how to work to becoming a car writer
Tips from former Top Gear writer
4 Work for it
It's no good writing to a motoring magazine and saying you want a full-time job if you've no experience. You'll join that day's other 250 identical letters in the editor's secretary's bin.
It's better to work through various forms of journalism towards your target. If you're on a local paper, magazine or website try to do a free column about cars or offer to work with the garages that advertise to come up with some motoring editorial.
If you join an established local paper, and you're lucky, you may be able to help with the motoring pages - it's probably someone's part-time responsibility or their perk.
That's how I began: helping test drive the smallest and most boring cars that on-one else wanted. My first full roadtest was a Nissan Sunny. Everyone sneered at it but I thought the Sunny was great. I wrote a good piece and got another chance. Eventually I took over the whole motoring page and made it my own.
Once you get to that stage, even on a local paper, it's quite easy to ring the press offices of any car maker and ask to borrow a car for road testing.
Of course at first they'll have to check out who you are. If you are polite and sensible and can guarantee coverage of your roadtest, car companies will happily deliver a brand new car to your doorstep and collect it a week later. Yessssss, you've arrived.
Think that's good? Well, sometimes they'll offer you cars for longer. I've been lent brand new cars for up to a year just so I would write about how well they were going each month. The key is having an outlet for your words so they will get read and influence car buyers.
Once you've got some cuttings, web pages or recordings you have a chance, still a slim one, of approaching one of the motoring magazines.