The automobile is probably the single most important product of the modern world. Its impact on all our lives extends in to every corner – from resource allocation to propelling the development of new technologies to making mobility something we’ve come to think of as a human right. In a car we can cover territory in a day that took weeks in the past. Add to this the simple fact that they’re things of beauty and the love affair many of us have with cars is easy to understand. Cars can also be like a time machine – not just in their ability to transport us rapidly, but also because seeing old cars take us back in time, as so many of our critical memories are linked forever with certain cars.
My first close-up encounter with a racing legend and a car with a storied history was when my friend Todd Wertman brought me in to make a video for him and David Gooding when they were at RM Auctions. I brought a crew to Willow Springs and we filmed Phil Hill driving the Ferrari 330 TRI/LM Testa Rosa, the last front engine car to win Le Mans, and David interviewed Phil. He said “call me Phil.” Over a bunch of years I’ve been lucky enough to run shows like Monster Garage, a season of Overhaulin’, Ultimate Car Build Off, what I call “the lost pilot” I made of Top Gear for NBC hosted by Adam Carolla with Tanner Faust and Eric Stromer, that has never seen the light day, and the Jay Leno special The Ultimate Car Week about Pebble 2014.
Lately I’ve been fortunate enough to join Steve Chiotakis on KCRW from time to time to talk about car related issues, and to review new cars for various online outlets.
While it’s a near certainty that self-driving cars will be part of our future – which will mean reduced fatalities and driving times – it’s just as certain that there will always be new cars that will be fantastic to drive, and old cars being restored, and loved, and driven as they should be – by someone with a big smile behind the wheel.