Spotter’s Guide To The February 2017 Road&Track

Let’s call this 1.5 appearances in this month’s issue; in addition to the review of the 2017 Lincoln Continental on page 65 or thereabouts (spoiler alert: it’s a great car) you can read a series of quotes by me in Sam Smith’s column up front. This was the last thing I had in the can for R&T’s print side so if you want to see more, feel free to send letters/cards/boiled rabbits to the magazine!

Tell The Truth And Shame The Devil


I am very proud to be a Contributing Editor for Road&Track magazine today. It’s not because I’ve written our Performance Car Of The Year feature for each of the four years we’ve done it, although that is one of the things that, as Belle&Sebastian sings, they can write on my grave or when they scatter my ashes. It’s how we handled a situation that was deeply upsetting and embarrassing for all of us at R&T — and how we broke the rules of the business in doing so.

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Spotter’s Guide To The Winter 2016 Hagerty Magazine


I’ve kept this under my hat for a few months now, but now it can be told: I have the cover feature of this quarter’s Hagerty Magazine. With a paid circulation of over 450,000 readers, Hagerty is now the largest classic-car magazine in the world. Read all about the history of the Camaro in my sentimental, meandering fifty-year retrospective, featuring photography by the incomparable Andrew Trahan. And if you dig this, wait until you see what’s next…

A Fleetwood That Carried Foxes


The infamous 1976 Fleetwood Talisman that took me from Columbus to Nashville to Houston is for sale on eBay. And just like before, if you buy it and you’re located in the 48 states, I will drive it to you and cover my own flights. (As usual, there are exemptions and conditions that apply.)

Short-time readers who don’t remember the Fleetwood can catch up here. Somebody please buy this: it’s a brilliant car, restored by a man who valued results over cost, and it’s personally important to me.

Spotter’s Guide To The November 2016 Road&Track


It’s not the worst 45th birthday present ever. This month’s Road&Track features three — count ’em, three — articles by yours truly. I drive the new Focus RS from the race track to the autocross, try Tanner Foust’s 552-horsepower GRC Beetle, and rip a LaFerrari through the Hocking Hills of Southwestern Ohio. I’m even on the cover!

Perhaps best of all, this issue was a family affair. You can see my son and his TopKart in the Supercars article, while Danger Girl appears a few times through the Focus RS piece as stunt driver and/or passenger.

I’ve had no end of minor troubles this past year, from my broken leg to various career and personal issues, but this month’s R&T is a sharp reminder to me that I should be grateful for what I do have.

The Battle Of Shenandoah


A few months ago, Larry Webster and I borrowed a McLaren 570S and an Audi R8 V10 Plus. We took them to Summit Point’s Shenandoah racetrack, where I had a chance to explore the outer limits of the risks I was willing to take in a quarter-million-dollar car. Take a quick read and find out how to make an Audi leave the ground at a takeoff speed well above that of many light aircraft. Safe landing not guaranteed.

Spotter’s Guide To The October 2016 Road&Track


I’ve been out of down doing R&T’s Performance Car Of The Year testing since Monday night — but while I was there somebody handed me the current issue so I could be all self-critical and stuff.

Read about the V-8 engine and its emotional significance on page 62. Then flick to the back of the book and check out page 94, where I discuss a time that I had a woman in the right seat of my Porsche and she wound up screaming and curling up… for all the wrong reasons.

Squid Waits For The UPS Truck


There are times I think back to 1991 and just marvel at the relationship that Jill, my editor at Bicycles Today and I had. I can’t imagine any of my current outlets being willing to publish this kind of thing. To begin with, it’s fiction. And it’s depressing, quasi-modern fiction. And it makes terrible demands of comprehension on its audience… and yet a lot of people seemed to read and enjoy it…

To set the stage — this is a ‘Squid story’. This is the second Squid story; I’ve already published the first one and the third one. There were five Squid stories in all, written by me between the ages of nineteen and twenty-one, the last one being an R-rated novella published in the “Some Prefer Nettles” ‘zine. Anyway, this is set in the year 1987, and regards Squid’s struggles with self-doubt and the UPS schedule – JB

Somewhere, down the street, the muted but insistent basso rumble of what surely must be the UPS truck touches Squid’s ears and brings him up, swimming, from the reverie in which he has been engaged, depositing him none too gently on the blue couch of his family’s living room. Within half a second, Squid’s tentacles are up and weaving gently as he scrambles out of his couch to the window. The nature of his subdivision is such that every truck, heavy machinery being so unfamiliar to the groomed lawns and hopeful starter homes set back upon them, makes a distinct impression on the sonic fabric, and Squid’s ears are better than most, probably as a compensation for his inability to see anything past his nose without contact lenses.

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