To look at the sales figures, read the magazines, or browse the web, it’s hard not to conclude that motoring journalism is in a terminal decline. The shift from printed media to digital is understandable and unstoppable, but it seems every mainstream publication is fighting for the same readership that is obsessed with the latest supercar or the shiniest creation from Munich, Stuttgart or Ingolstadt.
Obviously there’s a significant market for this, but I am old enough to remember Car Magazine in the 1980’s, so I know there was a time when intelligent, opinionated and sometimes-contrarian motoring journalism was being published by car enthusiasts who were interested in more than the fastest lap-times.
Journalists such as L.J.K. Setright and Russell Bulgin are sadly long-gone, but some of their spirit lives-on in a website I discovered recently: Driven To Write. I thoroughly recommend you pay a visit and see what you think – it’s one of my favourite motoring sites, with intelligent and witty writing about the minutiae of both modern and classic cars. How many publications today would dedicate an article to Rover 3500 headrest design (The Worlds Oddest Head Restraints)?
Also take a look at the other articles on Rover that don’t just re-state the same hackneyed viewpoints – there are a few articles on the Rover P5 and P5B as well that provide an interesting read.
My only wish is that new articles were published more frequently, but I know from experience how long it takes to create new content, and I much prefer that the authors focus on quality and not quantity.
If you know of any other motoring websites that are similarly ‘going against the mainstream’, feel free to leave a comment below.