If blogging is one of your New Year's resolutions, get some inspiration from these three motoring bloggers
Whether you’re looking for car reviews or maintenance tips, electric motors updates or photos of much-loved classics, car blogs are a great place to while away time for motoring enthusiasts. But with so many blogs out there, where do you even start?
Do you go for the behemoths that’ve been around in print and digital for years, or look to the smaller sites run by truly passionate car fans?
If you’re looking for the latter, then we’re here to help! We’ve chosen three of our favourite motoring blogs and had a chat with the owners and editors to dig a little deeper into their blogs.
Carwitter – Blog of the Year 2017
Owner: Adam Tudor-Lane, 29, Milton Keynes
Twitter handle: @car_witter
A Peugeot mega-fan who worked in IT after finishing school, Adam Tudor-Lane has transformed his love of cars into a successful blog – Carwitter.
After winning Blog of the Year 2017, owner Adam took the plunge in Feb this year – he quit his full time job to focus entirely on the blog.
Here’s his story...
Five years ago, Adam’s 11,000 Twitter followers would never have heard of Carwitter. He was working as an IT engineer installing broadband around the Midlands. But outside of the 9-5, he had a passion for cars and was running a Peugeot owners club for the 207. It was at a car maintenance event, where he got chatting to a former Peugeot PR in a bid to wangle a loan of the new 208, where his journey to successful blogger began. Adam didn’t go to university and has never studied journalism. But after chatting to someone at the Peugeot 208 launch who told him ‘if he could string words together then just go for it’, it was decision made - Carwitter was born two weeks later.
Thousands of fans later, Adam is now working full time on the blog.
What makes Carwitter different to all the other auto blogs out there?
It’s professional enough in the way we cover things that it competes at the same level as the big players such as Auto Express, but it’s still completely independent. We have no contracts in place with any manufacturers so we are totally unbiased – which, perhaps, not all the big blogs linked with manufacturers always are.
What’s Carwitter’s most successful post?
It’s never the ones you think it’s going to be! I’ve got my hands on some really cool cars like a Rolls Royce or McLaren and you think ‘this is going to do really well’, but then it dies out quite quickly. Whereas one I wrote on Zeiss driving lenses just keeps going. I also wrote a piece comparing the Peugeot 207 to the 208 ages ago and every month it gets so many hits.
What car do you drive day-to-day?
I drive press cars two weeks per month normally, but I have four cars of my own – three Peugeots and a Renault. My main car is a Peugeot RCZ R. But when it comes to my favourite car I’ve ever driven, it’s probably the Mercedes SLS gullwing. I had it for a couple of hours and it was one of the first sports cars I drove. It was a freezing cold Monday morning and I got into the car and just thought ‘this is awesome’.
Owner: Ken McEwen, 67, Aberdeenshire
Twitter handle: @DriveblogUK
Celebrating its 10th birthday, driveblog.co.uk was set up by Scotsman Ken McEwen who made the switch to online after seeing local print and radio journalism start to decline in Aberdeen.
As well as working in print journalism, Ken worked on a number of radio programmes in Aberdeen for over a decade. But one by one the different outlets started drying up and Ken started looking for something new.
What was the first article to go live on the blog?
When I was starting the blog, because of the columns and radio shows I was doing I used to get cars sent to me to review, so it was probably a test drive.
But now most the articles on there are my impressions of cars that I have had the opportunity to drive – everything from a mundane hatch back right up to the McLaren 720S, albeit just for an hour though! Every now and then I do something more political if there’s an issue I’m interested in.
What’s the best car you’ve ever driven?
The best car I’ve ever driven was the Ferrari Testarossa; I had my tape recorder with me to do the radio stuff and I asked my colleague to drop the clutch so I could record the sound. He got a bit over excited on the pedal and the sound bar on my recorder shot off the end of the scale, and there were two black tyre marks on the road. That was something special.
In recent times it’s got to be the McLaren 720s; I drove the 570 GT last year but the 720s is the top of McLaren’s mainstream range. Day to day I drive a VW Golf R.
What have been some of your best moments?
I was completely stunned when Cision named driveblog one of the top 10 motoring blogs in Britain two years ago; you could’ve knocked me over.
How do you decide what to write about on your blog?
I like to look at the trends and look at what’s coming up in the future but with a sense of reality. I did a piece on the government’s statement on petrol and diesel cars being no longer available to buy, but I was really looking at the potential problems surrounding the changes.
For example, there’s potential to still have petrol and diesel cars but with light hybrid or electric motors – so you’re almost bending the legislation to get around the new rules; that’s something that could happen. And there's the potential for a surge on the National Grid at commuting times if everyone comes home at the same time and charges their car; that’ll make Corrie’s ad break surge when everyone makes a cuppa look like nothing!
Editor: Gareth Herincx, 51, Somerset
Twitter handle: @Automotive_Blog
For the past four years, Gareth Herincx has been editing automotiveblog, something he describes as a labour of love. After leaving behind his corporate job in London, Gareth and his family moved to the countryside and the car-lover was finally on the road to pursuing his passion of writing about motors.
How did you start blogging about cars?
I came across automotiveblog and saw a lot of potential. The owners were keen for me to take it on and it grew from there. It was a large learning curve for me – to be able to compare one car to another; it’s been a really great journey.
How do you make your blog stand out from the crowd?
Our mission is to inform and entertain – features and news written in an accessible way, not full of huge technical detail. Anyone can read a review and get a sense of whether or not it’s a good car and the right one for them. The news is something a bit different to the articles you will see elsewhere. We have a few offbeat stories.
What’s the best-performing article on your website?
It largely depends on the promotion the articles get on social media; that’s the great thing about social – it’s a level playing field. It allows you to punch above your weight and compete with the big names. Tips and advice pieces do well, anything from driving in winter or on motorways tend to do well and are often picked up by other companies in the auto industry.
What’s the best car you’ve driven?
I drove the McLaren 720s which is possibly the fastest car I’ve ever driven; it’s ridiculously fast and on the road you just about sample 20% of its performance. I’m a massive classic car fan and I got the chance to drive two of my all time favourite cars this year, both of which are automotive legends - an immaculate 1989 BMW M3 (worth about £80,000) and a 2005 Honda NSX (estimated value, £100,000).
Another stand out moment was driving the Rolls Royce Dawn. That was the most amazing thing to be driving around in for a week. For a start, it’s huge and it’s just another world in there. It has a huge amount of power and you just feel very special in a car like that. It’s a remarkable experience and other road users treat you very well.
As well as the motoring hall of famers, I also get to road test more “every day” cars; 2017 was a great year for superminis such as the Nissan Micra and the Seat Ibiza.