Editors Note: This weekend, Hooniverse will be running a series of posts introducing you to some of the new writers who are now in our part of the Hooniverse. This time it’s Robby DeGraff who is currently at Loyola University Chicago. Let Robby know how much you appreciate his writing here.
What’s up everybody? Like that short blurb said up above, I’m Robby DeGraff and I love cars. Of course, everyone in the Hooniverse community loves cars, which is the main reason I started to write for the site. Yes I’ve successfully drifted a 20 passenger high-top hotel shuttle van in the snow. Yes I’ve been pulled over for going 30mph over the posted speed limit. Yes I still buy Hot Wheels and Matchbox Cars even though im almost 22. Yes, working on my car with an ice cold beer on a Saturday night is relaxing Yes that is me. Call me obsessed, sure, but I like to go where my passions are.
Originally I’m from the great state of Wisconsin, home to winters full of hooning, fun summers, and the almighty Road America race track. I’m currently a few months away from graduating college, and stepping out into the real world. My rap sheet of automotive writing has been keeping me busy for the past three year, as I’ve had work published in all sorts of magazines and websites. Writing about cars to me is just fun, so I put myself out there to find more and more exciting opportunities to do so. The more you write, and the more feedback you get, the better of a writer you become. Currently, I’m serving as the PR Intern at Cars.com, based out of Chicago. Prior to this, I interned on their editorial team for two semesters, and learned tons of valuable information about the automotive media industry. Speaking of that, I graduate from college in about two months or so and the question comes…now what? Cars are my passion, writing and public relations are my skill sets, and I’m a confident hardworking person. Let the automotive media job searching begin!
Growing up, as a baby my parents used to take me out in the stroller to the side of Brown Deer Road, where I would just sit for hours watching cars go by. I later started collecting matchbox cars in my toddler years, reading Car and Driver in my early teen years, and driving around my parents’ hand me down 1995 Ford Windstar a.k.a. Godzilla. That green dinosaur lasted to about 153,000 miles until the the repair bills doubled what the car was worth. So long big green buddy. In 2002, I went to the Milwaukee Auto Show and came home with a poster of a 2002 Chevrolet Camaro. For those who don’t know your F-body history, 2002 was the last year of production for the Camaro, Firebird, and Trans-Am (until recently). “You should probably hold on to that, you won’t see this car made ever again,” the booth representative told me as he handed me the poster.
That poster got hung up on my bedroom wall that night, and some 4 years later at age 16, I drove my “poster car” off the lot. My pride, passion, and joy is my bright rally red 2001 Chevrolet Camaro. Sure its not the 5.7-liter LS1 V8, (which I currently have funds being saved up for a swap), but the bullet-proof 3.8-liter V6. I’ve learned how to work on cars by installing a catalogue of modifications onto both my car but also my best friend’s Mustang. As for my Camaro, I love this car… love it, love it, love it. I’ve driven it thousands and thousands of miles across all parts of the United States through Rally North America’s charity road rallies, autocross raced it through the SCCA, and even used it as the car to haul my skis around come winter time. Rear-wheel drive daily driver for me.
I’m trying to keep this autobiography sort of shindig as brief as I can, because I could literally write for hours about how big of a part of my life, cars have played a role in. I’ve driven everything from new GTRs and SLS AMGs to 30-year-old Toyota Land Cruisers and Triumphs.
After spending four months studying abroad in Vietnam, which was the best experience of my life, I came home and bought my first motorcycle. I picked up a 1982 Honda CM250 C, in nearly mint condition. For years I’ve been a fan of classic motorcycles, especially cruisers, and dreamt of owning one someday. Two-Wheel Tuesdays here at Hooniverse are awesome if you ask me. There literally is nothing more relaxing than going on a nice long open-air ride on my motorcycle. The whole motorcycle thing is fairly new to me, and I have yet to crash or drop my bike (knock on wood), but I’m doing everything I can to learn more and more about two-wheel riding. Just like my Camaro, I love my bike.
A few random facts about me:
- I went to Space Camp a few times as a little kid and have flown an airplane before
- I’ve been playing the saxophone for 13 years and skiing for 14 years
- I’ve done all sorts of volunteer work both domestically and internationally
- Ketchup, olives, and fish disgust me
- I love photography and traveling
- My favorite car is a 1971 Chevelle SS
- I help run a local car show with more than 100 cars in attendance each week
- “Gone in 60 Seconds” is my favorite movie
- My first paid job was a detailer at a large Toyota Dealership….working here started off my four-wheel hooning!
- I’ve crashed a few cars, mostly minor though
- This past summer I worked at a YMCA summer camp, where I happily taught “Car Maintenance with Robby” to a group of kids…share the knowledge!
I think that’s enough about me, fresh waffles are calling my name, and I’m starving. So fellow Hoons, I’m really excited to get to know you all more, continue writing for this kick-ass site we have going on. If anyone lives in the Chicago area or Milwaukee/Wisconsin area, and wants to meet up for a drive, ride, or to just chat about all things cars (or bikes)…. give me shout. I’m a nice guy, and always enjoying meeting new people, especially people who share the same hobbies as I do.