Harry Douglas is a sad reminder of auto-journalism's past. He's a paranoid schizophrenic with a FlipCam and a dream. Canadian journalist Michael Banovsky delves into the strange world of America's worst car critic. — Ed.
I'm not quite sure how I stumbled upon Carconcerns.com, but I'm glad I did. The hopelessly outdated design, flashing .gifs advertising products (including one that makes your car invisible to cameras), and a smattering of widgets — all with a personal approval from one Harry Douglas.
See, Harry Douglas does car reviews. And as far as I can tell, he reviews press vehicles provided by manufacturers. Maybe he gets them because he used to be an "award-winning new car dealer," or maybe because he has a nationally syn-ti-cated car show every Monday through Friday, Eastern Standard Time, call 1-888-454-3378…
I've listened to Harry's show, and I've bought Harry's book. (I won't ruin things for you, but it starts off with a new car dealer being assaulted by his father, two armed thugs, and his lawyer; this happens in a dealership shootout. Agent Michael Scarn, eat your heart out.) I eagerly await his latest car reviews…er…videos, and am shocked that each usually earns fewer than 10 views.
So I went through more than 200 of his videos and spliced together some of the best bits. It's long, but believe me-someone more talented could easily extract many more laughs. Feel free to post your favorite clips in the comments.
Harry's work is great because it reminds me of the so-called Winnebago Man. Thing is, Harry is a far better worker than Jack Rebney ever was. His YouTube account lists more than 200 videos, most of which feature one or more of the following:
1) "Harry Douglas"
3) "Nationally syn-ti-cated"
4) "Hagåtña, Guam"
7) "Power steering, power brakes, power windows, power doors"
8) A slow walk out of frame
My day job is as the editor of Canada's best automotive website. I'd never let any of my writers deliver this drivel, but Harry's videos are strangely endearing.
Maybe it's how he hasn't shaken off the car dealer mentality, maybe because his assertions are always so laughable (the Car Concerns helicopter, Japanese cars are filled with radiation, that millions and millions have bought his CD, and the benefits of the mysterious Car Concerns "proving grounds.")
In terms of automotive critics, Harry Douglas is the yin to Dan Neil's Pulitzer-winning yang.
I didn't write this to shame Harry for his laughable "reviews" of new cars. Frankly, the fact he gets press cars says more about the industry than it does about Harry.
I wrote it so that more people can follow his work, call in to his show, and give him the attention he deserves. And I wrote it to help get his "American Motorist Vote Campaign" get off the ground. He's only gotten three fans so far.