Hemmings Editor Slams Concours

Craig Fitzgerald, the former editor of Hemmings’ Sports & Exotic Car, has publicly slammed automotive concours through a controversial blog post at Boldride.

It’s all about the “Five Reasons Concours Suck,” which in the author’s world has us believe that events such as Pebble Beach and Amelia Island serve no purpose other than to exclude and, by extension, outright harm the hobby from which all manner of niches have grown and flourished. Magazines included. The author rants on pricey hamburgers, anal-retentive judges, and the grassy knoll. Oh, the cars come into play here and there.

I won’t sully the pages of CPI with this malcontent’s verbal diarrhea so take your chances here if that’s your choice. The author also took no prisoners by slamming CPI and my background, but as they say, all is fair in love and war. But for Chris sake, can you at least spell my name correctly?

Comments from others…

What am I missing here? The author describes himself as an Editor of a Vintage car magazine and photo journalist. I’m assuming it’s how he makes his living. Ever hear the term “biting the hand that feeds you”? I hope the Chairpersons, Founders and Sponsors of all auto related events go out of their way to avoid Mr. Fitzgerald and any magazine he is associated with.

Wow, what an ill-informed piece of drek. The article, too. I suppose this guy complains when there are other people in a museum, too. There’s no consideration in this article for people that donate their time and money to bring their cars to these shows so that the fundraiser aspect of these venues can be successful. We’re not all Jay Leno. Some of us have to dig deep. BTW, Mr. Fitzgerald, the others that post here will tell you that many of the cars on the showfield are driven, not just to the show, but out to dinner and to other events. Try getting your fact straight.

Well, a few years ago I was the one who actually handed out the Credentials at Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, probably to you even. BUT, If it was for me to decide on any year in the future, you getting in for free (and probably asking for more SWAG) I would laugh in your face. You should not be in this vocation with the impossible attitude you have.

And from my good friend and Amelia founder Bill Warner…

I think that perhaps you should stick to just the parking lots. I’ve never read so much drivel in one blog in all my life. P.S. Don’t request Media Credentials from us. ..
Am I gonna include comments pro to Fitzgerald’s case here? Hell no.
I just don’t get the world down there at Hemmings. Since ACBJ took over twelve years back, the once respected publishing house has become a breeding ground for all manner of malcontents.
Memo to Fitzgerald: Update your resume.

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There Are 23 Responses So Far. »

  1. No way this guy will get another reporting gig at a major show. I won’t let him into our tractor pull.

  2. I did read his blog post and the comments. Fitzgerald sure went to town on you! Some like shows and some don’t and there’s 50 shades of grey in between. This guy’s problem is that his profession is (was) to cover events of which the biggie concours form a large part of reporting. Sadly for Fitzgerald those days are over.

  3. So the guy calls out a bunch of over moneyed pretentious fuckwits for having expensive cars that they don’t drive and that makes him a poor automotive journalist? I am willing to bet a guy like that can find plenty of work without smoking pole to get a press pass at Pebble.

  4. I “get” Craig and his persona, which has occasionally ripped strips off my skin off and left me angry with him. Two major points: 1. Mr Fitzgerald has not been employed by Hemmings for a while. 2. He completely gets the stupid show of rich self pleasurers showing off their over restored museum pieces to a combination of well heeled rubes and slack jawed twits. The additional pleasure of overpaying for toxic food and dealing with marshalls who took their personnel training from the French riot police are just the honey on the turd.

    Craig is probably very happy to never have to go to Amelia, Monterey, Phoenix, or any place else rich donkeys bray about how much they have sunk in cars.

  5. Wendy… I’m glad you chimed in. We’re all human more or less! But let’s stick with the central issue which has less to do with the position one takes on a subject, but how it is communicated. Fitzgerald’s event-slamming parallels that of criticizing a hobbyist’s vehicle, restoration effort, or even their clothes. Face it, the big events—auctions included—are a fact of this marketplace and to malign their role, flawed and sometime selective as they may be, denies that this market is vibrant and growing thanks in part to the public’s ongoing patronage of Big Circus. Consider the cars that would further languish or be lost altogether had it not been for “the fancy rich dudes” who don’t mind spending 10X over a car’s worth to save it from destruction. Us average Joe’s won’t do that, but Jay Leno, Sam Mann, John Mozart, and Peter Mullin will. In so doing, they realize impossible restoration efforts to the public eye. You don’t have to like them, share their politics, eat their food, nor breath their air, but without them many magnificent machines would languish for lack of the fat wallets needed to preserve a key portion of our automotive heritage. I am disappointed that Fitzgerald’s obvious quest was to find some subject area where he could unleash what I would charitably describe a grade-school level critique.

  6. Wow Mr. Fitzgerald you certainly have created your own pile of excrement. Your elitist premise is so preposterous it defies any sort of logic. Who among us would not prefer to drive or even ride in a Concours vehicle let alone be fortunate enough to own one? Why not then be able to view them in a park like setting, yes often overcrowded by a number of like minded enthusiasts also not fortunate enough to own cars of this standing? I am one of the great unwashed with a lifelong passion for all things automotive, dare I say restored, original (even tatty) over restored, modified, Hot Rods, Resto Mods…well you get the idea, but again perhaps you don’t. I have a feeling that your controversial piece was created for its shock value likely in a feeble attempt to spark a lackluster career. SHAME ON YOU

  7. Mr. Fitzgerald: I represent the marketing interests of a number of aftermarket companies whose activities including event sponsorships. Your blog post has been reported to the SEMA governing body and any effort on the part of Hemmings, Boldride, or yourself personally, to engage with my client companies in any form whatsoever will result in actions that leave no doubt as to your limited future in this industry.

  8. The article contains some good points, but…

    “…where the cars are actually drive on public roads…”
    (How about DRIVEN?)

    “…as you listen to some crappy Dixieland band plays the hits…”
    (How about PLAYING?)

    That’s just downright sloppy.
    The fact that he was an EDITOR (especially at HEMMINGS) speaks for itself…
    (Also, it must be part of the DNA over there, to bite the hand that feeds them.)

  9. There is repairable job burnout and then there is writing one’s own epitaph on the way out the door. R.I.P. C.F.

  10. I disagree. The article does not contain any good points. Fitzgerald seems to have laid a big pile of his own excrement in his own pillow case.

  11. I never expect much from an article that has the word “Suck” in the title, and got what I expected when I read it. The sad part is Mr Fitzgerald misses the entire point of a Concours event, and I’m personally glad he most likely won’t be on any judging team in the future.
    The point of French or Concours judging is not to nit pick the condition of the car. The cars are evaluated on the basis of significance of design and engineeering, color choice, artistry of appointments, etc. More subjective stuff-the presence of the car more than perfection of the restoration. In pure french judging the hoods are not even raised.

    The automobile is the single most important and pivotal invention of all time. To fault us for celebrating its heritage and educating the public and future generations of the glorious history of automotive design and manufacturing is to fault our entire way of life. There are paintings and then there are Van Goghs. There is furniture and then there are Stickleys. There are cars and then there are Bugattis.

    Im personally glad that interest in our hobby has grown to the point where there are many Concours events, and sad for Mr. Fitzgerald and people like him who just doesn’t get it, and think it’s all about money. It’s not.

    Shawn Miller

  12. This line from Fitzgeritol’s drivel is priceless:

    “I’ve been a judge at several Concours D’Elegance events, and I’m always shocked that anybody decides to do it a second time.”

    The fact that hardly anyone has ever heard of this guy is probably what led to the controversial blog. He’s making a name for himself. As they say, any publicity is good publicity.

  13. While I can understand Mr. Fitzgerald’s desire to see the cars in their natural environment this is what we have. How do you get most of the existing bugatti royale’s at one venue? How can you insult the judges at pebble? I’ve had a number of cars there and the effort that I put in and the sophistication of the judging makes you want to come back. The concours can be long – but if Mr. Fitzgerald had actually owned a car he might have heard what we all hear – “thanks for bringing your car so I could see it” The public loves to see these cars!

  14. Fitzgerald, you otta get out more! Concours judging in recent years has changed a lot from nit picking at details to whether looking at the car makes the judges heart beat faster. My Alfa received a 2nd in class at Villa D’Este with a large dent in the fender and a rope holding the door closed (due to an incident 3 days before the event).
    You mentioned judging at SEVERAL concours, so you DID go back!
    If you’re a car guy, you’re a car guy. Doesn’t matter whether it is a soapbox derby runner or a Bugatti. We use our cars in whatever way is within our personal realm of the possible. It is not about money. If you started doing Hurst floor shift conversions on your 55 Chevy in 1960 and now have a $500,000 concours winning gem, it was likely all about evolution. Buy it, work on it, it appreciates, sell it, add what you can afford to move up a notch and so on. Eventually you have a car worth more then you could ever afford to buy. The most hated question by an admirer is ‘What’s it worth?’ An old English friend had the perfect answer, ‘I won’t burden you with that information’. Showing (and using) cars and seeing them appreciated (not for their value!) is gratification for all those weekends of grease under your fingernails.
    Is it any different for others with a passion for their hobby…golf, sailing, skiing? You do it at the level that suites your circumstances.
    Fitzgerald, you don’t get it because your not a car guy and missed your vocation as a journalist covering Quilting Bees, but you probably wouldn’t get their passion either.

  15. I have a 20-year career in the automotive aftermarket working as product liaison with a number of fuel delivery specialists. I don’t know this Bethany whomever but I can tell you that stupid articles written strictly for shock value have no place appearing in the context of a so-called professional blog purporting to cover the industry. With a declining demand for paid professional automotive writers, those like Mr. Fitzgerald who live on the edges will soon realize their Darwin moment. But if you persist in polluting the airwaves, next time pick a subject that 1.) you actually know something about, 2.) are able to use facts to support your case and not road rage bullshit, 3.) propose practical solutions to the problems you are in fact able to quantify, and 4.) get therapy.

  16. Martin Geffen said it best. There is little I can add that either West Peterson or Martin Geffen haven’t said. Job well done, fellows.

  17. He makes some valid points about the excesses of the concours events but that’s typical of what humans do in any field. Some like it that way. I prefer cars in motion, too, rather than just sitting still. So I drive mine and you can enjoy yours however you wish. I judged a meet in Boston this spring and most people weren’t interested in the judging. They were just happy to finally have their cars out. Chill out, man!

  18. Oh where to start.

    First up we have Craig Fitzgerald; a writer who provides copy to the Boston Globe (which I read) and some websites. Craig effectively uses social media to let his followers know when there’s something worth reading, even if it isn’t his work. In fact Craig used social media to let us know your little rant has been on your home page for over six months.

    In the other corner we have Eric Killorn LLC who managed to register a catchy domain name and Legal Zoom for a quickie LLC. The site appears to be a vehicle for Eric to show us all how smart he is.

    As a guy who loves just about anything with an internal combustion engine I’ve had a ball at places like Larz Anderson, Owl’s Head and other events were the vehicles arrive under their own power. I’d rather view a car and talk to an owner who turned wrenches rather than some pretentious douche who’s idea of restoring or maintaining a classic is to write checks.

    I’d think that an expert such as Mr. Killorn LLC would be fully aware that the uber rich poser crowd is in decline while regular folks go nuts over sites like Bring a Trailer or Bold Ride. I believe Mr. Fitzgerald has provided content to both of these sites and many more.

    Then again since the six of the main stories were written in 2012, with the two most “current” from spring of 2013 I suppose we can agree with Eric that print is dead; ergo websites espousing expertise with regards to print media are surely soon to follow.

    For God sakes man, you’re supposed to be a media expert (how else could you pass judgement on others) yet your site is stale.

    Media guy running a tombstone website… FAIL

  19. CPI’s chief mission is to report on the web strategies of automotive publishers so I expect a long life span for my blog, and it’s nice to know Mr. Fitzergald and others seem preoccupied with CPI’s posting frequency. True enough, my focus this year is building Pixacar into an appealing social community for enthusiasts. I’m not afraid to work hard and take risks knowing that not every effort will materialize but such is life. Rob, what have you done to improve the dialog among car enthusiasts? Surely you have a blog of your own, a website, a magazine or even a syndicated column? Show us your stuff.

  20. I read Mr.Nye’s comments about Eric who I have known for 30+ years. In fact a particular paragraph of Mr. Nye starting off with “as a guy who loves just about anything with an internal combustion engine I actually thought he was talking about Eric not than himself. Rather than being a poseur and a admirer of the elite set Eric drove a wonderfully original, some would say ratty, Model A Dusey for a number of years. For the uninitiated, perhaps Mr. Nye among them, a Model A is often though of as heavier weight of another Model A…..made famous by Henry Ford! So much for Mr. Nye’s comments gleaned from a single reference. By the way Eric is SMART, since when has that been a pejorative term?

  21. Why do the number of whiners and back seat drivers seem to grow disproportionately to people like Killoren who are actually sticking their necks out and doing real work? Like he said, what have you done lately M. Nye??

  22. man did this story come alive!

  23. Nye’s claim to fame appears to be that of attending car events. I’m impressed.

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