Wordsmiths in my world can be divided neatly into two groups: those who write about cars and those who don’t. Automotive scribes can be further divided into two subgroups: those who stay the course and those who venture off course.
But like a Land Rover that heads off the beaten career path, the hot journo who strays into the cold corporate jungle could always make a quick U-turn and rush back to his original occupation.
It’s closer to a preoccupation for the “car-reer” writer. He doesn’t just write about automobiles – he lives and breathes them. The blood coursing through his veins is half plasma and half petrol. He forever feels the need for speed. He walks the “torque’ and never “brakes” ranks with his fellow driving/writing enthusiasts. And his pet dog’s name is Rover, short for Rover The Turbo Pooch.
This motor psycho’s potential is obvious to savvy car company bosses. Employ him and enjoy instant good “carma”, they might be thinking.
Writing punchy press releases without factual or grammatical errrors? Check! Instinctively editing colleagues’ work documents to make them nicer to read? Check! Shuffling the company’s demo cars with the skill of a valet? Check! Refuelling them faster than a Formula One pit stop? Check! Excellent knowledge of cars and the car industry, including business rivals? Check! Expert handling of pesky motoring journalists? Check!
The job scope is big, but so is the paycheque. A high salary is a novelty to the average auto writer, who survives on catered food at car launches and the complimentary coffee at car showrooms. The frequent flyer miles he earns from all those junkets are desperately exchanged for tins of Milo and loaves of bread. The artist really suffers for his auto art.
The temptation to go “commercial” and join the “dark side” is therefore great.