There are a few auto writers whose words and deeds bring them fame or notoriety and sometimes money along with it. Most, however, survive and thrive by quietly doing a consistently outstanding job of delivering what the outlet they are working for requires. Often their best measure of attainment in their craft is what their colleagues have to say about them. Here is one such, written by John Biel on the occasion of Chris Poole’s 30th anniversary with Consumer Guide.
“When Chris Poole reported for work on his first day as an Automotive Editor for Consumer Guide, there were four American automakers, most cars had carburetors, and, as far as anyone knew, a “minivan” was a Ford Econoline with Minnesota license plates. The date was June 18, 1979.
Thirty years later, Chris–the first person hired by CG’s parent company specifically as an Auto Editor–is still at it, reviewing new vehicles, covering auto shows, and writing “Future Car” articles. Only now, in another sign of how much the world has changed, he’s doing it for a website.
As might be expected, Poole’s roots in CG’s automotive operations have grown deep and wide. Apart from keeping tabs on the evolving auto industry and its products over the last three decades, he has contributed to or edited many of the marquee and period history books prepared by the Auto Editors of Consumer Guide since the late 1970s. When the department launched Collectible Automobile, its award-winning bi-monthly automotive-history magazine, in 1984, Chris was its Editor-in-Chief and guided CA through its first 18 issues. He still serves the magazine as Editor-at-Large, pitching in to edit some of its feature articles and writing an occasional piece himself.
Poole expanded Consumer Guide’s horizons in late 1986, when he forsook chilly Chicago for the sultrier climes of Southern California and established himself as West Coast Auto Editor. That allowed him (and CG) to keep tabs on the influential California market and to interact regularly with the many car-company executives assigned to the area. He moved to Peoria, Arizona, in 2007.
A graduate of the University of Florida, Chris had careers in commercial radio and hospital-based educational media before he turned his lifelong passion for cars into a job as an automotive journalist. Poole’s radio experience came in handy in his California years, when he often sat in as a co-host of a weekly car-themed program in Los Angeles. He’s also appeared in television programs on the History Channel and Speed Channel. He’s currently president of the Phoenix Automotive Press Association and a jury member for the annual North American Concept Vehicle of the Year Awards