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Please welcome Sam Smith to The Intercooler

8 months ago

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Andrew Frankel | Ti co-founder


31 October 2023

In the earliest days of Ti we identified the need for a contributor who could write about North American car culture. Not only is the subject fascinating for its diversity – the home of the world’s most successful EV startup is also home to those who consider the right to own a V8 should be enshrined within the US constitution – but the passion of those who immerse themselves in it. Having someone in that role might sell a few additional subscriptions too.

So, thought I, I’ll just ring Sam – he’d be perfect. Sam is Sam Smith, one of the most erudite motoring writers in his or any other country. He’s worked for The New York Times and Esquire, was both executive editor and editor-at-large at Road & Track magazine, hosted shows for the NBC Sports TV network and once stuck a car on the front row at the Goodwood Revival. So he can pedal a bit too.

Please welcome Sam Smith to The Intercooler

But Sam turned me down flat, which in my ignorant arrogance I’d not really anticipated. I was a trifle put out: had we not broken enough bread, drunk enough beer and speared sufficient steaks together for him not to want to work for a tiny startup with an uncertain future for what by US standards would be a derisory amount of money?

That wasn’t the issue. It was the fact he already had a job with a contract stopping him working for anyone else. No problem, said I, just moonlight under another name. But he wouldn’t do that either: he’d given his word. Sam’s quite annoying that way.

Please welcome Sam Smith to The Intercooler

Everyone else was one, some, or all of too expensive, contracted or conflicted. Eighteen months passed. Then a round robin from Sam: he was stepping down, heading home and returning to freelance journalism. I probably waited five minutes before responding.

So Sam has now joined our stellar line up of writers, with a new monthly column called ‘Road America’ with a brief simply to report on the American car scene. As one of our subscribers commented after his first piece was published this month: ‘Sam Smith is one of our national treasures. Beyond ecstatic he’s on here.’ Us too, willfitze. Us too.