New York, NY
1985 Cadillac Sedan de Ville
Car Talk: What do you do for work and for fun?
Richard: I'm a Senior Editor and soon-to-be-consultant with The Nation, America's oldest political weekly. I am its oldest editor - I've put in 31 years there. I'm also a writer of books of history and biography.
Car Talk: So you're a fan of history. That explains why you had an '85 Cadillac in your possession for all those decades!
Richard: I would like to add a small pitch for aged cars, in the spirit of my friend Jamie Kitman, the brilliant writer for Automobile Magazine, who advised me to keep her running. (Shameless Car Talk plug: Jamie recently joined Car Talk as a staff blogger.) My philosophy is that old cars provide an economic stimulus - i.e., they keep garages in business.
Car Talk: And mechanics in yachts. We'll toast to that! So tell us about the late, great '85 Cadillac. What was so special about her?
Richard: I loved the ride and they way she hugged the road. In her heyday you'd hit the highway and, before you knew it, you'd be breezing along at a liquid 85 MPH. She was good for long trips as well as hauling the "girls" to bridge club, which were among the uses my mother, the car's original owner, put her to. For years, the car lived the placid life of a small-town doctor's widow. After my mom's death, I inherited the car and used it for research trips in connection with books I was writing, errands about the city, visits with my brother in Boston and Nantucket, and general recreation.
Car Talk: How was the donation process? Any surprises?
Richard: It was certainly helpful for me, as a New Yorker who parks his car in a garage, to have the tow truck guy help me booster-start it and get it out of there. Then he put her on her way. The removal was handled with aplomb.
Car Talk: Why did you decide to donate?
Richard: In order to stop the pledge drives on WNYC once and for all.
Car Talk: We have some bad news, Richard...
Richard: Oh!? You mean my car didn't bring enough to do that? Oh well. Seriously, it seemed the thing to do when the time came as I am a regular listener and you seemed the most car-friendly.
Car Talk: What are your favorite NPR shows?
Richard: "On the Media," "Morning Report," "Saturday and Sunday Weekend Editions," "Speaking of Faith," and, "Car Talk" - though I don't have as much chance to listen as I would like.