Sometimes I like to reminisce about the Jalopnik of past days, when I first started visiting this site some forty years ago

Back then, of course, Jerry Jalopnik wrote most of the articles himself. That gave the site its singular voice, at least until he had to sell the site in his acrimonious divorce from Murilee.

Murilee Martin, Jerry Jalopnik, and their dog Ballaban going to see Jerry’s favorite band, Rusted Root

Jerry had no compunction on how often he’d sing the praises of the Merkur XR4ti. Overkill but fun.

Going to any Jalopnik event would always include an hour or so at the beginning of Jerry sipping his ever-present can of Tab going on and on (and on) about the XR4ti. And if you came late, of course he’d put the XR4ti speech at the end. Those were the days. Wonder what those who complain about “repetitive” articles now would’ve thought back then.

Remember Hunter Thompson’s stint working for Jalopnik after he was fired by Rolling Stone? Before Jerry Jalopnik got uncomfortable with some “office supplies” Hunter liked to keep in his desk?

An FCC agent shows up at Hunter Thompson’s jammerpalooza. A very young Jason Torchinsky in the olive shirt in the background, and yes, that’s Mike Valentine grinning on the right.

There was Hunter’s big open-to-the-public radar jammer comparo, which got a visit from the FCC and had Jerry writing a letter of apology on Hunter’s behalf.

Remember Csaba Csere taking an AMG Hammer for a month-long stint as a taxi in Bucharest, just after the fall of Ceaucescu? I’ll never forget the photo gallery of the babushka who loaded it up with her pigs and chickens and got driven to her home village at 250 km/h.

Csaba Csere plying his trade as a “Bucharest taxi driver” in an AMG Hammer smuggled in from West Germany

There was nobody else like Csaba. He actually learned Romanian for that piece.

Today’s “Are you faster than a Jalopnik writer?” races are all fun and good. But I miss the days when nobody would let the Jalopnik crew into their go-kart track. They ended up just racing a fleet of Buick Reattas through downtown Cincinnati the first Sunday morning of every month.

Just a friendly Sunday morning race: Jerry Jalopnik, Bob Lutz, PJ O’Rourke take a well-deserved smoke break by the Ohio River

Many years later, Jerry Jalopnik confessed to always putting leaded gas in Bob Lutz’s Reatta for those races. It was all in good fun.


And seeing a Rolls-Royce Corniche always takes me back to Gertrude Lee’s Fancy Gertrude review, wherein she deemed the Corniche “perhaps adequate for the chauffeur of my chauffeur.”

Gertrude Lee out for a jog, ca. 1981, before her tax troubles began

Too bad Gertrude quit writing in protest of the Alternative Minimum Tax. At least her granddaughter carries on her tradition today.

What are your favorite moments from Jalopnik’s storied past? What moments from today’s Jalopnik will we remember in the future?

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