When I was first started reading car magazines, never dreaming that one day I’d eventually write and take photos for a bunch of them, one of my role models was Dean Batchelor, who I started reading when he was a lead editor at Road & Track. Dean went from being a California hot rodder – nearly killed while trying to set a Bonneville streamliner record – to being an erudite man of words at a variety of West Coast magazine titles and an early founder of today’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, arguably the world’s most prestigious car show. Today, the Motor Press Guild, based in Los Angeles, the nation’s largest group of automotive media professionals, names its highest award for excellence in automotive journalism in Batchelor’s honor.
The MPG annually names finalists in multiple categories from which the winner of Dean Batchelor Award is chosen. Last week, the awards were presented in Malibu, and we were honored by being one of those finalists, in the form of the story of the restoration of Tucker 48 number 1044, the only pre-production Tucker prototype renewed with the direct participation of Preston Tucker’s descendants, which appeared in the inaugural issue of Crankshaft magazine. I’m pleased to report that the Batchelor award went to my colleague at Speed Sport magazine, John Oreovicz, for his book “Indy Split,” a definitive and sad history of the war of attrition between CART and the IRL that undermined the sport so deeply. I’ve been at this a long time, and to have your body of work associated with Dean Batchelor’s in any way is indeed both humbling and gratifying.