Welcome, tiny percentage of MotorTrend readers who actually read the editor’s monthly musings! Man, are you in for a treat. You’ve probably already noticed something’s different, not quite right. Or … is it so wrong that it couldn’t be more right?
What tipped you off? My warm, gentlemanly greeting? Or was it my devil-may-care style of prose, tumbling gracefully like a figure skater who just broke a shin bone or two. Was that it?
Most likely, you looked at the photo above—or the cover of the July issue—saw my face, then screamed victoriously, like a bald eagle after gobbling up a delicious puppy. Then, in a high-pitched register, you called out to anyone within earshot: “The sportscaster dude from Anchorman is the guest editor of MotorTrend this month?! F yeah!”
Yes and no. You’re actually thinking of the other bald guy in funny movies, Dave Koechner. That’s cool, we both get it a lot, and he is hilarious. But I’m actually the bald guy from Top Gear America … or Ballers? Hot Tub Time Machine? Whatever, it doesn’t matter, anyway; just step into my custom van and help yourself to some hard candies, because we’re gonna give MotorTrend the beans.
When MT’s real editors asked me to man the helm, the first thing I said was, “Yes, please!” because my mother raised me right. The second thing I said was, “Dax Shepard said no, I guess?” That seemed to make them very uncomfortable, lots of throat clearing, etc. So, to clear the air, I got down to business.
My first demand was for complete and total control of my edition, right down to commissioning writers and doing the photo editing myself. They immediately came back with, “Absolutely not.”
“Cool,” was my reply. (I’m pretty awesome at negotiating.) “How much do I get paid?”
I let them sweat it out for a whole 10 minutes of silence before saying, “You folks have got yourselves a deal.” And everyone left the negotiating table happy, feeling like they won, you know?
Now it was time to think about what I wanted to do with my edition. I didn’t want it to feel anything like the gross examples of blatant self-promotion that usually pose as celebrity guest-editorships. So, I won’t be telling you to WATCH TOP GEAR AMERICA, streaming NOW on the MotorTrend app! (Guys, make that last sentence look big and splashy, but not too over the top, you know? Ooooh, can you make it sparkly?! But subtle sparkly! No! Better idea … like a pop-up book!)
One thing is for sure: This will still be the MotorTrend you look forward to every month.
On a more serious tip, I do look forward to it. Very much so. There may be nothing I enjoy more than finding time to stretch out and read a good car mag (yes, even this monthly editor’s note). It’s a good time, guaranteed. Because while the universe of cars, driving cars, car parts, and parts of car parts is something inherently definable, it still manages to remain wildly subjective. Because we, the car enthusiasts, are as important as any tie rod or differential. A car still needs us to make it go (at least for now), and we can be an opinionated bunch, to say the least. So, reading a car magazine is always a collaborative experience—it’s like an off-key sing-along!
A few old friends will join, friends you’ll recognize from … I don’t know, just about everything car-related? Firstly, Top Gear America producer and prolific car journalist Derek Powell and I have a spirited, dare I say game-changing back and forth on the subject of Top Gear America: Behind the Scenes. All your questions finally get answered. Questions like:
- Is fellow co-host Dax Shepard from Detroit?
- Who writes the episodes?
- How do the writers feel when the hosts pee on their scripts and refuse to say anything the writers have worked so hard to write?
- What part of Detroit? Because I have a friend that lives off of 6 Mile Road … does Dax know Maureen?
- And of course, the big one: Who is the Stig …
- … Sleeping with these days? Also, what’s the Stig’s net worth and birth sign? And how many Stig children are there?
The truth is, as of this writing, Derek and I haven’t had the chance to speak, so I have no idea what we’ll talk about. But I’m looking forward to it. And I know nothing about the Stig except to say I think I have a secret admirer.
Along the way, MT’s resident racer Randy Pobst gives me some finer points about the art of performance driving. And my Top Gear America co-host and renowned auto scribe Jethro Bovingdon drives the Honda Civic Type R and compares it to the legendary Acura Integra Type R, a gorgeous example of which Honda delivered to us from its museum. Jethro wasn’t allowed drive it more than 60 mph, which made him so mad, and nothing makes me laugh harder than a mad Jethro. I do him the honor of adding notes to his piece; I may even grade him, I haven’t decided. Whatever makes him angriest.
Thanks for reading, and thanks to MotorTrend for having me. This has been a fun experience that was simultaneously so stressful that what is left of my hair has turned snow white overnight. I look like a U.S. president three years into his second term, like, “North Korea is on the phone again? My phone? Crap. Tell them I just got out of the shower or something.”