Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Wow, I Miss Royal Ford

I live in the Boston area and the only use I've had for the Boston Globe (the hard copy) in recent years has been to read the automotive section. I always enjoyed Royal Ford's weekly column in the Globe. He struck a great balance between giving important information to everyday drivers when reviewing a vehicle, but also pointed out some of the more specialized aspects of the car for enthusiasts. Sure, he'd take the occasional jab at German companies for higher prices and higher expected maintenance costs in some cases, but the banter was always playful and he also gave a nod to the excellent way those cars drove. He is a journalist to be respected.

In complete contract to Mr. Ford is Sherrice Gilbash. Let me start by saying I think she fits in wonderfully for the website she writes for - Motherproof.com. The articles she writes are clearly geared toward Moms who are shopping for a grocery-getter but maybe with some niceties attached that Moms can appreciate - and surely, even some Dads.

But some of her articles have shown up in the Boston Globe lately, front and center in the automotive section where Royal Ford's (and then Cars.com journalists') used to reside - and strangely, they have not been republished on Boston.com. Even reviews by Cars.com folks will show up on the Boston.com website a day or so after the review is published in the paper. Not so with those written by Sherrice. Not too important, but odd and of note.

Here are some of the bits and pieces published in the Boston Globe recently:

For the 2009 Volkswagen CC 3.6L 4Motion review:

From the outside, the CC is incredibly smooth-looking — think stilettos and a black mini dress. This car turns heads and even gets people to point; that’s something I usually discourage my kids from doing, but in this case I told them it was a compliment. I started feeling guilty for being in sweats with no makeup when I was driving the CC.

Combine that punchy power with VW’s 4Motion all-wheel drive, and the CC proves you can look sporty and sexy and still plow through the snow like it’s nobody’s business. Too cool!

Stilettos, black mini dress, sexy, and the full sentence (?) "Too cool!". Again, clearly geared toward a female demographic, and that's fine for Motherproof.com, but for the Globe?

Here's more from her 2009 Audi A4 quattro review:

From the outside, the A4 has an incredible presence. It exudes style and sets the tone for the complete image of what and who an Audi driver is. I certainly wanted to be seen in the A4. For me, it was like wanting to be seen on that one day each month when I actually do my hair and makeup to pick the kids up from school. Darn it, I worked hard on my look and I want to reap the rewards of recognition!

This car may carry carpool by day, but by night — look out! My husband and I enjoyed a night out on the town while I had the A4. Getting ready, we felt as if we had to dress to the car’s level of class — definitely strappy heels with this one! As we hid the booster seats in the trunk, we glanced at each other with glee and said, “No kids!”

Sherrice goes on and on about the snack space given in the A4's rear armrest too. She focuses on what the driver should be in relation to this car instead of taking this car on a track and seeing what it can actually accomplish, and how it compares to its rivals and current technology in the marketplace. Honestly, anyone halfway familiar with German cars will surely find the armrest storage feature useful, but a little nod in that direction is all that's needed - not paragraphs worth of praise. An Audi is something you want to drive, and again, while her articles are useful for readers of Motherproof.com, I'm not sure why The Boston Globe switched from Royal Ford's more technically oriented articles with still a dash of his excellent, witty personality, to just about anyone on the internet who reviews cars. Maybe they'll ask me to write a review for them next?

By the way, there doesn't appear to be an official Royal Ford website, so here I'm linking to the closest thing I found in Google...enjoy!


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