Jamie Kitman's personality was evidently arrested at the age of 12, for though he was trained as a lawyer (and remains a member of the New York and New Jersey bars), he earns his living writing about cars and managing the careers of rock musicians. He is the New York bureau chief at Automobile Magazine, where he is also a longtime columnist; he is the car guy for GQ; and a contributor to The Nation, The Washington Post, Harper's, Foreign Policy, Top Gear and CAR magazines. He calls his proudest achievement writing the very first anti-SUV op-ed piece in the New York Times in 1994.
Jamie's also the manager of alternative rock artists like They Might Be Giants, OK Go, Mike Doughty and Mike Viola, and he has worked with diverse acts including The La's, Violent Femmes, Meat Puppets, Pere Ubu and Yo La Tengo. How does he split his time? Kitman, the father of three children, explains that eighty percent of his time is spent managing bands and the other eighty percent writing. "Cars, music and magazines, what could be better? Three dying industries mean threes time the work and half the fun," Kitman notes, "but somehow it all adds up. Even if my accountant disagrees."
The winner of numerous awards, including the National Magazine Award for commentary, and an IRE Award for investigative magazine reporting, Jamie's currently writing a book about the history of lead in gasoline.
When not driving the latest from the world's car makers, Jamie manages to spend an inordinate amount of time tending to the veritable fleet of old cars he keeps near his home by the lower reaches of the Hudson River -- mostly sixties British effluvia and lower-end Italians (Lancia, Alfa). However, he does own a BMW 2002tii and two old Volvo wagons, one of which is a near exact clone of the Volvo wagon he owned in the early eighties and -- by miraculous coincidence -- sold to a young Jim Motavalli while working as a cub copy editor at the Stamford (CT) Advocate.
"No, that couldn't have been you," Kitman told Motavalli when Car Talk's senior blogger said recently that he remembered buying a light green '67 122S wagon from a guy at the Stamford Advocate in the early eighties. "No, Jim, the guy I sold the Volvo to was a stoned longhair who called back the next day to demand his money back when my $175 sold as-is 122S turned out to need the valve job which I'd told him it might need."
"Yup, I was a stoned longhair and that sounds exactly like something I would've done," Motavalli explained. Fortunately, the statute of limitations has run out.