Welcome to 2022

Ready for another one?

Lancia Appia
Image: La Repubblica

When Driven to Write was initiated in 2014, it was with a combination of blind faith, optimism and a certain naivety. Now, almost eight years on, we appear to have established a solid niche amid the outer margins of automotive discourse; well removed from the mainstream, but nonetheless, a distinct and distinctive part of the conversation.

2021 has been another intensely difficult year for us all, so much being lost amid a seemingly endless (if mostly necessary) series of restrictions and privations. Yet, we have demonstrated our resilience; our overwhelming capacity to abide, despite seemingly insurmountable odds. But as we bid 2021 a less than fond farewell, please join us in a brief review of some of the year’s more newsworthy highlights at DTW.

We began the year with something of a surprise, the news that Stellantis had lent the stricken Lancia vessel a further lifeline in the form of the once-again refreshed Ypsilon. Further to this would be the announcement later in the year of the prospect of three new Lancia models over the coming decade – one as gratifying to Lancisti as it is miraculous – proving once again that truth is truly stranger than fiction.

On the subject of lifelines, JLR’s Thierry Bolloré threw the limping cat of Coventry a Mae West in the form of the carmaker’s Reimagine strategy. Salvation takes many forms but in this case it manifests itself across the broad shoulders of design supremo, Gerry McGovern, who has made it his personal mission to once again imbue Jaguar-branded motor cars with that long-absent and much-missed characteristic: allure. Action has consequences and the almost wholesale departure of team-Callum to pastures new in 2021 does suggest a multitude. But with baby and bathwater jettisoned, Mr McGovern must now put compelling form upon those high ideals.

Spring witnessed another deferred Geneva motor show, but while the salon was suspended, the Car of the Year competition went ahead regardless, albeit in virtual form. The surprise winner was… well, can anyone actually recall?

Unsurprisingly, electric cars dominated the news agenda during 2021, and DTW took an opportunity to consider the respective merits of the EV state of the art from Korea’s two top-selling carmakers – two sides to a very similar coin; one certain to become common currency over the next twelve months or so (supply issues notwithstanding). The wait however for a truly compelling EV formulation continues to lengthen.

We also donned our Dickies work boots before delving into into the steady decline of the European flat bed pick up, illustrating once again that not everything from the USA translates in an entirely seamless fashion.

While the summer allowed a brief period of respite from restrictions and (in some places) mask mandates, and jaded populations jetted off once more to enjoy themselves in more sun-kissed climes, at Sant’Agata Bolognese a veil of a different variety was ripped off during the Autumn as veteran designer Marcello Gandini launched an unprecedented broadside at Lamborghini’s rather cynical looking homage to the eternal Countach supercar. While there is said be no such thing as bad publicity, in this case, I would rather beg to differ.

November marked the reintroduction of a once-storied nameplate, that of Auto Union’s Horch; now emblazoned upon a stretched and tinselled version of Audi’s flagship A8 saloon. Something as singularly half-hearted as this really ought not elicit comment or effort on our part, but given that the Horch comes across as simply an inferior me-too Maybach, we felt the need to make ourselves (ahem) heard.

As 2021 reached its much-anticipated close, we were presented with the shortlist for 2022’s European Car of the Year contender. Given the direction of current amid the European auto scene and (one imagines) the desire of the organisers to demonstrate their fealty to the forthcoming wave, the 2022 finalist shortlist is entirely EV in nature. It’s shocks away for 2022!

Amid the 2021 auto-industry losses, we bid a final adieu to former Mercedes-Benz CEO, Jürgen Hubbert who left this earth in January, and to illustrious and feted car designer, Robert Opron, who departed us in March. Also worthy of an emotional farewell was the announcement recently of the cessation of Elise, Evora and Exige production at Lotus’ Hethel manufacturing facility. Cars of uneven ability they may have been, but few were as characterful, as beautifully calibrated and as finely honed towards driving engagement. They too will be missed.

Closer to DTW’s home, it has been gratifying to witness the levels of quality and craft which our contributors (both regular and infrequent) have attained this year; the growth (in both senses) of our writers has been a personal 2021 highlight. As a free to access site, it would be both foolish indeed and somewhat vain to fixate upon numbers. Last year witnessed a significant uplift in our viewing figures, a factor not entirely unrelated to the unprecedented situation we faced as SARS-COV-19 cut its dread swathe. However, the fact that not only have we maintained this uplift, but come within touching distance of surpassing it this year does speak volumes.

Allow me a moment therefore to express my gratitude to DTW’s contributors – their carefully crafted and entirely voluntary creations sit at the core of what we are about here. But beyond that, it is you, the DTW reader and commenter, whose elegant restraint, encyclopaedic knowledge, courtesy and erudition make this site as much a pleasure to edit as I hope it remains to read.

Thank you.

From the DTW team, our very best wishes for a prosperous, more expansive, safer and considerably sounder 2022. We hope you will continue to take the journey with us and look forward to entertaining and enlightening you over the coming twelve months – whatever further surprises it may bring.

Happy New Year.

A reminder of some of DTW’s more topical articles from 2021.

Author: Eóin Doyle

Co-Founder. Editor. Content Provider.

30 thoughts on “Welcome to 2022”

  1. Good morning, Eóin. A happy new year to everyone here at Driven to Write, both writers, readers and commentariat. The collective knowledge we share here is something great.

    Special thanks to Daniel for his musings and also for the countless of times he had to help me out with imgur. I finally found out how it’s done, so you are relieved from that particular duty 😉

  2. Happy new year to everybody at DTW. What a lovely discovery this was to me almost exactly one year ago. I’ve been busy with the holidays and now have a ton of catching up to do with all the posts I’ve missed.

    May this fresh new year 2022 bring us all plenty of happy moments!

    If I can, let me propose something for this year: How about a Zoom meetup one day? This could be a nice way to meet each other, share a pint or a glass of wine (well, on screen anyway) and talk about cars for a little while.

  3. Happy New Year to all. Thank you Eóin for your ongoing animation and curation of this excellently entertaining and informative site. Also to Daniel, Andrew, Brrruno and Robert for your very regular writings. Like many, a visit to DTW is a consistent part of my start to a day.

    Let’s hope 2022 brings an easing of the grip of COVID, and we can enjoy life a little more freely and easily.

    All the best to everyone.

  4. And my compliments to all at DTW for the coming year.
    I was particularly interested, again, in the seemingly sad fate of the pickup in Europe. It looks as if we’ll be reduced to the eternal Hilux and a kind of Rangok to satisfy the urges of anyone so inclined, although to my eyes at least the numbers (if not the number of models) are increasing.

  5. Congratulations on a great site, and Happy New Year to you and the team. DTW is a rather unusual place, full of good and deep thoughts so often not found in more mainstream outlets. Its taking some time to get used to, as the outlook is both personal, in depth, and critical…. all good.

    And might one comment on the image used for this posting? The Lancia Appia is a particularly interesting selection – having one for 26 years, it is notable for its excellence but also humility. Its more a piece of machinery than a mere car, and puts a glow on anyone’s face who is driven it. Mesmerizing, seductive and simply well considered on all fronts. A wonderful and appropriate moniker, if you will. May the cars of tomorrow be so good.

    1. Congratulations on having had an Appia (for 26 years, no less!). What I like most about Lancias of that era is how well they reflect the character of their home city, Turin: That kind of quiet, understated elegance that I found most appealing when I lived there for a few months.

    2. Agree totally on Torino. Its a favorite city, visited many times, called by my wife as “min-Paris”. There is a certain ironic wit shared there, something (perhaps) that has to do with a city whose heritage is in making things.

    3. Cesar and Geoff, you remind me of finally planning a trip to Torino. It’s a city I lng wanted to visit, but it somehow never happened, despite it being only a 4-hour trip away from my home. Times are not too good for travelling right now, but we can still hope for summer or autumn…
      Would be great to spot an Appia there.

  6. Happy new year everyone. Reading (and occasionally contributing to) DTW has remained a highlight of what was another unusual and challenging year.

  7. As a character in a rather naff UK TV situation comedy used to say, “You’ve all done very well”! And so you have – please keep up the good work, sincere thanks and very best wishes for 2022.

    1. Young Mr. Grainger, I’d guess, and yes, we are being served extremely well by DTW and its wonderful crew 😉

      Thank you, to everyone, for providing a welcome adventure every day. Happy New Year to all.

  8. Happy New Year to all the contributors and readers. I would like to offer a fine thanks to the everyone´s hard work (and to Simon A. Kearne for whatever it is he is doing).

    1. What goes on in the executive office suites on the 16th floor of DTW Towers is not for mere mortals like us to know, Richard. Doubtless, grand plans for world domination are being hatched even as I type this.

    2. I’ve heard rumours of a couple more floors, accessible only via the executive elevator, and a bunker below the sub-basement. The (armed?) ex-paras guarding the elevator don’t seem receptive to casual conversation, however…

    3. There may be more floors, but to access them you need a special key for the lift, I guess. 🙂

    4. Retinal scanning, Fred. But I’ve already said too much and those spaces between the walls mentioned by Richard hide a grisly secret…

    5. Which parts of the building are shown to ordinary visitors like me?
      I only ask in case I am tempted to cross the canal in the near future.

    6. DTW House is open to visitors by appointment, much like Bristol Cars. However, the chances of such appointments being made are, shall we say, rare.

    7. I would of course point out discretely that unlike Bristol Cars, anno 2022, DTW exists in corporeal form, despite what AutoCropley might have you think. As to the number of floors at DTW buildings, I must stress that I will not comment upon conjecture. There are a number of course; a large archive, sherry cellar, and of course Mr. Kearne’s sanatorium. The exact amount however remains by strict necessity, a closely guarded secret – as indeed is our poor demented (former) Senior Editor-at-large. (The plexiglass has become a necessity, I’m afraid).

  9. Happy new years lads and ladettes!
    DTW continues to be a shining beacon in an ever devolving automotive blogosphere, hellbent on profit before content.
    May it prosper for years to come!

  10. Just in time: happy new year everyone! The writing’s a delight, the comments a haven of civility and idiosyncratic knowledge, the meandering topics covered in both a veritable roller coaster. I am thankful to have discovered this place where petrolhead doesn’t only mean noise and power, but also every other aspect of car culture and design. You make this world a little nicer. Thank you.

  11. Thanks for the warm words, all. We’ll do our level best to maintain standards during 2022.

  12. Keep up the great work gentlemen. Not sure how I initially found you but I have been with you for a good few years now and consume the content daily.
    As someone who “thinks he knows a bit about cars” you continually remind me how little I actually know about this rich topic.
    Thank-you all for your continued efforts.

  13. Thanks Eóin, and hapy new year to everyone here – editors, contributors, commenters!

    I was cutting down screentime a bit for my holidays, hence I wasn’t especially active lately. Or even the whole year, with a job change keeping me busy. However, I hope I will get more time for enjoying the great content of this site, and perhaps even start writing for it again. There are some ideas…

    Thanks to everyone who keeps this blog alive – I hope this will continue for a long time. The internet would be a much more boring place without it.

  14. Keep up the good work, driventowrite is my daily read every morning!

  15. Happy New Year and my whole hearted thanks to contributors and community, both of the highest.

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