One of the best things about living in LA has been my discovery of Dan Neil. I doubt I would’ve ever read the LA Times if I hadn’t lived here and I would’ve probably never heard of him, if not for the fact that he won the Pulitzer Prize in 2004 for his weekly column, “Rumble Seat.”
Dan Neil’s articles are less about the cars he reviews than they are about his exuberant writing (for me, at least). It’s witty; it’s fun, and refreshingly unselfconscious. Don’t get me wrong. His mastery and knowledge of cars is impeccable. All of the vital information is there: horsepower, handling, styling, specs, etc. Yet each article has it’s own personality. Dan Neil’s talent lies in his ability to translate the essence (or soul, if you will) of each automobile to his readers.
For example, here’s an excerpt from a recent review of the 2009 Cadillac CTS-V:
“For starters, there is a 6.2-liter Corvette-ish engine under the hood, supercharged to within a hairy inch of its life. This engine does not produce a mellow flutter, a deep sonorous rumble, a seismic stirring like that of some distant underground fault. No. This engine screams like it’s got its hand on the stove. It howls. It whines like the Season 1 DVD collection of “The View.” Good Lord, somebody stop throwing those crows in the wood-chipper.”
Do you get an idea of what this car is all about? I thought so.
A Pulitzer Prize-winning auto critic in Los Angeles: it just makes sense doesn’t it?