My longest gig as an automotive journalist was as a columnist for Audi Driver, another enthusiast print publication that eventually went to the wall in 2019. My journey with the title started in 2001, shortly after I moved to Munich and went freelance. I will remain eternally grateful to the late Paul Harris for the opportunity, and to the patient and dedicated Neil Birkitt, who took over as editor when Paul passed away in 2015.
My column started off as “Bavarian View”. I was living in Audi-land, just 50 miles or so from Ingolstadt and perfectly placed to pick up stories and attend press events. Five years later, I left Munich and headed for New Jersey, rather assuming that the guys at Audi Driver would no longer require my services as a columnist. Not so! Paul decided to rename my column … wait for it … “American View”. It was a great time to be writing about Audis in America. When I arrived in 2005, the brand’s sales figures were in the doldrums, having never really recovered from the “unintended acceleration” crisis resulting from an item on CBS’s “60 Minutes” in 1986. In 2005, annual sales of Audis in the US were around the 70-80,000 mark, way behind the figures scored by rivals Mercedes and BMW. By the time I left America in 2011, the model range had expanded significantly and sales were up by nearly 50 percent to almost 118,000. I would like to think that my column played a part in that 😉
I left the US to return to my native Scotland, and with the Audi Driver office based down south near Milton Keynes, I was once again expecting my days as a columnist to be numbered. But no, it was an opportunity for yet another name change – this time to “Global View”. Enough of this faffing around with just one country – time to take on the whole world!! Thus, I ended up with a global remit, to dig out Audi stories from anywhere on earth that took my fancy – from the comfort of my home office of the banks of the River Earn in Perthshire.
And that’s where my Audi Driver journey finally came to an end in February 2019 when its publishing company, Autometrix, went into receivership. Having failed to catch the digital wave, it clung resolutely to good-old printed paper and ultimately sank under its own glossy weight. Very much missed by its loyal, but clearly insufficient readership.
In the space of 18 years, I wrote nearly 200 columns and dozens of feature articles. Some have stood the test of time, others most definitely not (diesel anyone?). Here are a select few from over the years. Just click on the link at the bottom of each image to open a pdf of the article.