Chip checks the facts on 'The Desert Rat'

I know for a fact that the general public thinks that automotive journalists, especially those who write for premier publications such as Sports Car Market and Classic Motorsports, get to lead the high life. Most folks think we drive press fleet vehicles every single day, attend champagne and caviar receptions and mingle with the high and mighty on a regular basis . . .well . . . it happens, but let's call them rare and memorable occurrences.

The facts are these, however: in no other area of the collector car hobby can an enthusiast learn as much about so many vehicles - be they new or old, depending on the subject of the journalist's writing - in such a short time. Sure, it's fun, but it is hard work - you can fly in or drive a long distance and then instead of spending quality time admiring or shopping a select few cars that you find yourself drawn to, you've got to condense your time and energy so that for instance, in an environment such as Monterey, you actually get a few minutes or two to yourself to enjoy the environment while focusing on 50 aspects of one even - or 50-plus cars at an auction - before it's all over and the trip home or the next event beckons.

Speaking as just one of many in this profession, if anything significant has come out of my writing about collector cars, it's the ability to retain facts and information, however trivial, that even doing a frame-up restoration on such a car might not have allowed me to retain since the circumstances are always so unique. As such, my contributions to the publications I write for get marginally better every time as does the ability to conjure up the fact that gets the deal done or adds to the presentation of a car while writing descriptions or ad-libbing the facts over a microphone. Sometimes the travel and related expenses out on the road almost make a trip to a venue a break-even proposition, but the education is not one that can be acquired anywhere else.

I'll be going to more of the same in pursuit of higher learning during the remainder of 2011 and into 2012, but for the moment, keep an eye out for me at the locations on the Speaking page.

If for whatever reason you require the services of a professional automotive writer, I welcome your inquiries.