people is new to me, so I overprepared. In other words, I plowed through a written speech about my experiences with Porsches. It went over well enough to keep me from being fed to the sharks, but the fun part happened during Q&A. The group’s curiosity mirrors yours: Who offers the most interesting EVs? BMW, Hyundai/Kia, and Rivian. What sub-$60,000 EV sedan should I buy? Get the BMW i4. Do print magazines have a future? Watch this space. Are young people into cars? Yes, check TikTok. Can you reveal the identity of Ed.? No more questions.
A night with new friends reminded me that I won the career lottery. I get to talk cars whenever I want. In the office we debate, challenge, even bet. In fact, I once lost a lot of money to executive editor K.C. Colwell because I wagered that the 1990 Ford Explorer existed. Colwell insisted ’91 was the Explorer’s first year. He has me on a payment plan.
If I weren’t within walking distance of a crew of auto experts, all my car-club memberships would be current, even the Olds Diesel one.
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