Sorry to say that while the world has been falling apart around our ears – celebrity deaths, UK and US votes – I’ve had an absolute blinder of a year.
Right at the end of 2015, I edited my first magazine – German Classics. It was a one-off, but a very enjoyable one to string together. It also paved the way for two more titles, including Retro Japanese magazine. It was a hugely excited me who stood, freezing at Santa Pod way back in February 2016, having assembled a Toyota Supra Mk4 twin turbo, a Honda NSX and a Nissan Skyline GT-R R34. That said, there was an element of ‘never meet your heroes,’ as these cars revealed a worrying tendency to only display their considerable charms at speeds that are not exactly lawful. Handy that we had a drag strip to play on then.
Naturally, I ensure Retro Japanese isn’t just about the powerful stuff. I have always fully embraced the feeble and perhaps even dull, so there are family favourites spread throughout the pages of this magazine. It has been a steep learning curve, as I didn’t realise gaps in my car knowledge existed to quite the extent that they actually do! It has been thrilling to discover more and more about cars I knew nothing about. In the current issue, we’ve got a very entertaining look at Nissan’s considerable electric car history. I never even knew that Nissan had a considerable electric car history! Turns out the LEAF is just the first one people have heard about.
This magazine was then joined by Classic Jaguar, which has also proved utterly fascinating to put together. I’ve always enjoyed the history of Jaguar, how a maker of sidecar bodies in Blackpool became the builder of some of the most iconic cars we have ever seen.
Some of the most beautiful cars too. Few companies have won Le Mans several times, with cars that are absolutely joyous to look at. Race cars have a tendency to be ugly and functional, with the possible exception of some Ferraris (certainly not all – I think the 250GTO is actually quite ugly) but Malcolm Sayer managed to design race cars that cut through the air like a knife, but also looked quite, quite beautiful.
The juxtaposition between these two magazines I find exceedingly enjoyable. These are two very different worlds, but also both fascinating ones. While I have my favourites in the world of classic cars, I’ve never been one to get too blinkered. There’s too much of that in the world, so I’ve always embraced as many different makes and models as possible. I try to edit these magazines with that in mind. Feedback suggests that fans of these cars enjoy reading them, but I try to ensure that they’re also very accessible to those who perhaps don’t know these fields quite so well. An interesting car feature is hopefully of interest to people outside these worlds.
Happily, it looks like more of the same is on the agenda for 2017, with some possible new projects on the horizon too. That makes me very happy, because writing feature is fine, and something I very much like to do (I still do plenty for both magazines), but crafting a magazine from cover to cover really is something else. There have been long days and sleepless nights, but every time a new issue lands on my doormat, it feels so worth it.
There are other bonuses too of course. Income levels have risen, which has enabled me to (very nearly) complete the 2CV project. Your contributions made this project possible, but it’s only extra income that has enabled the project’s completion. It has eaten up an awful lot of money! The things we do for our little lumps of steel, glass and rubber eh?