Some automotive publications are happy bringing their audiences nothing but sleep-inducing reviews of press cars, dispatches from shrimp-filled junkets, repackaged press releases and bone dry industry news. At Jalopnik, we do things a little differently.
The year end wrap-up you’re about to read is the Editor’s Picks: my selections for the very best written work we put out this year. (A list of our top traffic-grossing stories is also coming, if you want to see how our stuff did from clicks alone.) The hardest part was choosing which ones to highlight here; I had a lot of real gems to choose from.
I’ve spent the last six months running this joint and I somehow managed not to crash it into a wall. Then again, how could I when I have a team that’s this brilliant, insane and passionate about what they do? The best part about being EIC of Jalopnik isn’t the cars, or the trips, or the giant platform I have to be a screaming iconoclast: it’s the amazing people I get to work with every day.
Here’s our best work of 2015. I hope you’re looking forward to an even better 2016.
Much ink, the Internet kind and the real kind, was spilled over the premature death of what we knew for a long time as Top Gear. But Chris Harris wrote the very best article anyone’s ever written on the subject. It’s the last word on the era of Clarkson, May and Hammond.
Fantastic digging and writing by Tyler. Probably my favorite Foxtrot Alpha story ever. What happened to these people is mind-blowing. If you haven’t read this one, you should.
Alanis’ take on what do with Sea World after its inevitable demise is hilarious and imaginative.
I always admired Travis, who now runs RoadandTrack.com, for being one of the rare people in this business with driving and writing talent in equal measure. With aid from our ace photog friend Dave “Puppyknuckles” Burnett, he turned out one of our best car reviews of the year and one of the finest takes on the new Miata anyone had.
David Tracy is brilliant and delightfully nuts in the best kind of way. Next time you want to take to Oppo to bitch about how Jalopnik isn’t as “Jalop” as it used to be, read his stuff on The Garage. He’s as Jalop as you get.
One of Jason’s older stories gets called out by a most unusual Internet subculture, and Jason fired back. The war rages on.
What’s it like to hit the mountain roads of Japan with real drifters? Cue up your favorite Super Eurobeat album and read this great story by our gal in Japan Kat to find out.
Raph and Mike spent A WHOLE YEAR running this crazy rumor down. This is the story of how they did it, and how we still aren’t sure what to think of the Saleen S7.
In an honest, clever way, Freddy writes about how he came to understand stance culture by connecting these drivers’ love of cars with his own childhood experiences.
Yeah, this sucked (and continues to suck) but at least I work for an outlet that’s honest when its writers fuck up. That’s more than you can say for most in this business.
Stef did a great job being the voice of reason (as she often does) in response to a very ugly incident that got framed in an even uglier way.
Some first-rate bullshit-calling by Jason here. After it ran she conceded she made up the whole thing and apologized for it.
A great story of the American dream as told by Nicole. Reach for the moon, boys and girls!
Think car culture is only for the olds? Read Raphael’s great story and you’ll see why you’re wrong.
Lots of journalists attended Volkswagen’s big Passat party right after the Dieselgate announcement, but Mike was the only one to step up and say what an epic shitshow it was.
Máté loves Jaguar, Williams Engineering and the C-X75, and his love for the car and its unlikely journey from concept to Bond Car really comes through in his writing. Sometimes a car review is more than just a car review, and that’s what we have here.
This was when I knew I had found something really special in that Sean MacDonald kid. We need to get him in more crazy non-bike vehicles in 2016.
Lately I’ve held this up as the example of what a Jalopnik Review should be. The storytelling by Andrew is fantastic, as are the photos by our own Michael Roselli. And have you listened to the exhaust note on that V6? I think I spat coffee all over my keyboard when I did.
Longtime friend of the site Alex Roy emerged as one of the top voices in automotive journalism this year with his thoughtful, well-written series on the future of driving. Make sure to read parts 2 and 3 also.
Stef is awesome because she can kick your ass at the track and then help you fix your busted race car—all with fantastic-looking nails. This story comes from a different perspective than you get in most gearhead media and it’s a ton of fun.
Fuck this lazy garbage story from the Post.
A most unusual story from Jalopnik, but one that’s compelling and fascinating (and terrifying) thanks to Raphael’s keen researching and writing.
Mike addresses something everyone has wondered about but nobody will ever say out loud. Wanna race? Start saving up.
Stef did a heroic job sifting through hundreds (thousands?) of pages of court documents to put this story together. It’s some first-rate investigative reporting. I wish more people had read it at the time. You should if you haven’t.
The real world may not have Batman, Superman or Captain America, but it has Andrew Collins. And that’s good enough for me.
David turns a repair into a celebration of the joy involved with tinkering and wrenching.
You guys, I don’t think we’re getting a Christmas card from Saleen this year.
The next time you think of using UPS to ship your quad-rotor engine to the U.S. from New Zealand, maybe explore other options instead.
I’m still kind of pissed General Motors never answered for this one. When the Hummer fire recall finally happens, expect some serious football-spiking from us.
After spouting off some insane revisionist bullshit on LinkedIn, a disgraced former car executive gets a badly needed, old-school Gawker takedown from Matt.
Mike’s take on a very difficult situation in New York is my favorite kind of journalism: the kind that sheds light on people who need help. We don’t often get to do it in the car world, but I’m glad we put the spotlight on what’s happening in Willets Point.
Raphael’s story about the deadliest race around is one that will stick with you for a while. Also, that top art by Gawker’s Sam Woolley is maybe my favorite Jalopnik illustration ever.
“Morley Safer’s ‘32 Ford Rail Rod.” That alone should show you why Jason Torchinsky is the greatest mad genius around. If he ever tries to leave Jalopnik, I’ll rob banks to throw money to make him stay. Or kill him. You hear that, Jason? You can never leave me.
If you’ll allow me to toot my own horn for a second, I think this is the best story I’ve ever done, period. I spent about two months reporting it and another month writing it. Whether through mounting public pressure or just a weak-ass case, the owners got their Land Rovers back when the feds dropped the case. And lawyer Will Hedrick forever cemented himself as a Jalopnik Hero.
Doug’s Nissan Skyline ownership stories were some of his best yet, but this unfortunate tale was my favorite.
This may be my favorite Lanesplitter review to date. It made me want to ride the Indian Scout Sixty, and isn’t that the whole point?
From Máté, the first draft of a story destined to become racing legend someday.
Everyone’s heard of NASA, but few have heard about the dark side of the space program, “one based around shadowy military payloads, not white-world science and discovery.” Tyler’s retrospective on this program is utterly fascinating.
What is Jalopnik if not a place for people to express love for their cars? Westbrook did that here in a funny and charming way. I love everything about this story.
I completely forgot to include this very special gem the other day and for that I apologize to you (and Mike) profusely. God, Ted Turner must be weird.
Contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.