Cars Movie Not About Cars, Formula 1 Analyses: My Top 5 Stories of 2017

Here are my five faves from nine months of writing for The Drive.

byJames Gilboy| UPDATED Dec 27, 2017 10:32 AM
Cars Movie Not About Cars, Formula 1 Analyses: My Top 5 Stories of 2017

A lot can happen in nine months. No, I'm not talking about pregnancy. Prior to my first appearance on The Drive this past March, my portfolio of automotive journalism was a thin folder consisting of posts on a Wordpress blog I hadn't touched in close to two years, and a pair of articles written for Corvette Online, for which I was rewarded with $40 and a cold shoulder. Nine months after responding to what amounted to a help wanted ad in March, I'm here, a couple hundred articles deep into my work with The Drive. During this time, I have written some things I am genuinely proud of.

Though it was tricky to pick favorites, with some of my own (and Kyle Cheromcha's) best work among the casualties that are the honorable mentions, I managed to pick out what I consider my best work this year.

1. One Man's Journey to Clone Toyota's Never-Raced 222D Group S Rally Car

The Toyota 222D was an MR2-based rally prototype, intended for the successor of revered rally classification Group B. As a consequence of several violent deaths, Group B was canned, and its Group S successor along with it. Toyota's entry, the 222D, was little more than a myth among rally and MR2 enthusiast circles for over two decades before its existence was confirmed after appearing at Goodwood in 2006. Inspired by the 222D, an intrepid Belgian man by the name of Wim Hapers decided he'd replicate the car from photographs alone, and then race said replica in hill climbs. The car is incomplete, so the story is too, and I'll be writing an update when further progress has been made.

2. BMW Halts U.S. i3 Sales Because One New Hampshire Woman May Hurt Her Neck

BMW paused American sales of the i3 due to failure to protect the smallest twentieth of women in frontal crashes, provided no seat belt is worn. I was curious how many people this would affect, and after some math (which you can examine by reading the article,) I concluded that the problem, in all likelihood, impacts but a single woman living in New Hampshire. Nice job, BMW.

3. Did Sebastian Vettel Blow His Championship Chances in 2017?

As one of the writers who covers Formula 1 on The Drive, I was intrigued by the claims that Ferrari's inferior reliability had been the sole factor in Lewis Hamilton seizing his fourth championship win. After examining the entirety of Sebastian Vettel's season, I concluded that points were lost due to Vettel's own errors in Russia and Azerbaijan and that there was a precedent to suggest he could have won in both Spain and Singapore.

I will be forward with my point of view and admit that I am no fan of Vettel. That said, being dishonest with my appraisal of his driving this year would be a disservice to myself and others. Integrity is a requisite for arriving at a conclusion worthy of respect. To not give him credit for his own success and absolve him for blame for things beyond his control would be a mark against my character.

4. This Honda Civic Wants to Be Earth's Greatest Front-Wheel-Drive Time Attack Car

What do you get when you combine a turbocharged Honda V6, a featherweight hatchback, and aero elements that appear to be stolen from a bulldozer? LoveFab's "Beastie," a sibling of the Enviate Hypercar (a prototype that raced Pikes Peak this year), is meant to be the fastest front-wheel-drive time attack cars in the United States, and maybe the world. Should Beastie ever appear at the World Time Attack Challenge, LoveFab will get a chance to call its car just that.

5. Disney-Pixar's Cars Isn't Actually About Cars

There's more substance to this story than its simple title. In it, I analyze the themes of Disney-Pixar's Cars. I link my own experiences of Route 66, the American Southwest, and holiday traditions with the messages carried by the film, divorcing its premise and setting from its meaning. If you have at any point seen the movie, I humbly request you give this a read.