Pearl Jam's "Release" has always given me reason for soul-searching. And now, more than ever, these words bear out a wave of emotion. I say this because the issue you're holding marks the end of my seven and a half years at Sport Compact Car. And hearing Eddie Vedder's scorching vocals as my fingers tap out one final attitude, one last remark, one crowning summation of my time here, is bittersweet.
Seven and a half years is a long time to do any job. And in the world of niche publishing it's a lifetime. Long enough, in fact, that I can leave content having accomplished all I can with the title that's been my lifeblood in the car world for so long.
Knowing this will be the last time I ever write "Slip Angle" is perhaps the hardest reality of moving on. For the last 79 months I've filled this space with subjective rants, abrasive attitudes and extraneous blatherings. I've riled you up and, occasionally, grounded you in harsh reality. Hopefully I even engaged you to think critically about what it means to be a car guy. That was the goal, after all.
Mostly, I've laid out what it means to me to love cars-a lifelong passion for all of us and, for me, a career. I've been lucky enough to experience four-wheeled adventures most car guys can only dream about. And I've tried to spin those encounters into words designed to enhance your Sport Compact Car journey.
But the journey was as much mine as it was yours. This job has contributed to the better part of who I am today. It brought me together with the most passionate, driven and talented group of wordsmiths to ever put words on paper. It gave me lifelong friendships. It even allowed me to meet my wife. Life-changing stuff-all of it.
And it gave me indelible memories. Every tire-smoking slide off a racetrack, every fried clutch and every blown head gasket will live on in the depths of my mind as a benchmark for good times and genuine hard work. All are soul-shaping relics I would never have if it weren't for SCC.
Time at Sport Compact Car always existed independent of the rest of the world. Hours, days and even years passed without burden. Mostly, that's because it was never really a job. A cone-crushing, rubber-burning, 18-hour-a-day grind? Yes, sometimes. A thankless pain in the ass? Occasionally, sure. But never really a job. I'll remember my time here like a long drive in a capable, familiar car. It was an adventure in automotive passion. It was a blessing. But it was never really a job.
Some people never figure out that doing what you love for a living means never working a day in your life. I feel sorry for them because "working" by most people's definition isn't fun. I'm one of those sorry souls that invests so much self-worth in my career that working at a passionless job would have me pulling at the buckles of a straitjacket in a few months. So I have no choice, cars are what I do. And they will be for the foreseeable future.
It's with this same passion, drive and intensity that I step out of the driver's seat at Sport Compact Car-leaving it in the hands of whomever Primedia brings along for the ride. With luck, that someone will know that it's not a job. And if he or she does it right, it never will be.
For me, the timeless, prophetic words of Eddie Vedder say it best:
I'll ride the waveWhere it takes me
Back By Popular DemandGrumpy, vocal readers get things done. Last year when we did away with "Of the Month," our sarcastic, back-page look at everything from high-flying WRXs to crashed Lamborghinis, lots of you got grumpy. And vocal. So, beginning this issue, the first in Sport Compact Car's 18th volume, "Of the Month" is making a comeback. Check out the page inside the back cover.
Other changes abound in our tech section. Look carefully at this issue and you'll notice a new tech format called "Test Bench" designed to quickly address parts we can test and write up in a few pages. The idea is to get our project cars and parts we wouldn't otherwise be able to test into the magazine more often. Don't worry, our regular, in-depth tech isn't going anywhere. Hopefully, these changes will keep you from being grumpy. Or vocal.