Never Stop Driving, the latest in a seemingly endless line of well done automotive books from Quarto Publishing (Motorbooks), is a 200 page meditation not entirely on cars, but the act of driving itself; what it means to us, the gearheads, what it should mean (if you believe the authors), and what it ends up meaning when you realize cars aren’t the thing, the destination isn’t the thing, but the journey is the thing.
Or something like that.
Never Stop Driving: A Better Life Behind The Wheel
It’s easy to wax philosophical about cars and what they mean to us gearheads, since we seem to be on the verge of their demise, yet again. Do not worry, my young Padawans, this BS happens every so often. Cars have been on their deathbed since 1946 (give or take). Who knows, this time it might take. This time a combination of resources and finances; and lack of desire and environmental impact might brew up the perfect storm for the demise of our favorite way to feel our hearts beat faster, but maybe not. We might cheat the death of the automobile again.
Never Stop Driving: A Better Life Behind The Wheel consists of four parts (of sorts) written by four authors: Zach Bowman, Larry Webster, Jack Baruth, and Brett Berk. Everybody gets around 40 pages to makes their case and say their piece. There’s a nice epilogue from McKeel Hagerty, CEO of Hagerty.
The Life We Live
Bowman’s section is called The Commitment and is more about choice, and how we, all of us gearheads, pickthis life. No, life is too prosaic. Choose cars and speed and going from here to there; and what choosing this ride gets us. It’s in three parts: The Debate, The Hunt, and You Have The Car – Now What?
Peace in The Wrenches is a more meditative part by Webster, former Editor-in-Chief of Road & Track. I’m glad someone else noticed that despite all the noise, there’s an odd but peaceful, Zen-like center with cars. Webster cuts his section into three parts, Left, Right and No Brain, The People You Meet, and Family Hour. All worthy topics that are not at all ancillary to what we have chosen to do with our free time and the skin on our knuckles.
The Joy of Driving is Jack Baruth’s piece, and he even goes so far as to start off Chapter 8 with a quote from the vaunted and peerless Dr. Hunter S. Thompson, a true roadman if ever there was one. Of course, Baruth doesn’t live up to that standard; very few writers came close besides Tom Wolfe and such, but be that as it may. Baruth muses on breakthrough designs and how they age, the endless nature of the road itself, and what takes place to us along the way.
Sprinkled throughout are guest pieces by other authors to spice up the reading and, possibly, any follow up discussions. Sadly, this is where the only real misstep occur. Someone thought it would be a good idea to give Sam Posey a few pages, and that is never a good idea. Posey was a mediocre driver and a mediocre broadcaster. It is a sin to encourage the mediocre. Not to take anything away from any of these writers, especially Hagerty (one day I will have the Lotto garage to end all garages and I’m going to need insurance), but the best, most stirring and inspiring part of Never Stop Driving is this little, almost addendum tacked on at the end titled My Last Drive.
The Important Questions
My Last Drive is comprised of three questions asked of famous gearheads like Bob Lutz, Dan Neil, Peter Egan, and Jay Leno. The three questions are: Where I’d go, What I’d drive, and Who Would Join Me? As usual, Mario Andretti gives the quote that stops you in your tracks. “Who would join me: I would love to have my wife with me, but I lost Dee Ann on July 2nd, 2018.”
It’s that kind of book, from time to time.
Tony Borroz has spent his entire life racing antique and sports cars. He is the author of Bricks & Bones: The Endearing Legacy and Nitty-Gritty Phenomenon of The Indy 500, available in paperback or Kindle format. Follow his work on Twitter: @TonyBorroz.
Larry Webster is Hagerty’s Vice President of Content, where he oversees all print and web strategy. Webster is a longtime automotive writer who ditched an engineering career for Car and Driver in 1994. Since then, he’s test driven a Formula 1 car, raced in the Baja 500, served as Automotive Editor at Popular Mechanics, and Editor-in-Chief of Road & Track. Webster resides with his family in Ann Arbor, Michigan.