December 7, 2010 was the first post for Driving and Life, and I wrote about ‘My Piece of Italy’ – my beloved Alfa Romeo 159. Since then the 159 has clocked up 90,000km, with absolute reliability and huge driving enjoyment - especially on interstate trips.
This year on December 7, I posted my final story, featuring my review of the replacement for the Alfa Romeo 159, the new Giulia – indeed a worthy replacement, and because it’s the recipient of so much new technology, design and development, it is a true Alfa Romeo – in spirit as well as experience.
So, Driving and Life has reached the end of the road, and as of this post I will be retiring my Blog. I think it’s time I retired from the scene too.
I would like to take you back to where it all began, in 2005 when I was working in the USA. I was approached by a senior executive of American Express, who was also a good friend. He said that Amex wanted to produce a newsletter which would be mailed to its Black Card holders every quarter.
The Amex executives envisaged an automotive publication featuring high end automobiles, and all of the aspects of life which revolved around the automotive scene.
They wanted to include stories about major automotive events such as the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, and the new releases at the major international auto shows. In addition they wanted details of ‘Great Drives’, and a focus on Formula One, representing the pinnacle of global motor sport.
I developed the concept of Driving and Life, and the proposals were well received. However, as often happens in business, American Express had a change of CEO and the new guy thought the whole project was an extravagance. It may have delivered enjoyment to the 92% of Amex Black Card holders who were male, but he had other plans for the budget.
In 2006 I retired from my role as Director of Public Relations for The Americas, for Bentley Motors North America, and returned to live in Australia. A couple of years later, still with the fire of passion and interest in the automotive business I decided to drag the Driving and Life concept out of the ‘Discard’ file and create my Blog.
It’s been a fun time, reproducing stories from my history in the car business; dragging out memorable photos; celebrating my good friends in the industry and writing about some exceptional cars. In fact I owe sincere thanks to my good friend, Paul Gover, Australia's most experienced auto writer, for helping me include driving impressions of new and interesting cars.
However, the time has come to turn off the ignition and park the Blog. I have said all I have to say about current and developing technologies; voiced opinions on a range of subjects, and it’s now time for me to fully retire. Actually, I do find it tiring keeping up with new developments, so that what I publish is sensible and relevant.
I hope you’ve enjoyed sharing my stories and experiences, it’s been a pleasure to research, write and publish some pretty interesting posts, especially those where I had a view ‘behind the curtain’.
But, the truth is, I’m a dinosaur, whose time has come. I am an old-fashioned enthusiast for cars and driving, and I don’t have a lot of interest in what’s coming down the ‘pike. Be it autonomous cars, electric vehicles or intrusive technology.
I grew up modifying and tuning my own cars, including a Mini Cooper and an Austin Healey Sprite.
One of the highlights was almost five years as Editor of MODERN MOTOR magazine - then one of the two best-selling monthly car magazines in Australia. I was fortunate to compete in the 1977 Singapore Airlines London-to-Sydney Car Rally, driving 30,000km, through 30 countries in 30 days. It’s an event which simply couldn’t happen today.
During my 40 years in the car industry I have driven some pretty amazing cars, met some incredible personalities and made strong friendships. And, I have travelled around the globe to every continent. I’ve had a fortunate life around cars, which I have enjoyed sharing.
Thank you for following the Blog, it’s been a pleasure to produce it for your enjoyment.