Terry Page, Founder of Page One Automotive — 1950-2017

Terry Page, the man who founded and managed Page One Automotive, passed away last Saturday, way too soon. This gentleman, who changed the way manufacturers distribute their cars to journalists like me, was always kind, classy, and welcome. His personal support and guidance helped establish the Western Automotive Journalists (WAJ), which is celebrating a quarter century of bringing car writers together in Northern California.

I remember first working with Terry back in 1993. I was helping him plan out a drive route for the WAJ Media Days event in Marin County in the beautiful back roads. It was a lovely day, and we were driving a red 1994 Nissan 240SX.

This man, and the many people who worked for him over the years, are always a huge presence at the annual WAJ Media Days event. We’ll miss Terry a lot at this year’s event, but I know that the experts who manage and work for Page One will continue the very high level of quality that we’ve all become used to.

It’s hard to imagine what it would be like to be an auto writer without Terry and his organization. Of the 1,200 cars I’ve gratefully tested since 1992, more than half were from his fleet.

Page One is a model of efficiency, courtesy, and frankly, magic. They help you plan a schedule of weekly test cars, deliver them clean and full of gas, and then pick them up or bring another a week later. They are adept at managing complex events, too. This model is worlds better than the situation before, when journalists were on their own, working directly with manufacturers. I owe much of my ability to write and enjoyment of this privilege to Page One and Terry Page.

It’s been a long association. Here’s me with my first car from Page One, a 1992 Chevrolet Lumina LTZ, in March of 1992.

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Here’s my most recent Page One car loan, a 2017 Chrysler Pacifica, which I turned back to them this morning.

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Goodbye, old friend.

 

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An Apartment, not a Hotel Room

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As an auto writer, I’ve been driving a new car every week from press fleets for  a quarter century. But on January 8, I took delivery of my new 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV. It was my first new personal car since I acquired one of the first Saturns in November, 1990.

Well, there’s something about having your own car. In more than 2,600 miles over nearly two months, I’ve bonded with my Kinetic Blue baby. I’ve realized that driving a car a week, as exciting as it may be (and sound) becomes impersonal. It’s a treadmill. It’s like being on the road with a Jazz band, staying in one hotel or motel after another with a steady stream of weekly gigs in towns across America.

But  I know my car now. I like changing Sirius XM and FM stations with a flick of my left hand on the button on the steering wheel column. Apple CarPlay lets me text by talking to Siri. I enjoy studying every flowing line of the dashboard and doors. I feel at home in the firm bucket seat. I can look through the little window in the otherwise enormous windshield pillar as I turn left. I’m grateful that I opted for the upgraded Bose stereo.

It helps that the Bolt EV is exactly the car I need. I can commute 36 miles round trip every weekday with no problem, and charge at my workplace. I need to carry a tall upright bass and it slips in with nothing more than dropping the rear seats and removing the delicate cargo cover. The rear compartment has a flat floor, making it easy.

The electric motor zips my Bolt ahead at a 6.5 second zero-to-60 pace, nearly silently. Freeway merges are easy and passing is no problem. As an EV driver, I try to conserve battery power, so I roll along at 65 tops on the freeway, which is kind of relaxing. What’s the hurry?

I select “L” on the transmission lever to use one-pedal driving. It provides much more regeneration than the “D” setting, which replicates a normal automatic. I’m hooked on “L” now.

In-town driving is fun with the firm, flat handling and precise steering control. The “L” driving feels a bit like downshifting when you come to a stop–the car helps you slow down–so it’s fun to position yourself accurately in the traffic flow that way.

I’m still testing cars for the newspapers and blogs that use my column, and I’ve got some fine hybrids on the menu. I’m even sneaking in a few significant internal combustion cars. But I know that when I want to, I can slip into my Bolt EV and feel at home anytime.