Autowriters Spotlight: Dan Jedlicka

Until proved otherwise, Dan Jedlicka represents Chicago’s longest-tenured newspaper journalism family (excluding publishers) His father, Albert Jedlicka, was the real estate editor for the Chicago Daily News from 1950 until his untimely death in 1976 at age 62, two years before the paper folded. Dan has been the Chicago Sun-Times auto writerAutowriters Spotlight: Dan Jedlicka since 1968. A 58-year stretch of Jedlickas that is still growing although Dan recently moved to his home office to continue the paper’s Auto Times section from there. He proudly recalls his dad won national recognition in Time Magazine for exposing the country’s first big savings and loan financing scandal. Dan worked briefly at the News and then shared the same office building with his father when the News moved to the Sun-Times in an unsuccessful effort to survive.

Dan worked at the Champaign-Urbana Courier, the Chicago City News Bureau and as a PR copy writer during his first years after graduating the University of Illinois in 1965 with a degree in communications. While newspapering is in the family, a love of cars was not. His dad had only a passing interest while Dan’s is avid. He has owned 25 high- performance cars, among them Ferraris, Maseratis and Porsches He fondly recalls a blood red 1950s Ferrari Europa with a rakish Pininfarina body which was like a shot of testosterone in the placid environs of Harrisburg, Penn., startling the good citizens there when he drove it to feature writing assignments for The Evening News or tooled around the countryside with his wife, Suzanne, then a bride of one year. More than owning classic automobiles, he worked at driving them well, graduating the Bob Bondurant Driving School, BMW’s advanced M-Class high performance driver’s school and the BMW Skip Barber Advance Driving School. He was a member of the U.S. team that participated in the 1987 1,000-mile Mille Miglia high-speed rally/race in Italy and has been a stock car race winner.

Dan also claims another record yet to be disproved – 4,000 car reviews and growing. That number includes those written during the 11 1/2 years he was head auto reviewer for Microsoft’s MSN Autos web site and those written over the years for a number of national magazines. His work has appeared in Esquire and Harper’s. He has often tested three cars in one week. He thinks that it will be easier to approach that pace and attend more press previews now that his Sun-Times section has been cut back from twice to once a week. But, he is building an online road test site that may require more of his time: