Tuesday, December 16, 2014


Not heard of Jim Cobb? Okay, then you don't live in New York, are probably not a major car buff, and you don't read the New York Times Automotive Section.

My good friend Jim Cobb has been the Editor of the Automotive Section of the New York Times for 28+ years, and he leaves the newspaper at the end of the year. His retirement, and recent announcement of the death of the auto section, are the result of more, and deeper budget cuts aimed at saving the paper from going under.

He will be a sad loss to automotive journalism in the USA. He is honest, resolute, a great writer, and an even better editor. 

Jim and I became friends back in the early 90s when I was PR Director for Jaguar Cars North America. It was a period when Jaguar was selling unreliable, badly-made cars, and I was fearful of a bad review in the NYT, thus Jim and I tacitly agreed we would not go through all the angst a bad review would engender, so I would decline to loan him a press car. It worked.

Jaguar Cars got its act together, made better cars, and a year or so later I rented a car to the New York Times (the NYT PAID to drive test cars!). We got an honest review. He didn't omit comment about the poor quality of previous cars, but he acknowledged the efforts to improve. Can't ask fairer than that. We've been good friends ever since.

A very nice story about Jim's life at 'The Times' has been published on a website called THE AWL (from which I knicked this photo of Jim in Times Square). Here's the link:


James Cobb (photo: theawl.com)

Jim Cobb chooses to live outside Manhattan, but Jim is All New Yorker. I guess you could call his departure from the Big Apple an enforced move, so I'm not sure how Jim will cope with not setting off each morning to join the high-voltage buzz in that fabulous city. I wish him well.

He's a hell of an auto editor, and a helluva guy. Good Luck Jim. It's been great working with you.

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