Introducing Auto Didakt

A Driven to Write stalwart strikes out on his own

jaguar xj-s-auto-didakt

Regular readers of Driven to Write will be well aware of Christopher Butt’s writings on subjects as diverse as the machinations within VAG, the social history of the W126 S-Class or indeed travels through Italy in his majestic Jaguar XJ12. So it is with with some pride and no little emotion that we salute Kris on his own website venture. Auto Didakt – for that is its name, is a German language automotive site, focusing upon landmark cars and the people instrumental in their creation. But don’t take my word, Kris can put it more succinctly…

“The car is the closest thing we will ever create to something that’s alive”

‘Thus spoke a (largely) wise man back in the day. And this is also the reason why I write about automobiles, rather than toasters. Of course, there are just as many opinions about cars and their styling as there are vehicles on our roads.

I am therefore less interested in using this site to simply judge. I rather want to portray both entire cars – as well as minuscule details – that can be exciting, touching and sometimes even irritating. Beauty, by the way, is not the defining criterion. Considerably more important is what a car has to say about its origins, its creators and also its owners – after all, it is the characterful cars that tell the interesting stories. 

Just like the men behind those very cars, incidentally. Which is the reason why, every now and again, I’ll introduce the people who created these automobiles.’

Auto Didakt launches with two major pieces, an interview with Burkard Bovensiepen, the father of ALPINA and a dissertation on Jaguar’s love-it-or-hate-it XJ-S.

Kris won’t be leaving us entirely, assuring us he’ll remain a continuing presence both in commentary and longer-form. Meanwhile, we wish him the very best with his new venture and heartily recommend you bookmark it – after all, even if you don’t read German, there’s always the photos…


Please note this website can now be enjoyed in English. (Please enjoy responsibly).

Author: Eóin Doyle

Co-Founder. Editor. Content Provider.

21 thoughts on “Introducing Auto Didakt”

  1. This is wonderful to read on a Sunday morning! I’ve always enjoyed Kris’s inputs and articles, which are forever well informed and balanced. The very best to you and your new site – here’s to Auto Didakt!

  2. Best of luck Kris. Unfortunately my German is non existent and the translate function from Google isn’t much better. That XJS is a really beautiful car though.

    1. You’re always welcome to take a look at the photos, Mick.

  3. It’s a very fine site: magazine quality texts, layouts and photos. By rights it ought to be seen in print. The photos are very well composed and edited. The photo editing seems to be at least a large part of the site as the text editing. It’s polished to a high level.

    1. You’re too kind, Richard. Mind you, the photos do require a bit of work, as did the website’s layout. Can I count on you returning every Tuesday for some new content? Tomorrow, by the way, is Ritmo Day at…

    2. Wow, I’m looking forward to this excitedly! I already noticed the Ritmo wheel on the feature image and thought by myself that it’s a long, long time I’ve last seen one of these.

  4. Kris, congratulations to your site, this is great work!

    I especially enjoyed the black-and-white detail photos on top of the page. And as Richard mentioned, all the other photos are a pleasure, too.

    1. Thank you, Simon! I’m no Helmut Newton of the automotive realm, but I considered the photos to be an elemental part of what I had in mind for my own blog. I’m glad if that effort pays off.

    2. Yes, I also believe the photography to be vitally important. Some people don’t like to use feature images, or make the photos nice and large.

      *stares pointedly at Sean, Eoin and Richard*

    1. I’m very much looking forward to continue coming up with dedicated content for DTW. My own venture does take up a lot of time, but I’d hate to lose touch with this little safe haven.

  5. Chris: I am simply not adept at camerawork and have decided to keep my offerings basic. Also, I can´t easily move cars around and usually have to work with the given surroundings and light. But I take your point and I´m aware the images are very rudimentary. Some of the lesser photos I put in as medium-sized ones as a way to break up my enormous texts.

    1. You often write about a specific car or feature, which does not make the task of sourcing good quality imagery easy. I tend to Google search images by size, then pick the best composed (making sure the source is credited, of course). If there is nothing then I will comp something up in Photoshop, but that is both a sinkhole of time and perhaps a bit tricksy for DTW.

    2. Richard, in no way, shape or form was I trying to stick it to you that DTW’s visual standards are below par. It’s just that Auto-Didakt isn’t as broad a church as DTW and therefore able to be more specific about certain points, while ignoring some others altogether.

      Setting up Auto-Didakt has been a full-time job this summer. Trying to do something similar for a website with the kind of turnover that has become the norm at DTW would be nigh on impossible.

      All of this isn’t about being in competition, but rather about complementing one another’s offerings.

    1. I better get some Krispy Kreme do(ugh)nuts to calm me nerves after this mother of all misunderstandings!

      Apologies for sewing the seeds of misunderstanding. Kris won’t tolerate this sort of nonsense on his site!

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