WWRD? It Begins

Remember "Toonces The Driving Cat?"

You have to admit that was one of Saturday Night Live's most brilliant ideas during the Phil Hartman era. The concept of having a cat that drove the family car even with Victoria Jackson and Steve Martin in it was something else.

You know who else loves to drive? Me! Yet, compared to Toonces, I avoid any cliff as humanly possible.

The point here is a new fun and interactive way to develop crowd-sourced content towards further engagement for V&R. I call it "WWRD?" Translation: What Would Randy Drive?

How this works is simple. Via V&R's social media channels on Facebook, Twitter and Google+, I will ask the question for WWRD? submissions. The submissions are compiled and delivered with 3-5 vehicles as called out by YOU.

On your end, just give me a vehicle – any car, truck, SUV/crossover, van of any make, model and year. What I do is compile what I know of said vehicle and give you an answer why or why not I would drive it. I'll also explain why.

Historiography: The Class of 1982

The list can go on forever, but I will concentrate on the most important thing overall: Graduating high school. As I realize today that I am indeed on the latter side of my forties, remembering every moment of that year seems a bit difficult these days.

#VOTY11: The Winner Is…

The road to the Vehicle of the Year was not one to tread these days.

Now in its fifth year, the criterion for a winner gets tougher with more things to scrutinize and take notes on. It is not as easy to give the award away.

To be the VOTY, a vehicle has to be pretty darn good. There's no room for mediocrity when looking at vehicle quality, performance, ease of use, comfort, driving dynamics and overall efficiency. They also have to have a story behind them worth telling. Not to mention, a public say as to which one is worthy of the award.

The 27 vehicles nominated came from 16 brands that stretched from compact sedans all the way to heavy-duty pickups. These vehicles were assembled in seven different countries, mostly in the NAFTA zone. Under the hood were regular internal combustion engines either fueled by regular petrol, premium grade petrol or ultra-low sulfur diesel. Some had electric motors attached to them. One particular nominee had its electric motor be the primary mover of a vehicle.

Overall, the scoring was indeed tough. It actually came down to the voting itself to declare a winner.

Five Favorites from Auto Show Seasons Past

Next year will mark ten years since I covered my first auto show. No, seriously…

It is a momentous occasion since working press at an auto show has evolved from covering what's new on the scene as a place

Yet, sometime within the last month or so, someone on Twitter called press days at an auto show as sort of a "circle jerk." I get his frustration, as covering the industry certainly has changed over time. Traditional media has been threatened by the likes of myself…and we're being threatened by outlets that can distill the news even quicker.

Still, there is room at the table for all of us – and we're networking with each other all the time. In fact, the industry and the press are interconnected in ways unimaginable when it was strictly the traditional media covering the industry.

In retort to that Tweet that called auto show press days a "circle jerk," I still believe that we need a day to meet with our industry counterparts, enjoy the excitement of vehicle launches and provide varying perspectives on the industry back to you – the readership.

Since the first major USA show is coming up at the Los Angeles Convention Center; this actually calls for a Five Faves post! This posting revolves a single question: What five vehicles made my auto show press coverage experience worth the effort?

That would mean logging back top the 2002 Chicago Auto Show – the one I covered with Midwest Ursine/Tillery Publications along with current Windy City Banner publisher Tom Wray.

I did come up with five vehicles over the past ten years. Here they are…

My Favorite Captive Imports

At a time when the call was to tune down the horsepower and prepare for an oil crisis, a recession and a never ending war overseas, domestic automakers figured it was high time to build another round of compact cars. By going smaller, there were two routes to take: Build them domestically or import them from a global partner somewhere. Three out of the four North American automakers chose the latter.

Quickies: It Was a Good Day…

In a single day, I met various GM executives, employees, interns and my main contact at the company. I also met some great people and vehicles at the three Twin Cities dealerships where GM was holding their outreach programming at.

When GM Comes to Town

This weekend provided a quandary for the automobile enthusiast. Should one head to Southeastern Michigan, making the pilgrimage to Woodward Avenue for the Dream Cruise? Or, should one live it up on the Monterey Peninsula at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance?

Five Favorites for the Woodward Dream Cruise

Normally, such an event is called a "cruise." By calling it a "cruise," it means a display of cars of yesteryear where you can expect brutal exhaust noise and the rumbling of very large engines. The vehicles on display are indeed impressive, from old-school hit rods to today's tuner specials.

Skin Deep

You’d think that after a couple of postings that there may have not been any conclusions made regarding the relationship between the automotive industry and the LGBT community. The questions asked over the past couple of weeks simply remain unanswered. Yet, for every unanswered question, there are a few more to ponder about.