MilePost is the monthly online newsletter of the Motor Press Guild
Dean Batchelor Award 2012
The Story of 'Excellence' by Karl Ludvigsen
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Brad Nelson - Editor, photographer, graphic presentation
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Laura Burstein President
Aaron Gold Vice President
Chris Martin Treasurer
Joni Gray Secretary
MPG Business Operations Manager
MPG Web/Communications Manager
Media Guide Manager
The Motor Press Guild is the largest automotive media association in North America. This exclusive, non-profit organization is dedicated to upholding the highest ideals in automotive journalism and promoting education and information exchange within the motoring press. Members include print journalists, photographers, broadcasters and new media professionals, as well as public-relations representatives, consumer groups, and governmental bodies tied to the automotive industry. Student memberships are available as well. For more information, please visit www.motorpressguild.org.
Motor Press Guild
P.O. Box 4215
Redondo Beach, CA 90277
2012 DEAN BATCHELOR AWARD
Karl Ludvigsen Wins the 2012 Annual MPG Dean Batchelor Award
Tom Bryant receives Lifetime Achievement Award at the Guild's annual celebration of excellence
in automotive journalism.
— story by Brad Nelson; photos by Myles Regan
Prolific automotive author and historian Karl Ludvigsen took home yet another prize for one of his finely-crafted books, this time capturing the Motor Press Guild's 18th Annual Dean Batchelor Award at the Guild's annual awards gala on a delightful December evening at the Petersen Automotive Museum.
Ludvigsen's book, "Porsche: Origin of the Species," grabbed top honors from a strong field of finalists that included Silvia Wilkinson's "The Stainless Steel Carrot: A Racing Odyssey-Revisited," and Jade Gurss' "In the Red: The 2001 Season with Dale Earnhardt Jr." in the book category. "Origin" also won Best Book of the Year.
RACER Magazine Publisher Paul Pfanner introduced the finalists, depicting Ludvigsen's winning book from Bentley Publishers as "an in-depth exploration into the specific influences and circumstances that brought forth the first Porsche-badged sports cars." The volume includes a forward by Jerry Seinfeld, whose original Porsche GmÜnd coupe is also a key feature in the book.
Supporting Pfanner with book review duties were Michael Jordan, senior editor at Automobile Magazine, and freelance automotive journalist, Ken Gross.
Best Article of the Year went to Greg Sharp for "The World's Fastest Hot Rod," published in the The Rodder's Journal, Spring 2012. Sharp's finalist competition included previous DBA winners Peter Egan for "The Dillinger Trail" in Road & Track, March 2012, and Thomas Stahler for his piece in the May/June issue of Vintage Motorsport, "Tambay the Phoenix."
Former MPG President Kevin Smith presented the works of the Best Article finalists, describing Sharp's piece as "a massively detailed account of the So Cal Speed Shop's streamliner" famously driven by Dean Batchelor to a speed of 210 mph in 1950. Smith also served on the Best Article judging panel which included former Car & Driver Editor Csaba Csere and MPG Board member John Clinard.
Greg Sharp (left) and Kevin Smith
Micah Muzio and Michael DeLano won Best Audio/Visual of the Year for "KBB Races a Mazda Miata" (Kelly Blue Book - KBB.com, Feb. 22, 2012), a video piece documenting their adventures in Spec Miata racing. MPG Vice President Aaron Gold presented the category finalists which included Todd Deeken and Paul Schmucker's "Corvette ZR1 Review - Exotic Driver" (Everydaydriver.com, Sept. 27, 2012), plus Alistair Weaver's "A Look at London's BMW Art Drive" (Insideline.com, August 6, 2012). Vincent Duffy (news director at Michigan Radio, Kiet Do (CBS News reporter) and Jeff Zwart (commercial director and photographer) served as judges for the Audio/Visual category.
MPG capped the evening by honoring former Road & Track Editor Thomas L. Bryant with its Lifetime Achievement Award. MPG's John Clinard gave a brief intro and highlighted some of Bryant's achievements before handing the mic to John Lamm, who paid tribute to Bryant and his staff at R&T. Lamm then yielded to Alma Hill (wife of the late Phil Hill), who shared warm thoughts and funny stories of Bryant.
Michael Delano (left) and Micah Muzio
Alma Hill Tom Bryant Tom Bryant with his wife, Patty, and friends
The MPG Board of Directors present the DBA Award. A packed house for the DBA banquet.
Click here for a large gallery of banquet photos, courtesy of Myles Regan.
2012 Award Winners - Summary
- Dean Batchelor Award - Karl Ludvigsen for his book, "Porsche: Origin of the Species" (Bentley Publishers)
- Best Book - Karl Ludvigsen, "Porsche: Origin of the Species" (Bentley Publishers)
- Best Article - Greg Sharp, "The World's Fastest Hot Rod," (The Rodder's Journal, Spring 2012)
- Best Audio/Visual - Micah Muzio and Michael DeLano (Kelley Blue Book - kbb.com, February 22, 2012)
- Lifetime Achievement - Thomas L. Bryant
MPG thanks all of the participating sponsors for helping to make the 18th Annual Dean Batchelor Award a huge success:
- - - PLATINUM SPONSOR - - - - - - SILVER SPONSOR - - -
- - - PARKING SPONSOR - - - - - - BEVERAGE SPONSOR - - - - - - TROPHY SPONSOR - - -
- - - TABLE SPONSORS - - -
A MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT
Dear MPG Members,
With the new year often comes change. In just a few days, the 2013 Board of Directors will take the helm. Significantly, all three newly elected board members come from within the public relations field. With three journalist members ending their terms, that means the new board will consist of six PR members and three journalist members. This represents a dramatic shift in the balance of power within MPG leadership, and I hope the board will continue to uphold and strengthen our organization's objective, "... to further the professionalism of automotive journalism," as stated in our bylaws. Please join me in wishing the new board the best of luck in the coming year, and in thanking outgoing board members Charlie Vogelheim and Greg Whale for their efforts over the course of their terms.
The Dean Batchelor Award banquet was a delightful evening, with great company and fantastic food. One past lifetime achievement winner said it was the best DBA he'd ever attended. Many special guests were in attendance, including DBA lifetime achievement winner Tom Bryant and his wife Patty. Congratulations to all of our winners, and thank you to all of our extremely generous sponsors, who enabled us to put on a first-rate party (a full list of sponsors, as well as a story from this year's DBA winner Karl Ludvigsen, appear elsewhere in this newsletter). A special shout-out to board member Joni Gray for spearheading this gargantuan effort.
Wishing you a healthy and prosperous 2013,
— Laura Burstein
MPG’s Luncheon Meetings are typically held once a month, with dates and locations noted below. All working journalists and industry professionals are welcome to attend. Price is $25 for MPG members, $40 for others. Arrive by 11:30 am for networking, with lunch beginning at Noon. For latest event details and driving directions see the NEWS page on the MPG site.
January 8: Luncheon at the Proud Bird with NHTSA Administrator David Strickland.
The 2013 MPG Board of Directors election results are in!
Please join us in welcoming and congratulating our three newly-elected Board members: Darryll Harrison (PR), Deb Pollack (PR) and Doug Stokes (PR).
We'd also like to thank outgoing Board members Laura Burstein, Charlie Vogelheim and Greg Whale for their hard work and dedication to making MPG the best organization of its kind.
Thank you to all!
Joseph Santos - Kelley Blue Book; Irvine, CA; firstname.lastname@example.org
Adam Kaslikowski - Editor, Drivingscene; Santa Monica, CA; email@example.com
Robert Kerian - Director of Photography; Panorama City, CA; firstname.lastname@example.org
Andrew Schuth - Freelance; West Hollywood, CA; email@example.com
Camilo Alfaro - Autoproyecto LLC; Los Angeles, CA; firstname.lastname@example.org
Marshall Buck - Sempre; Los Angeles, CA; email@example.com
David Nguyen - AAA; Heathrow, FL; firstname.lastname@example.org
Melissa Knight - Freelance; Los Angeles, CA; email@example.com
Joe Carella - Joseph J. Carella Associates; New York, NY; firstname.lastname@example.org
Michael Kroll - Lexus; Torrance, CA; email@example.com
Dwayne Shumate - AAA; Heathrow, FL; firstname.lastname@example.org
ALL MEMBERS: Note that you alone are responsible for managing your profile and contact info in MPG’s database. Log-in to your account at www.motorpressguild.org: Find the "Profile" tab and then click on "Edit." Make sure to click the “Save” button (bottom left) when you’re done. This is the data published in MPG's annual Media Guide/Membership Roster and you are the only one that checks its accuracy.
— by Karl Ludvigsen
After a very appreciative Karl Ludvigsen heard that he had won the 2012 Dean Batchelor Award for his recent book, the renowned author thought our members might take an interest in the turbulent backstory to his landmark project, "Porsche—Excellence was Expected," and the progress of its subsequent updating. — Ed.
I really should have dedicated my Porsche book to Warren Fitzgerald. A genial and knowledgeable designer and educator, Fitz was a good friend in the mid-1960s when we were both working for General Motors. Active as a journalist in his spare time, Fitz wrote Ferrari—The Sports and Gran Turismo Cars with Dick Merritt. For the same publisher, Bond-Parkhurst in Newport Beach, Fitz agreed in 1971 to write a book about Porsche. I admit it—I was envious!
Having written the early chapters of his book, Fitz had the bad manners to die suddenly in October 1972. At Bond-Parkhurst my friend Dean Batchelor was editorial director. Knowing of my interest in the topic, Dean asked if I’d finish what Fitz had started. I was thrilled to take this on as a tribute to my fallen friend. Dean sent me not only Fitz’s work but also photos from the Road & Track archives that included the fine Porsche images of Kurt Wörner.
Soon I had misgivings about this approach. Too often in reading through Fitz’s work I found words like ‘probably’, ‘possibly’ and ‘perhaps’. I knew that people still living, close to the Porsche saga, could describe what actually happened. I told Dean that I was going to start from scratch and tell the story in my own way. In October of 1973, with the help and encouragement of Tom McDonald of Porsche of America, I visited Stuttgart to conduct interviews and carry out archive research.
A bombshell exploded in January 1974. I picked up the phone in my studio in Pelham Manor, New York to hear from Dean that he’d been let go by Bond-Parkhurst. This was a shocker. No relationship is more important than that between an author and his editor. Dean and I had already worked together on The Mercedes-Benz Sports and Racing Cars and I had great faith in his honest and correct guidance. No known replacement was on the horizon. I didn’t see how I could continue with the Bond people.
It was my turn to make a phone call, this time to L. Scott Bailey in Princeton, New Jersey. Scott knew I was working on Porsche and said more than once that he wished I were doing it for him. We’d worked together from the earliest issues of his pathbreaking Automobile Quarterly. Scott instantly said he’d like to publish the book. I had to dismantle the arrangements with Bond-Parkhurst, made more difficult by a call from Elaine Bond urging me to carry on with them.
Back to California went the advance I’d received and, most regrettably, the Kurt Wörner photographs. But as luck would have it I was just acquiring the 40,000-odd-negative archive of Rodolfo Mailander, who’d also covered Porsche’s early years. With that sorted and a contract from Princeton Publishing, I set to work. I was back in Stuttgart in May 1974 for the celebrations of Porsche’s 25 years of car making and more interviews. An important contact then was Ghislaine Kaes, nephew of the original Professor Porsche. He opened some elusive archives for me.
Though my original outline called for 22 chapters, this was quickly outdated. Researching and writing as I was to please the world’s most demanding customer, the Porsche owner, my chapters were expanding and then fissioning. I wrote without successive drafts. Switching during the project to an IBM Selectric ‘golf ball’ typewriter, I laid down word after word with only minor corrections. How I did it I have no idea!
With Porsche constantly introducing new sports and racing models I saw my task as unlikely ever to be completed. I’d built up such a huge equity in finished chapters that at one point, probably late in 1975, I urged Scott Bailey to consider going ahead with publication of the book’s first half. Wisely he demurred. Ludvigsen signs an original copy in 1978.
Even worse, other authors were starting and finishing Porsche books while I laboured on. John Bentley’s Ferry Porsche autobiography and Paul Frère’s story of the 911 were two, while Porsche insiders Jürgen Barth and Lothar Boschen had a book in the works as well. Was it even going to be worth my finishing?
Adding a frisson to the proceedings was the intervention of a new editor Scott had hired. Though he knew zilch about Porsche or cars, the new man didn’t hesitate to mangle the carefully crafted phrases in which I’d sought to conceal my lack of knowledge or to trample on the chapter endings and beginnings that I hoped would urge the reader onward. The arrival of his edits in Pelham provoked furious phone calls to Princeton. Finally we found a modus operandi that worked pretty well.
A mini-crisis erupted when book production began. Scott told me that the book was just too big at 450,000 words. I’d have to cut it by 15 percent, he said. Swallowing deeply, I could only acquiesce. I decided I’d take out all the excerpts from road tests that did so much to communicate the changing character of the cars. In the meantime, however, Scott talked to people in the world of Porsche, among them dealer and expert Chuck Stoddard, a close friend from our days at MIT. ‘You do the best book you can,’ Chuck told Bailey, ‘and if it’s good we’ll buy it.’
To his credit Scott Bailey accepted the unprecedented financial challenge of publishing a car history of 888 pages with more than 1,000 illustrations. He promoted it well, getting the author to sign 500 first-edition certificates and booking orders in advance of publication. Porsche—Excellence Was Expected emerged from the presses at Kutztown, Pennsylvania in time for 1977’s Frankfurt Book Fair and the Christmas stockings of America’s Porsche enthusiasts.
Looking back, Scott and I were never sure how many of the books we published. Estimates were between 15,000 and 20,000 copies. Bailey then sold Automobile Quarterly to CBS Publications, after which it was in the hands of the printers in Kutztown for a while. Then it was sold on again. Meanwhile the original book fell out of print and the rights to it reverted to me.
In 1996 I went to Hershey in America to receive an award for my book on the Mercedes-Benz racing cars. There I met Michael Bentley, son of Robert Bentley from whom I’d bought many motoring books when I was a student in the Boston area in the 1950s. He and colleague John Kittredge asked whether I’d be interested in doing a new edition of Excellence with Bentley Publishing. It took us a while to get everything sorted, after which I began work in 1998.
We decided to revise the book from scratch, fixing any known faults and adding information in the earlier chapters. Bentley sent the original book to India where it was retyped so I had electronic files to work with. As we began to get an inkling of the final size they decided to break it into three volumes to make it easier to handle. Expanding it took about as much time as writing the original book, so the new edition came out at the end of 2002.
Now we’ve updated it again, also reaching back into chapters in Volume 3 to make changes and additions. A new feature is full-colour illustrations for the newest chapters. It makes for a bulky third volume but I don’t think Porsche people will mind. At least I hope not!
— Karl Ludvigsen The author signing an updated version at Porsche.
WANTED: Your Stories!
We hope you find this corner of MilePost a fun and creative opportunity to tell us a story that involves YOU. The stories can be about most anything (within the normal bounds of good taste, of course): Adventures you've had; special talents you possess; what you drive; your first car; a car you crashed; one you lived in; epic drives (or not so epic), etc. In other words, think freely. Shoot for 400-700 words and include some images (preferably with you in the picture, too) that help tell the story. Send your material to: email@example.com. Let 'em fly!
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Tom heard there might be karaoke at the banquet,
so he brought his best opera voice.
Motor Press Guild, P.O. Box 4215, Redondo Beach CA 90277 • 323-374-3674