Automotive journalism is one of the subjects that fueled my love of cars. I remember reading Motor Trend magazines, while watching Top Gear in my living room when I was a wee little lad. Cars gave me a sense of escape; whenever I’m with car I feel at ease, in a state disconnected from life and all of its pitfalls.
Good things come and go. Over my life so far, I’ve been exposed to many great examples of automotive journalists. Some are old, and traditional, while others are a young, and contemporary. Never the less, they all portray automobiles with honesty, and passion. So without a do, here are my tops 5 Automotive Journalists of all time.
5. Timothy “Tiff” Needell
Needell began automotive journalism, after an exciting career as a racecar driver. Having raced in Formula 3, and in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, one can pretty much be sure that Mr. Needell can drive. Originally, Tiff was a co-presenter on the old Top Gear but after it was cancelled Tiff moved over to Fifth Gear where he is still hosting today. Aside from TV, Needell also contributes to Evo, both via YouTube and Print.
Tiff, to me, is a connection to the past. He is constantly pulling old school references out of his vast knowledge of automobiles. This makes his media both entertaining, and quite informative. And for the record, he can still drive. In fact, he is a regular at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. Tiff is a real OG.
4. Jethro Bovingdon
Jethro is a staple at Evo. He began as a road tester in 2001, and slowly become one of the most renown in game. He is a highly skilled driver, having raced in the 24 Hours of Le Mans as well as having a set a few lap records. Jethro loves driving fast, revving engines out, and most importantly getting sideways.
Jethro’s work provides us with a perspective that few people can deliver. Jethro drives without a limit, which is why he is on this list. He pushes the cars he reviews to the point of breaking. He’ll drive a Ferrari through inclement weather, without a helmet, on a British hill road as if he were in a video game. Need proof, just look at the video below.
3. Richard Hammond
Richard “Lofty” Hammond is special. He’s not the best driver. He’s not the smartest presenter. And he’s not the tallest. But Sir Richard Hammond can communicate. You see Hammond was a radio personality before Top Gear. His words are full of charm and charisma, which is probably why he narrates most of the Top Gear specials.
That being said, Hammond’s display of driving is still entertaining to watch. It’s playful and fun. He is a hoonigan.
2. Jeremy Clarkson
Jeremy Clarkson to many is a typical celebrity, always craving attention. He makes controversial remarks, creates international uproar, and instigates violence (Piers Morgan). He has no filter, what so ever, which is why he is one of the best Automotive Journalists in the world. If a car blows, he will say it blows. If a car is great, he will say it is great. Clarkson has built quite the reputation over the past few years. People listen to Clarkson, which is why automakers are careful about the cars they provide to him. Clarkson is a great, a true legend of the automotive world.
1. Chris Harris
Mr. Harris is a freelance automotive journalist from England. He has worked with most of the large auto magazine out there, as well as Evo and /Drive. He’s a great driver, a great speaker, and most importantly honest. Chris Harris, to my knowledge, was the first journalist to call out Ferrari on their special prep for review cars. This was huge; up until then no one would even dare to anger Ferrari for fear of losing the privilege of driving Ferraris. But Chris couldn’t take it anymore, which is why he published a piece exposing Ferrari’s wrong doing. Ferrari, as a result, temporarily banned Chris from getting his hands on their cars directly. This didn’t keep Chris from getting his hands on Ferrari’s. Ferrari owners provided Mr. Harris their cars for him to totally whip around racetracks for YouTube videos (that just shows how awesome some people are).
Mr. Harris is my inspiration. He’s a great driver, a great writer, and a great journalist. He speaks the truth, risking his reputation, for us the readers. He is the best automotive journalist to date.