Happy Holidays and on to 2017!

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Posted 07 Dec 2016 — by Sam Haymart
Category PAPA News

It’s that magical time of year when we’re all busy looking forward to the holidays and the new year beyond. We’re hoping your 2016 was a successful one and wish you the best for the season and forward to 2017.

In that way, we welcome a number of new faces that have come to join our local journalist and blogger group this year as we look to another. Who would have thought Phoenix a hotbed of automotive scribes?

Fact is we are growing in numbers each year and the future is looking brighter than ever.

We invite all working media and bloggers who are members and those who may think about joining to consider what the Phoenix Automotive Press Association can offer.

Membership in our group gives us opportunities to network with one another but as important with the auto manufacturers. Throughout the year, events we participate in and organize bring us closer to personalities and news makers all around us here in Phoenix.

As we look to calendar year 2017 you are invited to give us some input and thoughts for coming events we might engage in. If you have an idea, hit the Contact Us link and let us know.

Also it’s that time of year for membership renewals. Annual membership is $25 and takes you though the entire year. If you are renewing please do by January 31st.

Next up in January, we have the Arizona Concours d’Elegance at the Biltmore and all the collector car auctions in Scottsdale. Stay tuned for more!

Photo credit: Mark Elias

Save the date: ALV Media Day October 20th

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Posted 23 Aug 2016 — by Sam Haymart
Category Events

offroadAn expanded media day program at this year’s Active Lifestyle Vehicle of the Year competition will feature a full day of driving, including off-road courses intended to demonstrate the capabilities of all-wheel drive and four-wheel drive. ALV is the only car-of-the-year program that combines the input of professional automotive journalists with elite and area athletes to determine which cars and trucks currently in production best meet the needs of buyers with active lifestyles. This year’s event is scheduled for Friday and Saturday, October 21 and 22.

The media day begins with an on-road drive from the San Marcos Hotel in downtown Chandler Arizona to lunch at Eagle Mountain golf club in Fountain Hills. After lunch, participants head northeast to the Butcher Jones Recreation Area in the Tonto National Forest for the off-road event. During the off-road program, journalists can continue to drive on-road vehicle entries through scenic nearby Bush Highway.

Automotive engineer and ALV jury panel member Eric Noble is overseeing the off-road program along with his colleagues at CARLAB, monitoring traffic flow and acting as a second set of eyes in challenging areas on the 20-minute out-and-back course. The out-and-back format facilitates driver swaps so all journalists will have adequate time behind the wheel of vehicle entries.

“As the sales of models with AWD increases, so does the interest in off-pavement exploration among adventurous buyers”, says Noble.  “This feature of ALV is intended to bridge the gap between normal pavement testing and the sort of extreme crawling that requires spotters and is prone to damage vehicles.”

The all-wheel drive course includes moderate elevation gain and a variety of surfaces including loose sand and rock. OEMs can tailor the course to show the specific capabilities of their vehicles by adding more challenging spurs off the main route.

The media program is the first day of ALV, with the athlete’s ride-and-drive and awards lunch on Saturday.

For additional information contact Sam Haymart, sam.haymart@steedpublications.com, Tyson Hugie, tysonhugie@yahoo.com, or Nina Russin, ninarussin@yahoo.com.

Cuba and its people: Cars, culture, change

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Posted 04 May 2016 — by Cathy Luebke
Category PAPA News

Interest in Cuba is on the rise with President Obama’s historic visit in March, but a couple of Phoenix-area residents beat him to the punch sharing their experiences at the April meeting of the Phoenix Automotive Press Association.

Brendy Priddy, known for her spy photography of yet-to-be-released cars, will lead her fourth trip to the island nation this fall. Ted Lagreid, a retired W.P. Carey & Co. exec, led an Arizona State Research team there just prior to Obama’s arrival.

Both agree Cuba is fascinating, the people fabulous, and change in the wind, but Lagreid adds “It’s very difficult in this country to get a balanced perspective.”

More straightforward, as evidenced by videos and photos seen recently, are the 60,000 vintage American cars on the road. That’s part of what attracted Priddy; some of her photos were featured in 2013 at a Chandler Center for the Arts exhibit. But her first trip was a KJZZ public radio people-to-people cultural exchange.

“I’ve always wanted to go to see the cars, but the people of Cuba were truly the highlight of my trip,” she says. “Being in the car industry, I realized that many of my friends, as well as the people that follow my journeys by way of my artwork, would also be interested in going, seeing the cars, the museums, and most of all – the people.”

Priddy has been very impressed with the people and the feeling of safety, walking around the cities at night. She fondly recalls a cab driver who picked her up in the rain when she’d left her wallet behind. Though they had to stop several times, to wipe the windshield, since his wipers didn’t work, she made the long trip back to hotel and wanted to get him his fare. He wouldn’t hear of it, she says. His smiling response, “My gift to you.”

It’s not just the cars that are old in Cuba, many of the buildings are crumbling giving it a Third World feel, Priddy says. The U.S. embargo after Fidel Castro seized power, means you don’t see many American cars made after 1959. There is the occasional Chevrolet pickup, new Audis and Mercedes in the hands of government officials, Ladas and other Russian brands.

“It’s amazing to see what they can do with their passion and resources,” Priddy says of the Cuban car owners resolve to keep their old vehicles running. You hear stories of people bringing in little bottles of paint from the U.S. and using diesel and tractor engines.

Lagreid has been to Cuba five times in the last 12 years. The goal of his latest trip was to see what’s happening on the island now and build a relationship between Cuba and ASU on matters both academic and diplomatic as part of the school’s global outreach initiatives.

He agrees that the Cubans are a resourceful people with challenges they must work through daily. There also are lots of ironies related to the embargo, he says. In contrast to the old cars, you see lots of American products, from Pringles to Rubbermaid carts. “It’s not his isolated place you think.”

And despite the crumbling infrastructure, some things are very modern. Cubans are a healthy people, thanks to an emphasis on preventive medicine, he says. Hospitals may not be fancy, but many doctors have a high level of expertise.

Children must stay in school until they are 17, helping to create a literacy rate of nearly 100 percent, he says.

As for the future, some things will change quickly, but most will evolve over the next decade, he says. “I don’t know how it’s going to play out.”

The first two months of 2016 brought 1 million tourists to Cuba, Lagreid says, so if you plan to go, be sure to have a hotel lined up.

Another caution, he says, is not taking things at face value but digging under the surface for the truth.BJ_5525_priddy

Ted Lagreid Ted Lagreid

Photos by Brenda Priddy

For more: cubaWithBrendaPriddy.com, tedlagreid@gmail.com