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Automoblog Book Garage: Meet Marty Schorr

nicad 04/12/2021 772

Marty Schorr is destined to become an Autobot. His teacher could show us his notebook, which contains more car sketches than lessons. His partners at the Westchester County, New York hot rod club in the 1950s might agree. Schorr has always been a true Autobot. He admitted that he drew cars in school, but the second point needs to be clarified.

“I really wasn't very good at mechanics to work on the cars, so they had to get a job. for me in the club,” Schorr said with a chuckle. “So they made me director of public relations or publicity.”

straight band

Chance encounter

First day

The Hook

Braking For Vettes

Living the dream

right band

As a journalist and editor, Schorr has over five decades of experience with the world's most amazing machines. He rode with Carroll Shelby and was at the press conference for the debut of the Lola-built Ford GT that became the GT40. He drove the GT40 through the streets of New York and accompanied Mickey Thompson to Bonneville in 1969 to set a book full of records. And books are Schorr's thing. His latest, Day One, was featured in our Book Garage series at the end of December. But above all, he was just another young man trying to get his way.

"I would take a few pictures of the cars and the guys, and go to the track where they were putting on shows," Schorr recalled. “I had a regular job. I worked for an insurance company and went to college at night, but I was able to meet people in magazines. »

Schorr would write the club's press releases and file them with Custom Rodder and Car, Speed ​​and Style, two Manhattan-based magazines run by Magnum Royal Publications.

"After doing this for a while, I realized the magazine's editor didn't have a driver's license and lived in New York City," Schorr said, pointing out the irony of the how we do such a thing. "And although he went to one of the best journalism schools and was a good editor, he really didn't know much about cars. He was calling me and asking me questions all the time. time and it allowed me to start freelancing."

Martyn L. Schorr, distinguished automotive journalist and author of Day One.

Chance encounter

Shorr's weekends filled up quickly over the next two years as he toured the area's racetracks and hot rod shops. His work earned him between $35 and $50 per feature film, a good price considering the time, but not enough to bet on a future.

“I was getting a byline and the magazines were cool, but as I speak during day one I was in a position where I was out of a job — a real job,” Schorr explained. “I was getting married in probably 4-5 months and my wife, my future wife, was going to college and she didn't have a job either. We weren't in very good financial shape. »

Late one morning, Schorr was delivering his features as usual. As the elevator opened to take him upstairs, the editor exits.

“I had only seen him once or twice before, but he recognized me,” recalls Schorr. “He said 'uh, I'm going to have lunch quickly; why don't you hang around and I'll be back because I want to talk to you." So I went upstairs and talked to the editor, gave him my stuff and waited for the editor to come back."

First day

What happened next is something Shorr calls life changing. It turns out that the editor, Larry T. Shaw, devoted all his time to CARS, another Magnum Royal Publications magazine. Custom Rodder and Car, Speed ​​and Style needed an editor, and editor Irwin Stein had found his man.

"The editor comes back, walks into the office and says 'how would you like a job?' So I said 'what job? " And he said "editor of these magazines. "I was tongue tied, I didn't know what to say. I didn't have a college degree, I went to school at night, I had never published anything other than my own copy. Everything I did is nod my head because I couldn't get the words out."

Schorr, then 24, was now earning $100.00 a week, with two raises three months apart at $10.00 each. Within minutes, he went from contributor to editor, with a significant pay rise and the responsibility of producing two magazines. By 1965, Schorr owned Magnum Royal's flagship CARS and was appointed managing editor. In the early 1970s, when the company went public, he was named vice president of editorial. Schorr would later venture to produce his own magazines, but that day and Stein's words still resonate. It was, in many ways, Schorr's first "Day One."

"I called my fiancé and said 'we can get married now, I have a job!'"

Bill Mitchell launches the Cars Magazine-sponsored Baldwin-Motion 427 Camaro circa 1968. "Mitchell was the first to put an A/MP Camaro in the tens and, within two years, filled a wall of NHRA records," writes Schorr in Day One.

The hook

During his years with Magnum Royal Publications, Schorr regularly drove and rated what would become the most coveted performance cars in history. These experiences are recounted in day one, where we see Pontiac's 1962 and 1963 lightweight Super-Duty 421 street and Swiss Cheese models, Chevrolet's 1963 Mystery Motor big-block 427, and Ford's 1963 Galaxie fastback. There's the Cotton-Owens Hemi Coronet, Plymouth's original 1968 Hemi Road Runner, Boss 429 Mustangs and so many more.

"It really was a wonderful time to get out and see the engineers, drive the cars, and get closer to the guys who made it all possible," Schorr said. “Back then, it was just a day's work and it was just cars. And the next year they would be cheaper and faster, so we treated them as such. »

Two years ago, while attending the Muscle Car and Corvette National Championships in Chicago, Illinois, the inspiration for day one came. At the time, the Schorr Ford Total Performance book was launched by Motorbooks, our valued partner for this Book Garage series. It was in Chicago that a candid exchange with editor Zack Miller took place. Schorr addressed a common misconception about muscle cars and how mainstream books, car shows and other media only perpetuate this notion. Miller asked for a hook.

“I said, well, I drove these cars when they were new and I know what it's all about – they weren't like that. They didn't look all that good, they didn't have paint jobs like this, and the fit and finish was pretty unremarkable. We drove these cars and they got dirty when we took them to the track, and they weren't perfect. Young people who came to these shows come away thinking what a GTO looked like in 1965, and it was only three thousand and it looked so good. They don't realize that the paint job on the car is now worth over three thousand dollars. I want a book that says it was like that, and it's not exactly how you see it today. »

Miller broke the brief moment of silence.

“He said to me, 'Marty, it's the hook now, write the book.' »

Marty Schorr pictured with one of his sideburns. He is the publisher of Car Guy Chronicles and a founding member of Sarasota Café Racers.

Braking For Vettes

Later in his career, Schorr handled public relations for Buick on the east coast and was heavily involved in the GNX program in 1987, one he credits with changing his mind about the brand. Schorr had a 427 Corvette but the Grand National was a rising star.

“I had driven the prototypes and the car was damn fast – it was getting faster and faster than the original Corvette, and General Motors didn't. t like this; Chevrolet didn't like it,” Schorr recalls. “We did some testing at Popular Mechanics with one of our GNXs versus a Callaway, and we cleaned the track with the GNX. We blasted the Callaway through the weeds and it was a twin-turbo Corvette! We really started a whole little revolution within General Motors with this car. »

A bumper sticker later surfaced with the phrase "We brake for Corvettes."

"Chevrolet and General Motors came at us like a ton of bricks!"

Only 547 examples of the 1987 Buick GNX were built. The car's 3.8-liter turbocharged V6 created 245 horsepower. Photo: GM Media Archive.

Living The Dream

After talking with Schorr, I understand why this business – let's call it automotive journalism – needs such an ambassador. During our interview, on several occasions, he expressed how grateful he was for my time. If we compare our careers, it's as if the CEO recognizes the intern. But man, do I ever lift my head any higher now. My friends in the business, Ray Guarino and Joe D., hosts of MotorMouth Radio on WHPC 90.3 FM, call Schorr “old in the business” and have the same respect for him as I do now.

< p> I have to thank them for the introduction.

Perhaps most inspiring was how I found an instant parallel between me and Schorr, when he admitted that CARS Magazine couldn't compete with the biggest California publications of the time.

"We didn't sell that many copies, we didn't make that much money," he said. "We had no commercials, but we had an abundance of New York attitude."

It's similar here to this post, minus the New York attitude of course. Likewise, we cannot match our greatest contemporaries in business, they simply have more resources. We certainly admire and respect them, but our goal is to be different; to be honest; be real. That's why we offer features like Book Garage, which Motorbooks has been instrumental in. When we present books like Day One, it reminds me of the importance of such things. For me personally, it exceeds deadlines and even cars. It forces me to wonder if I'm going to live in a “one day” or “one day” mindset.

"Don't put off the joy, always try to have fun and do what you really love to do," Schorr advised. "I have spent most of my adult life living by these mantras."

Carl Anthony is the editor of Automoblog and resides in Detroit, Michigan. He studies mechanical engineering at Wayne State University, serves on the board of the Ally Jolie Baldwin Foundation and is a loyal fan of the Detroit Lions.

First day:

A Automotive Journalist Muscle-Car Memoir

Can be purchased through Amazon and Motorbooks.

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