Jerry Flint, Curmudgeonly Automotive Journalist, Dead At 79

Illustration for article titled Jerry Flint, Curmudgeonly Automotive Journalist, Dead At 79

Jerry Flint, the official curmudgeon of the auto journalism world whose career dated to the Eisenhower administration, died Saturday. We fly our ascots at half-staff in his honor today.


A tireless chronicler of Detroit, Flint was born in the city on June 20, 1931 and went on to receive a B.A. in Journalism from Detroit's Wayne State University in 1953. While in school he worked as a copy boy for The Detroit News and with other publications. Shortly after graduation he enlisted in the U.S. Army where he served for three years.

His first major journalism job was with The Wall Street Journal's Chicago bureau in 1956, where he served for a year before transferring to Detroit and began his more than half-century of coverage of the city's main industry. He'd go on to work for The New York Times as the Detroit bureau chief and numerous other positions with the paper. He started with Forbes Magazine in 1979 and would fill many positions with the publication until his death.

In 1996, Flint began writing a column for Forbes entitled "Backseat Driver" and another column for The Car Connection called "Driving Forces." As a pundit he covered the rise and fall of the automotive industry, giving many column inches over to poking and second-guessing decisions made by auto executives. We often disagreed with Flint and questioned his choice of necktie, but we always respected the spirited opinions he formed in decades covering the industry.

The loss of Flint is the loss of an incredible journalist and one of the industry's most legendary voices.

In lieu of flowers, please send donations in memory of Jerry Flint to the Overseas Press Club Foundation, 40 West 45th St., NY, NY 10036



As the old guard passes, you carry a larger load, Matt. I'll miss the classic print guys, that's a fact. But I also know where I can always get trusted and irreverent auto journalism when I want it: Jalopnik.