This week, we geek out on cars with Hannah Elliott, reviewer of supercars for Bloomberg.
In a wildly rambling conversation (that has way too much of me in it), we discuss her process: how she decides which cars to review, what drives those choices, what her research is like, and what the day(s) spent with a supercar are like. She bases her decisions on newness, excitement, and choosing vehicles that are pivotal, and are meaningful for their manufacturers.
Elliott describes how she does a new car review: she approaches each vehicle as blank slate, reading nothing about it beforehand — she does not want the “chatter” in her head when she drives a new supercar.
She spends a few day in each supercar as if it was her own — links her phone to the bluetooth system, fills it with gas, she takes it to the supermarket. Her reviews place half of the emphasis on the car’s performance, and half on its usability — the seats, entertainment system, electronics, etc.
According to Elliott, cars should fulfill what automakers promise, and often that “statement of intent” should be clear, it should do what it is intended to do, and at a price similar to its direct competitors.
We discuss the collectible market, the cars that have gone parabolic (Porsche turbos and the air cooled engines), the rise of “Young-timer” cars from the 1980s and 90s, and what the next great investable cars might be. She is partial towards the Class B racers that were produced in limited numbers and have not yet gone vertical. Some of the trucks from the 60s, 70s, 80s like the Ford Bronco, Defender 90s, and Ford FJ40s have risen to surprisingly high prices. My history with cars comes up, including what I have, and the 5 that got away,
We discuss how long the gasoline engine will still be around; Expectations of auto makers is such that by 2025, every car in the lineup will either be an EV or an electric hybrid.
We also discuss her columns of Ford vs Ferrari, where she interviewed the car wranglers, but also wrote a separate piece on the generation of car guys that’s best left behind. The pushback was surprisingly gamer-gate like.
Her favorite books can be seen here; A transcript of our conversation is available here.
You can stream and download our full conversation, including the podcast extras, on Apple iTunes, Overcast, Spotify, Google, Bloomberg, and Stitcher. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here.
One final note: She is indeed, 5’10 1/2″ and back to back, we are the exact same height.
Next week, we speak with Nobel Prize-winning economist, Paul Krugman, whose most recent book is Arguing with Zombies: Economics, Politics, and the Fight for a Better Future.
Hannah Elliott’s favorite books
Life by Keith Richards
Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators by Ronan Farrow
Why Social Media is Ruining Your Life by Katherine Ormerod
Books Barry mentioned
Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber by Mike Isaac