It’s Substack Time. Autobots Assemble! (Decepticons, too!)

Some of you already found it, of course: my Substack is called Avoidable Contact Forever. The formal launch is tomorrow, with new daily content beginning on Sunday.

Some time this evening, depending on my bulk mail provider’s competence, many of you will be getting a discount offer in your email. The offer is permanent and you can share it with friends if you like. It does not apply to the “Trackday Club”, which is roughly the equivalent of that one gold-plated wrench from Harbor Freight and entitles the subscriber to one coached trackday per year at a place that works for both of us. (Bring your own car, unless you want to drive a Neon without power steering and with 48psi rear tire pressure.)

If you do not get your offer by this time tomorrow, look in the “Promotions” or, maybe, “Spam” folder of your email. If it’s not there, comment below and I will send it to you personally by the end of the night Friday.

I’d like to thank the madmen who figured it out ahead of time and signed up immediately. That’s more than I deserve and I won’t forget.

Click the jump for a detailed explanation of what you’ll get with your subscription.

To start with, I have 1,517 articles that were removed from this site over the years, often at the direct request of an employer. They’re all back. And why not?

Next up, I’ll be republishing older articles that went up elsewhere but for which I happen to retain the rights.

At the same time, I’ll be doing daily long(ish)-forms for two weeks starting on Sunday. After that I will most likely contribute twice a week, or more.

Topics will be to a large extent determined by commenter request and interest.

I know that some subscribers will immediately want to hear all the industry dirty laundry — but I also know that some of you won’t want to read any of that. So there will be a balance.

If you’re on the fence about subscribing, you can sign up for free and get a partial preview of each article over the next two weeks.

A final note: I am absolutely committed to doing this at least until August of 2023 and likely for a long time to come after that. Don’t worry that buying the year in advance will be like when Hearst did a quarterly “R&T” at an outrageous subscription cost that then got merged into a smaller, cheaper “Road&Track” or whatever the heck is going on over there. If you sign up for the year, you will have a chance to read well over 110 original articles during your subscription. That’s a promise, not a threat!

129 Replies to “It’s Substack Time. Autobots Assemble! (Decepticons, too!)”

  1. Jonathan H.

    Looking forward to it, Jack. I’m a big fan of your work and I’m pretty partial to your “made in the USA” content. You set me off down a long expensive road with those articles. Good luck!

    Reply
  2. NoID

    As the son of a former HD dealer who was active during the heyday (if it can be called that) of Buell, I’d be interested in your perspective of the company and bikes, either in general (IE the general segments they attempted to compete in or create) or specific (product review or opinion).

    I get the feeling they are the Rodney Dangerfield of motorcycles, which is to say they “get no respect”…except for the seeming legion of fans. After all, Dangerfield was pretty famous and well liked for a guy who wasn’t respected.

    Reply
  3. Erik

    First time I’ve been excited about anything new related to automotive journalism in more then a decade. Should be a heck of a ride.

    Reply
    • Gene

      Since you’re taking requests….what is prominent in your home library? What books have mattered most to you, affected how you look at things, made you question your own judgment, pissed you off, struck you as being timeless? We’re all readers here. I think columns on books would make for some fascinating discussions.

      Reply
      • GatorStan

        I second that emotion. Jack, you are an English major, correct? I love a good sci-fi read but the new–mostly woke–stuff is just awful. I’ve found a lot of “classics” are also really not all that great–I’m looking at you Catcher in the Rye. A “Read This” column is an excellent idea.

        Reply
        • Jack Baruth Post author

          Okay, I’m on it!

          I am also hoping to distribute a bit of my own sci-fi via Substack in the near future.

          Reply
        • Eric L.

          Catcher in the Rye‘s greatest contribution is easy: It provided a cool line for Ghost in the Shell: Standalone Complex to consume.

          Reply
      • jc

        Tbh, I’m surprised he hasn’t done something like that already. He’s clearly a man with strong opinions and some kind of literature/English background.

        I read Iron John because he recommended it and need to read it again because I don’t get some of what Mr. Bly is trying to say. The parts I did understand really helped me understand my relationship with both my father and man who’s like a 2nd father to me. I appreciate the recommendation and am eager for more.

        Reply
      • Jack Baruth Post author

        I’ll be reassembling my shelves as I move into the new house and that will be a good time to talk about the various books, from Couples to Oe Kenzaburo’s The Silent Cry, that have folded, spindled, and mutilated my literary outlook.

        Reply
        • Sobro

          Perfect time for you to mic up and post your random musings as you unload boxes. A Podcast sans pod people.

          Reply
      • Disinterested-Observer

        On a related note, music suggestions that aren’t pretentious navel gazing noodling, yacht rock, or the work of Michael Bolton, whose entire catalogue I already celebrate.

        Reply
  4. S2kChris22

    I dunno, I got an offer for MotorTrend+ for $4.99/mo, maybe that’s where I’ll direct my vehicular entertainment dollars…

    Yeah no.

    Reply
    • jc

      I’m not too proud to admit I’ve enjoyed more than my fair share of Roadkill episodes they used to put on youtube. They’re the car equivalent of the garbage sci fi I like sometimes. There’s not much there that my dad would say has “redeeming social value”, but the entertainment value is there.

      Reply
    • Daniel J

      They used to have some really good writers. I also liked their forums. They went to sh!t about 8 or 9 years ago.

      Reply
  5. drsmith

    Who knew you (or someone you know) had the most desirable, collectible car of all – a vintage Mercury Milan. When you going to enter it in the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance?

    All kidding aside , thanks for the offer!

    Reply
    • Jack Baruth Post author

      Something tells me I won’t be welcome at Pebble in a year or so… which is fine, I hated every moment I’ve ever spent on that lawn and with those people.

      Reply
        • Carmine

          “This is car is a once in a lifetime find for me….5 min later….I’m at Gooding’s selling my once in lifetime find….”

          Reply
          • Tom Klockau

            Exactly. That’s always made me nauseous.

            “O pleeze sell me yer car I will love it and hug it and keep it forever and name it George…”

            2 days later: YEET!

        • dejal

          Still trying to figure out that Wayne + Roger deal. Roger is old and well past his freshness date and no one “Deserves” to work forever. But, Roger knew his stuff, and as far as TV is concerned they got on well for years. Then they didn’t. Yet Roger’s side, danced around the reasons and Wayne doesn’t say much. Doesn’t matter, I dropped TV other than what comes in on an antenna these days and F1 TV. So, maybe it’s all good now.

          Reply
  6. Scott

    Nothing yet, but please send it to me. Your posts are always a “drop everything and read it now” item.

    Reply
  7. John C.

    I think it was good that you specified how much new content there would be. I understand how proud you must be of your back catalog. A constant stream of new content is vital online, I imagine even more so with paying subscribers. In 2021, my postage stamp collecting site was demonetized by Google Ad Sense. Since then, I have mainly relied on revised articles from the archive. Views have dropped in half, even though gasbagging about some stamp from 1950 in theory does not date

    Reply
  8. Gene B

    I’d like a section of real car reviews for people who love to drive. I think many cars have been passed over and missed by the press. For example, love to drive stick shift. I have found that cars with Fiat’s 1.4T and 6 Speed manual are wonderful low cost cars to own and to drive, and are not unreliable (Dart, 500x, Renegade, 500 Abarth). I used to love my Mazda5 with the 6 speed when my 3 kinds were small. I could never find decent reviews on them. People should have a place to find out about cars that will make them smile, and not necessarily make their makers huge profits.

    Reply
  9. DK

    Hmm don’t post often, just lurk. Didn’t see an invite, but checked my gmail and saw this in promotions:

    Upcoming update to TheTruthAboutCars.com

    This can’t be from you… I haven’t looked at that site in years.
    Used to use my work address, but had to turn off my departmental mail server, although E-mail addressed there gets to my now official work address.

    Reply
  10. CitationMan

    Invite received!
    Just a thought. We realize from your writings that there are many contemptible people in what passes for automotive “journalism” these days, but please let us know who some of the good guys (or gals) are.
    Good luck with your new endeavor and much success!

    Reply
  11. Chris

    Regular reader, pretty infrequent poster. I did post on the previous “reply here to get the email” post. Never got the email. Interested in checking it out. Thank you!

    Reply
  12. Trucky McTruckface

    Got the email with the rat and subscribed for a year. I generally don’t do subscriptions as a rule, but even paying full sticker feels like a bargain given the amount of entertainment your articles (and all the comments) provide.

    This is gonna be fun, hope to see all the regulars over there.

    Reply
    • Daniel J

      This is where I’m at. It gets pricey quick if you start subscribing to multiple substacks, and this is why I haven’t subbed any as of yet.

      I’d almost prefer an AD based system to read the articles, but that’s more a youtube model and companies would easily pull Ads if the content isn’t what they like.

      I have yet to see the email, but I’d still consider paying full price for Jack’s content.

      Reply
  13. hank chinaski

    I got my invite.
    As for requests, how about a 101 on IP tracking/stats/cookies/supercookies/browser fingerprinting/etc to explain how clearly you’ve pinned down your user demographics?

    Reply
  14. Burnt03

    Long time lurker, have loved your work since discovering you on TTAC in 2010. Looking forward to the Substack.

    Reply
  15. GatorStan

    OK, Jack, world’s tightest human being here. I’m the grumpy old fart that drives out of his way to save $0.03 a gallon at Costco. Just hit the button for a year’s worth of you. I’m preparing to be enlightened, entertained and educated. Booger’s on you!

    Reply
    • Jack Baruth Post author

      I’m right there at Costco with you, sobbing as I fill up my F250 7.3!

      I’ll work hard to be worth your money.

      Reply
  16. redlineblue

    1. I don’t subscribe to much; a substack could involve Many sandwiches, for all I knew until this site sent me there.
    2. ‘Nissan truck I’m only reading about because you wrote about it] is thin-skinned enough to be a GM exec’ is when I bookmarked my new subscription.

    Reply
  17. ranchero

    Hi Jack, I’ve been a reader (and lurker) of yours since 2012, and I would absolutely love to keep following you on Substack.

    Reply
  18. BrunoSaccoBenz

    Yet another long time lurker (2007?) who will be following you over to Substack. Excited for the content!

    I swear I recall some years ago you mentioning you enjoyed my other favorite online writer (Delicious Tacos) and a post where you said you would be meeting him in LA. Did I imagine this? If it ever happened I’d love to hear that story!

    Reply
    • Jack Baruth Post author

      Sent.

      I couldn’t get DT to meet up; he is probably worried about being doxxed further. I have had dinner three times with the fellow who writes “UpInTheValley”. Good dude.

      Reply
  19. Mc40

    Hi Jack. Didn’t get a message from you. I’m posting this with a new email address just in case. Thank you!

    Reply
  20. Wes

    No invite for me yet, but this will give a chance to update my email. Looking forward to this! Hagerty won’t be the same/worth reading without you, and the less said about Road and Track’s downfall the better.

    Reply
  21. ThePennySaved

    Invite please. Reached out on IG a couple weeks ago but the email address may have been missed in the conversation

    Reply
    • Jack Baruth Post author

      There’s no obvious way to do it but that’s the only way I’ll ever get Contravex Pete to subscribe! So I will look into it.

      Reply
  22. AoLetsGo

    Damn, step away for a while and see what I missed.
    It is summertime in Northern Michigan so outside work and play come first, don’t need no internet.
    I am happy to subscribe and be a paying version of one of your Sancho Panza’s.
    I will be signed up before midnight tonight and expect to receive my Popeil pocket fisherman shortly.

    Reply
  23. -Nate

    Sat. 7.16.22

    I’ve been off line for a week, I need to go search my spam folder for the signup discount offer .

    -Nate

    Reply
  24. Doug Bryan

    Dang,

    I’ve looked in all the usual folders and haven’t seen it yet. Hope to get it soon though.

    -Doug

    Reply
  25. statick89

    Jack,

    I’d like an invite, please. I probably received one in the initial wave and deleted it out of my junk folder without paying attention.

    -Ryan

    Reply
  26. Zach

    Jack,
    I’ve been a reader since Avoidable Contact was on Speed Sport Life. Followed you to TTAC, then got a R/T subscription to keep reading you there. I was really enjoying what you were putting together at Hagerty, but obviously there were things happening behind the scenes that maybe one day you’ll share. Count me as looking forward to new (old?) fiction from you as well. I’d love a discount code, but I’m happy to pay full price. Thanks!

    Reply
  27. erikotis

    Jack, long time reader, seldom commenter. A bit late to the party now but just spent eight days (and well over 1,200 miles in a rental Honda HR-V, man does that thing suck on any type of incline and there were plenty…and don’t get me started on trying to pass on the almost exclusive two lane highways we were traveling…) driving from Vegas to Denver via Bryce, Zion, Mesa Verde, and Rocky Mountain national parks with the family.

    I received the invite and am strongly interested in the track day subscription but curious how it might work. I’ve only been on the track twice, both times at Mid Ohio, on HPDE weekends with Northern Ohio PCA. Not a Porsche owner, both times were in my ’03 Cooper S. I’m in NE Ohio so both Mid Ohio and Nelson are nearby. Would the coaching be part of an event hosted by a similar group? Some other way? I was fortunate to have two pretty good instructors but know I’d learn a TON more from you.

    Appreciate any additional info on this option!

    Reply
    • Jack Baruth Post author

      Trackday Club means I’ll sit in with you for a weekend at one of those events and work to get as much speed, pace, or comfort with the situation as you want. And if you come to Mid-Ohio you can even hang out in my barn!

      — he said, like anybody wants to do that!

      Reply
      • erikotis

        Thanks Jack and apologize for my subsequent late reply. I love hanging out in barns so that pretty much seals the deal! I’ll be submitting payment shortly for the Trackday Club.

        It looks like I’ll be at Mid Ohio for the NORPCA Fall even Sept. 24-25. No idea if that works for you and completely understand if it doesn’t given we are only a couple months out. I know there will be plenty of other events to find a common date that works. Let me know the best way to coordinate with you.

        Thanks for offering this unique opportunity; looking forward to it!

        Reply
  28. Andrew Housley

    Looks like the right move Jack. I will miss the the free access, but having an editorial muzzle on just doesn’t make sense if you have the readership to do otherwise. I have been reading you for at least the last 10 years and almost always come away with some new perspective even if I don’t always agree 100%. Good luck with this new direction.

    Reply
  29. Charles

    Longtime listener first time caller… er wrong medium. Anyway, I’ve followed your writing for years, but don’t comment much on public posts. I’d appreciate an invite if you’re still sending them out. Thanks!

    Reply
  30. Paul Barra

    Okay Jack, I’ll bite,send me a code.Longtime lurker since TTAC,I appreciate your skillful use of the English language and would hate to lose access to it.

    Reply
  31. Tim

    Hi Jack,

    Long time reader/lurker from back in your maximum street speed articles on TTAC. I figured I missed the window for the discount so I signed up at full price… I consider it reparations (ha!) for over ten years of enjoying your writing for free! Looking forward to what comes next.

    Reply
  32. Orlando Mendoza

    Hey Jack, another longtime lurker here from the TTAC days. I would be super grateful for a code, please!

    Reply
  33. drhino

    Jack,
    Sent an email to you last month (at your previous place of employment) and received an “out of office” (permanently) reply. Shit, there goes my big break! Webster doesn’t know me from Adam. Oh well, no big deal for me— the important issue is: What does this mean for you? Internet search brought me here. Glad to see things are moving forward. Good luck with the stack o’ subs. Interesting.

    Reply
  34. Ned Waterbury

    Good Morning,

    I have not yet received the invitation. May I have one please?
    Thanks for your consideration.

    Reply
  35. Hesiostus

    Like many who have already posted their thoughts, I too have been following your writing from publication to publication that you have worked for. I don’t think that there is another automotive journalist left who writes with such a clear, entertaining, and purposeful voice. Often I have been challenged by some of what you have written, but even when I disagree with you, your writing is always insightful. I look forward to your newsletter.

    Reply
    • Jack Baruth Post author

      I value the disagreements. Come to Substack and disagree with me — I sent you the link. Thank you!

      Reply
  36. bb f

    oh no….I was offline for a few days and am only now getting caught up. i’ve never posted anything anywhere before, but have lurked here for a long time and would love an invite.

    Reply
  37. gui.murad

    Hi Jack, I thought I had put my name down in the first post about the substack but turns out I didn’t… (just realized after going through all spam and promotions on gmail.. ) I’d love an invite as well, as I do believe now I don’t have to use a creepy VPN to read you in Hagerty all the way from Brazil!!!

    Reply
  38. Gaz

    Hi,
    Sorry to be cheap – I just realized I didn’t get the email either. And then I saw other people were still commenting here weeks later, so….
    (Lurker who never commented before, by the way, not an arch-nemesis trying to plot against you on the cheap).

    Reply
  39. Axm

    Super long time reader, quoted and referred you to tons of folks including some auto executives (non PR) as person who gets it, can I get an invite if those are still going out? I might have emailed / commented but more likely I developed a parasocial relationship with you and Bark.

    Reply
  40. Johnnyangel

    So … I find the majority of your political opinions toxic, the slavish acolytes annoying, and I wonder about someone who has a bad word for almost everyone he’s ever worked with.

    Having said all that, you’re a great writer and one of the best damn auto journalists in the country (given the others, I guess that sounds like faint praise, but it isn’t meant to), and I’d be interested in an invite.

    Reply
  41. Ian Brown

    Hi Jack,
    I did not receive an invite either—apologies for being both cheap and late in responding.
    Cheers,
    Ian

    Reply

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