Writing for Cars Illustrated was tough at times.
As a hard core Street Racer with Top Fuel aspirations, it was awesome. I got to fill many pages with stuff I absolutely loved.
And then, there was “The Box”.
See, the Editor really wasn’t much of a car guy. He didn’t hate cars, per se, but he certainly didn’t have much of a grasp of how the Gearhead’s mind worked.
He was a photographer, and he would go to shows and shoot hundreds of pics of cars that, to him, looked cool. Those pics would end up in a box marked “Car Features”, and every issue we would have to rummage through this box and pick out a few cars that would dress out the color pages.
Finding pretty was easy…coming up with words was not!
This led to what became known as the Cars Illustrated “Slam of the Month”.
To be honest, even then I felt bad about doing them…but it was an act of frustration and defiance , and it ended up actually selling magazines. You gotta break a few eggs to make an omelette, right?
Most of these stories are creatures from my past I’m more than happy to leave dead and buried, but this one I’m actually kinda proud of! A lot of readers thought the Sidepipe “Tech” was real!
With the anniversary of 9-11 upon us, we thought we would throw this one out there.
It was a Drag Test we did on the then-new Lincoln LSC.
We had finished the story, had it titled “Wall Street Wailer”, and we needed a lead shot for it.
Digging deep at the last minute (the way we did everything in those days) we decided to run it over to the corner of Wall and Broadway to lay some patches before the morning zoo kicked into high gear.
The shot that we ended up with (see above) was not the one that we had intended. It was purely happenstance that the towers ended up behind the car the way they did. Our photographer just took advantage of the situation, and dropped low for a few frames. The result was pretty profound.
The car, BTW was not procured via the usual Press Pool route. It actually belonged to the Publishers wife, Diane Schneider. He had just bought it for her, and secretly arranged for us to “borrow” it for a couple of nights. She knew nothing of our deal until a couple of hours after that picture was taken.
I had gathered all of the rubber I could scrape off the quarter panels, and molded it into a ball about the size of a grapefruit. I left it on her desk, along with a note thanking her for use of the car, and that her hubby, Steve owed her a set of rear tires. No idea what her reaction was..I took off and spent the rest of that day at the track.
Full story below.