What being an auto journalist really means

Today my husband brought an article in a local newspaper to my attention. It was a story about a local auto journalist whose son drove his test vehicle through the garage door — and this particular test vehicle happened to be the exact Porsche 911 Turbo I’d tested a few weeks ago and posted pictures of.

Reading the article brought up a lot of mixed emotions, ones I think us auto junkies rarely think about, or at least those we try not to think about.

This particular auto journalist (with the Ferris Bueller-type son) is also “new” to the industry and I empathized with him more than I could explain to my snickering husband.

Being a car writer is about more than cruising around in fancy cars and looking cool. It’s probably as stressful as any other job out there. Granted, it definitely has its perks (I currently have a Mazda RX-8 and BMW 550i GT to choose from in my driveway), but it can be pretty tough too.

As I read the article about how said auto journalist dealt with his son, the PR rep for Porsche and the company to fix his busted garage door, I was brought back to my unfortunate time with the BMW X6M.

It was at the end of winter here in Montreal — February, I believe — and I had just finished a particularly long day of work and was getting ready to head home. It was dark, cold and all I wanted to do was get home as quickly as possible and curl up on the couch with a hot cup of tea and my cats (oh, and my husband too, I suppose). As I got to the car, I unlocked the doors and opened the rear passenger door to put my purse in the back.

And it was only then that I realized the window had been smashed in.

I stood in disbelief as the glass tinkled to the cold, icy ground and stared at the gaping hole in the door where the tinted glass used to be. Here I was standing beside a $100,000 car under my possession that had just been vandalized.

Panic.

A series of thoughts when through my head: Call the cops? Not my car. Call my mum? She wouldn’t know what to do either. Sit on the curb a cry? That wouldn’t solve anything. Yell at every passing pedestrian to tell me who’d seen the bastard who broke “my” car? Not very proactive. Call my husband? Bingo.

After regaining my composure and obtaining the BMW dealer number from my other half (as well as him walking me through the contents of the car to discover my iPod was still there as was my yoga mat, however, my gym bag with my very favorite pair of relaxation pants had been taken), I tentatively called BMW.

That was, perhaps, one of the worst phone calls I’ve had to make. I was petrified. Absolutely shaking while I was telling them what happened. And what did they say to me?

They didn’t care about the car. I was asked repeatedly if I was OK. Then I was offered a tow for the car so I wouldn’t have to drive it in the freezing cold without a window.

And when I repeatedly apologized for the event, even though it really wasn’t my fault, I was answered with a “shit happens.” And so it does.

When I arrived at BMW, chilled from the breezy jaunt on the highway sans window, I was greeted with a steaming cup of coffee and 2 garage workers to help me get my belongings out of the car and make sure I was OK.

Stories like this one, and the Porsche-in-the-garage-door need to be told. We auto journalists tend to get a bad wrap: people think we’re brash, arrogant, drive as if we’re immortal and nothing can touch us. And perhaps that’s true for some *cough*Clarkson*cough*, but in general we’re just regular people like you, oh faithful reader.

Cars are our passion and we’re lucky enough to work with them everyday, but we’re also human and we make mistakes like you do, even when we have $100,000+ vehicles in our possession. And its companies like Porsche and BMW that make our jobs that much easier and more enjoyable. Knowing that they too understand our human side (as does Nissan who waved off a scratch caused by a woman backing into me in a parking lot) makes our work possible.

Driving the Gallardo Superleggera
Auto journalists are here to bring you, oh faithful reader, closer to every vehicle on the road; to put you behind the wheel, in the passenger seat and on the open highway. And if we can bring them to your front door (as I do with my family and friends), then all the better. Sharing our excitement and experience with you is the major perk (at least it is for me). Seeing someone’s face light up when I pull up in a car they never thought they’d ever get to see, let alone sit in is just incredible.

To err is human; to fender-bend is auto journalist.

Drive on,
– M.

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~ by drivingmsmiranda on May 20, 2010.

3 Responses to “What being an auto journalist really means”

  1. At least I got good shots of the turbo before it got trashed!

  2. Hello, I enjoy your website. This is a good site and I wanted to post a note to let you know, nice job! Thanks MiMi

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  3. […] I guess that’s a good thing considering what my line of work entails (reviewing vehicles for consumers so they know what they’re getting themselves into). But […]

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