As Hooniverse was getting built 10 years ago, I was starting my last year of high school. I’ve been a car enthusiast for a vast majority of my life and I had several good friends who were like-minded. I was also just starting to get a presence online and naturally gravitated to the enthusiasts on sites like Twitter and YouTube. Even before that, I would go run off to the magazine aisle to kill time while my mom shopped. I certainly enjoyed reading about cars and watching videos about them, but it wasn’t until my senior English class that I had even considered writing about them.
Miss Karcz was the first person to teach me that writing about your passion can be fun. She encouraged me to incorporate cars into my assignments as often as possible and once forced me to perfect this stupid little poem I wrote until we were both satisfied. She even read it to the class, which made me feel nice and fuzzy inside while likely horrifying the rest of my classmates. Still, I never thought about taking my newfound love for writing about cars to the next level. At least not until I began the next chapter of my life at Kennesaw State University, where my story with Hooniverse begins.
Being unsupervised for the first time of my life, I like every other freshman went crazy… and spent even more time online while sitting in my dorm rather than going outside and having a life. Having fallen in love with my father’s 2007 BMW 328i that eventually became mine, I got obsessed with German cars and started engaging with like-minded people a lot more on Twitter. Well one of those friends I followed had retweeted a post from Kamil which asked if anybody was interested in writing for this little car website he started. I remember sitting there with the tweet all typed up and thinking it over quite a bit before I hit send. I had a lot of reservations and insecurities about it, but something just told me it was a good idea.
@CarGuyDad I think I’m possibly interested. I can’t say how often I’d be able to write since I’m full time in college but I could try.
— Greg Intense Driving Pleasure Kachadurian (@GregCKach) September 15, 2010
He then DM’d me afterwards explaining that he was drunk when he asked that and it was at that point I knew I had made the right choice.
So thus began my “career” as an automotive writer. I along with the wonderful Bradley Brownell were the newest contributors to CarGuyDad.com and my first assignment was to cover my experience attending the Petit Le Mans for the first time. Of course right out of the gate I thought I was a shit writer, but Kamil gave me words of encouragement and plenty of lessons, so I kept at it. If nothing else it was just something to do. I wrote my first automotive news recap a bit later and made it a weekly thing.
Then in what seemed like no time at all, we merged with this fine site. I was nervous about how I’d be accepted as someone who reported on new car news almost exclusively, but I very quickly fell in love with this place. Above all else, I felt at home. So I just kept doing my thing and for some reason you all kept reading it (I don’t even read my own stuff) so I was kept around. With encouragement from Kamil and Jeff, I would occasionally branch out and cover more topics as I came across them. They’d send me things to write about and I tried to do it justice every time, and i guess they liked it. I also began to take my photography a little more seriously and eventually got a DSLR for maximum seriousness.
One of my favorite shots from this year’s Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona, made possible because of my seriousness and stuff
My first media gig was an opportunity to drive the face-lifted first-generation Porsche Panamera at the launch here in Atlanta. I felt like someone who lied on their resume and got the job, but it was my first taste of the journalist life and I loved it. For something I was just doing in my spare time to distract me from the stresses of college, I thought I was finally becoming a little less shit at writing.
And then one day I got an email from Jeff with Autoweek’s Rory Carroll copied on it. For reasons I still don’t understand, they wanted me to write a news column on a special 30 and Under edition of Autoweek magazine. All sorts of talent from across the online media space – all under 30 years of age – were summoned to create this special issue. Then there was me. I was so excited that I gave their poor editors 3 times as many words as they asked for. Nevertheless, I contributed to a real, physical, and legendary magazine. I got to hold a printed magazine with some of my own shitty words in it. I can’t even begin to describe how that felt. It was even sweeter when they asked me to do it again the following year, the reasoning for which I really don’t understand.
In my hand is a major automotive magazine with some of my words in it. Is this real life? pic.twitter.com/SK1CA8eCZt
— Greg Intense Driving Pleasure Kachadurian (@GregCKach) November 15, 2014
Since then, I made a point to go out and experience everything I could, especially when I was out of college. I went to more races nearby and across state lines, I got to attend the Chicago Auto Show with media credentials and see the Nissan LMP1 race car make its global debut, I experienced Monterey Car Week and got my first photo vest at Laguna Seca, and I got to do some other media things that Jeff didn’t want to do.
I even bought an old truck from my grandfather and drove it home from California for no reason other than because I wanted to. And for the record, that’s still my favorite thing I’ve ever written. I’ve also been able to meet some of those early heroes of mine like Matt Farah from The Smoking Tire who was extremely friendly even before I told him I was Glucker’s news boy. I’ve had photos featured on one of Farah’s articles on The Drive (I even got a shoutout on the TST podcast for that which made my year) and some on Jalopnik via Bradley Brownell.
I’ve been doing things I never thought I’d be important enough to do because I can say that I write for Hooniverse. A high school teacher helped me find my voice, but Jeff and Kamil gave me a platform. With it I’ve been able to reach total strangers who have managed to feel more like friends for the past nine years. I’ve been posting here specifically for eight years now and continue to keep going for as long as I can. I’ve been doing this purely as a passionate side gig while other amazing writers have used this site as a stepping stone for bigger things. Maybe I could have followed them, but I prefer to not have a passion feel like a job. Hooniverse has truly spoiled me because it’s given me a place to express my passions freely with few limitations. I can’t imagine there being many other places like that. I love this place, its community, and all the people I’ve been introduced to because of it and I don’t want to know what my life would have been like without it.
Looking back at it, it’s crazy to think that this all started with a teacher who gave a damn and a tweet to a drunken Polish man.