Chili dogs and Rolls-Royces: Ride along with America’s tip automobile critic
May 7, 2014 - box office
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A few things we competence not know about Wall Street Journal automotive columnist Dan Neil: He’s a brownish-red belt in shorin-ryu karate. A decider once outcast him from Craven County, North Carolina. Neil plays guitar and undertakes contractor-level home-improvement projects. He’s a polyglot who will report himself as a polyglot and afterwards patiently explain what that means. And he might’ve been a black belt in shorin-ryu, though he refused to attend in a final sermon of head-shaving. “Then as now, we was endangered about my ears adhering out,” he says.
While Neil lives in Raleigh, N.C., he prolonged ago split ways with a Raleigh News Observer over a mainstay in that he recounted carrying sex in a Ford Expedition. (He was dismissed after refusing to concede editorial control of destiny reviews.) Neil eventually landed during a Los Angeles Times, where he became a initial and still usually automotive publisher to win a Pulitzer Prize for criticism. But his gusto for contrast editorial bounds stays really most intact. we worked as a author on “The Car Show” on Speed, where Neil was a host, and we was in a control room examination a writer expression as Neil asked hilariously inapt questions of racer Dario Franchitti. “Hey, it was taped,” he says.
Elsewhere on TV, Neil is a visit guest on “Real Time with Bill Maher.” He appears in “Who Killed a Electric Car?” as one of a sole outspoken counterpoints to a film’s conspiracy-theory agenda. “GM would build a automobile that ran on pig s–t if there were a sire in it,” he tells executive Chris Paine.
Neil’s sensibility veers between professorial polish and spirited youth immaturity. Cars are his categorical muse, though spasmodic he’ll road into a examination of a jetpack or carbon-fiber sled. (That would be a Snolo Stealth-X, a seating position of that he described as, “Like carrying a 40-mph Pap smear.”) Neil substantially could’ve been one of a nation’s inaugural literary critics or experts on Eigenvalue decomposition, though conjunction of those fields would embody circle time in a McLaren P1.
While readers competence assume that Neil is constantly behind a circle of some arrange of exotic, a existence is that cars like today’s subject, a Rolls-Royce Wraith, are still an event. “I don’t caring who we are,” Neil says. “If you’re blasé about this, you’re in a wrong business. Because this is a sweet-ass ride. Period.”
- Arts Entertainment