It’s not a typo. Hundreds, if not thousands, of auto writers across the web are quasi-objectively ranking makes and models they’ve never owned or never will, people and places they’ve never met or will never visit. It’s that time of year. Partly because it’s tradition. Partly because it’s an easy way for people with day jobs or holiday potlucks and parties to phone in easy content. Partly because it’s a fact that, because our brains are hardwired to compare and evaluate external stimuli, we are unconsciously drawn to Top 10-type lists. We are psychological fish in a barrel.
Car of the year, regardless whose professional opinion it might be, is meaningless to just about everyone not in the automotive media. Maybe there’s an oblivious consumer out there incapable of thinking for himself who depends on those lists because he otherwise lives under a rock, but for the rest of us, these awards are pretty much meaningless.
That’s why I’m doing Care of the Year. Towards the end of 2012, I got to thinking – we should highlight the stories which mean the most to us. Below, you’ll find links to stories that stood out to me as I was looking back at 2012. Most of them aren’t stories we ran here on Gearbox, either. Since I didn’t get this idea until late in the year, it’s a bit on the thin side, I’ll admit, but you gotta start somewhere, right?
ANTONY INGRAM, CARTHROTTLE – WHY 400BHP DOESN’T CUT IN THE UK
It’s not just a UK thing. Gearheads the world over get so caught up in
keeping up with beating the Joneses, we easily build our machines into monsters we can’t responsibly maximize on a daily basis. You’ve heard the phrase, “BECAUSE RACECAR?” Think a little bit about BECAUSE TRAFFIC. How much power can you thoroughly enjoy on your way to work?
ALEX KERSTEN, CARTHROTTLE – HOW TO PLAN THE ULTIMATE ROAD TRIP
It’s not just an American thing, either. The road beckons Wheeled freedom in pursuit of adventure and unforgettable experiences is alive and well worldwide. Sure, our British brothers and sisters might not be able to hit Route 66, Sunset Strip, or the PCH in a classic muscle car, but they can load up a ropey, £150, 1999 1.9D Renault Trafic, and hit France, Holland, Germany, the Czech Republic and Austria. Isn’t that the spirit?
JEFF GLUCKER, HOONIVERSE – THE DATSUN DRIVE
Speaking of road trips, here’s a neat one. Jeff Glucker of Hooniverse, lives in Huntington Beach, California. He delivered an absolutely gorgeous 1972 Datsun Z to a friend in Boston, Massachusetts. That’s 3,000 miles (4800km) in a 40 year old sports car bought off Craigslist. intro | car | route | prep | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6
Part Ford Mustang review, part commentary on the elusiveness of Hot Wheels; this is a glimpse into the mind of a new, gearhead father. Having recently joined the ranks of Car Guy Dad Club myself, I understand. It’s a glittering, ethereal state of mind in which nothing is as it was, and yet, become even moreso.
YOUR TOP 5 GEARBOX MAGAZINE STORIES OF 2012
- THE CARS OF OUR FATHERS – I asked my dad to tell me about every car he ever owned.
- WHY BILL CASWELL RULES – A guy who followed his dreams and got lucky. Love him or hate him, he’s got the right attitude.
- COMPOUND TURBO: PAUL VOLK MADE IT HAPPEN – From early 2011, this one is evergreen.
- WRC FACTORY TOUR – Our 4th day in the UK was EPIC. 100+ pictures from inside what used to be RalliArt.
- BRENT’S 1982 CORVETTE – Still popular, more than 2 years later! Super sharp LS1-swapped Corvette.
THANKS FOR MAKING 2012 GREAT.
Since it’s Christmas/New Year’s time, my daily driven Pajero needs an engine overhaul, and I want to get a jump on the first issue of our new magazine format, I’m going to sit the rest of the year out. 2013 is the Year of the Snake, and there’s another article scheduled for later this week to tell you all about it, but this is my last story of the year.
Until next year, keep going fast with class and press on regardless.