My Car Quest

July 20, 2024

Editorial: No Ford Reports from Our Correspondent

by Wallace Wyss –

I recently wrote a note to a long time Ford PR man (I think I first met him in 1970 at a Pantera preview) and thanked him for inviting me to see the new 2024 Mustang in Pebble Beach but more recently wrote and asked my name be removed from their PR invite list because he said no test cars would be coming my way.

In other words he wants me to write about new upcoming Fords without ever getting behind the wheel. That’s like inviting a restaurant reviewer to write reports on the food at a restaurant after being told: “but you can only look through the window and watch diners dine.”

He had told me some years earlier that he had to cut down his list of auto journalists so he could include social media types, folks from the music and entertainment worlds. (Knowing anything about cars is not important).

And so it goes. The next Ford preview, I won’t be there. This from a guy that wrote at least five Ford books one of which sold 50,000 copies. It might seem contrary but I still write about Rolls, Ferraris the creme d’ la creme, but that’s more from a design critique point of view (and Ferrari did loan me a 308GTSi only over 50 years ago!)

I think car makers want a new crop of young journalists each year who can be counted on to scribble their name as the byline on a press release and hand it in to their editor. I even feel guilty about lying to the public when I was at different magazines.

Say at Road Test when Bill Quinn was awarding Mazda a Car of the Year award. He had me shoot the picture so the big hole in the trochoid housing of the test car wouldn’t show. Or how about the preview of some French car, I think Renault, at Riverside? They told us journalists it being a four cylinder turbo it “was just like a Porsche.” Well, when three of the journalists got to the infamous Turn 6, their mounts rolled. End of preview. But not a word mentioned about poor handling in the zines.

And when I co-wrote a book about the development of the ’05-’06 Ford GT I was shocked there was no trunk, that in a “Gran Turismo” car. And the rear body panel was warped and didn’t fit. But I wanted the book to be pro-Ford so now when I see ’05-’96 Ford GTs I feel squeamish that I didn’t point out those flaws.

I also write a lot about Tesla though they don’t loan test cars but that’s to make up for being a decade late coming to the Electric party. I’ve yet to read another letter from a journalist cutting themselves off from an automaker’s PR gravy train but I hardly think the word “journalist” applies if you write that road test from a distance, your nose pressed up against the showroom window…

Let us know what you think in the Comments.

Wallace Wyss art

THE AUTHOR: Wallace Wyss has been a guest lecturer on car design at the Art Center College of Design. As a fine artist, he has completed over 50 paintings of Ferraris. For postcard samples write malibucsrart@gmail.com

 
 
 
 

2024 Ford Mustang

Summary
Editorial: No Ford Reports from Our Correspondent
Article Name
Editorial: No Ford Reports from Our Correspondent
Description
I recently wrote a note to a long time Ford PR man (I think I first met him in 1970 at a Pantera preview) and thanked him for inviting me to see the new 2024 Mustang in Pebble Beach.
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Comments

  1. Seems like “No test car” sour grapes retribution…. How many Rolls Royce, Lamborghini, and Ferrari test cars have you been given in the last 10 years ??????

  2. Short sighted on Fords part…

    • Agreed. To exclude Wallace, who is a Ford enthusiast and who has written books on Ford cars, and to pivot to social media “influencers”, is indeed short sighted. I for one, would love Wallace’s take on the new Mustang vs. someone without the same breadth of knowledge.

  3. Motivations can only be inferred, but I agree with Wallace, who seems to be a useful professional in this context without a vested interest to bias test data in favor of the objectives of an elitist agenda which has contempt for market-driven demands.

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