My Favorite Drives (So Far)

The holiday season is a time for family. It is also peak travel season for any of us who seek family anywhere humanly possible. The roads are jammed with vehicles full of people and the presents they'll give to one another. The lyric is right when they describe this as "the most wonderful time of the year."

When families gather around, they're on the road involved in an epic drive to their destination. Or, they're sitting down for a story or two. Of course, I am reminded that things have changed since I was a kid. Television and video games have replaced stories of Santa, the birth of Jesus and the oil lamp at the temple in Jerusalem. Forza 4 and Gran Turismo 5 yield to no religious tradition or fable of a magical chubby bearded fella in a red velour suit.

So, let me tell you some stories…

Five Favorites from Santa's CGI-Rendered Three-Pointed Starred Garage

Let's answer this question: "Is Santa Claus real?"

If this older overweight, bearded, jolly and somehow magical gentleman is indeed real, then explain how every mall across the universe has to dress up like him? What kind of reality are we selling here?

If you're child, my apologies if I've blown the cover of that mythical person who lives somewhere past the Arctic Circle.

Yet, the marketing folks love to portray the mythology of Santa (Saint Nicholas, from what I gather is his name…rather, Kris Kringle…or, something else) and the fact that we give gifts like the Magi did upon the birth of the baby Jesus. Lexus places a big red bow to put upon every gift of a car. Love the spots or not, it's a tradition of theirs that speaks volumes about how they perceive their products during this time of year. Mercedes-Benz this year went with a CGI-coded garage depicting the most expensive garage any Christmastime icon should have – "reindeer" included.

I'll admit that the Mercedes-Benz Santa spot was intriguing. After all, the mythical Santa could afford to own such a fleet.

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.

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…

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.

Five Favorites for Going Back to Campus

Every college town – big and small – face the same onslaught of students coming back from the summer to resume academic life again. The future of our country bound for a college across town or on the other side of the country with their cars filled to the gills with everything for their dormitory or apartment. The parents tag along with a case of tissues hidden amongst the rest of their child's stuff.