I had heard of the editor position with IGC and it should be noted it was actually a position at Today's Truck, a start-up magazine, and not for Turbo. I didn't even know Turbo existed. I passed on the deal for the job security of the Petersen Empire. Tim Gavern, who lost his job at Rod & Custom a day or two before his probationary period was up (and after buying a lot of Nikon camera gear) made the jump.
While at Sport Truck I found my self driving a GMC Sonoma ST that we had already run a road test feature on so I hit up Tim to do some freelance. This was to be the first time I would hear of the fiery Kipp Kington, a ranting and raving walking nuclear missile silo. I met Tim on a Saturday to turn in my article. I called him the following Tuesday to make sure everything was cool and he answered the phone, "You gotta come do this, I can't handle it."
As it was turning out, my situation at Petersen was changing. My aspirations for a staff position were on hold and the worst part of my job had been doubled. In short, I was much more motivated to take a chance. So I met with Kipp, saw what Turbo was and that it was established so my future employment did not depend on the start-up success of Today's Truck. I was driving a stock 1991 Sentra SE-R at the time and I remember thumbing through an issue of Turbo in the waiting area and it was as if a veil had been lifted and I could see the path I wanted to take with the magazine. In meeting Kipp I found, while serious, he had a sense of humor and he seemed like a very up-front person.
Back in the day Kipp truly was a walking missile silo. I was in the back of the building one day, a few weeks into the gig, grabbing some file photos when I overheard Kipp talking to our art assistant. The phrase "That better not be a personal call." got louder each time he said it ... until detonation. Fearing fallout, I ducked out the back door.
Our offices were in a mini mall that had a three-foot space between it and the adjoining building. I scurried between the buildings and came in the front door. By the time I hit my desk the assistant had hit the door on the way out, never to be seen again. I wondered for a while if there was a missile in the silo with my name on it, steam emanating from its mid-section, awaiting a launch code of some kind.
After my third issue at Turbo I went in and asked for a raise. Ballsy, yes. But it's all in the approach. I was the first editor to last that long and I thought that should count for something. Kipp apparently agreed and he scribbled some numbers on a piece of scrap paper. It was my salary with future increases figured in. I kept that paper with me and Kipp lived up to every number and every date. In most cases went well beyond the number. In the seven or so years I worked for him, Kipp never, ever raised his voice to me. A few years into it I realized there was no missile for me. In fact, in time his silo faded away like a cold war relic ... pretty much.
We had some disagreements but I always took the position of what was best for the magazine and had reasons why the position was the way to go. I never put my own personal will in front of the betterment of the book and the concerns of the readers. I believe this fact was not lost on Kipp.
For more on Kipp and famed turbo-guru Kenny Duttweiler check out our Legacy Series articles in the Classic Turbo section of this magazine. Boost on.