Lawrence Ulrich received the 2013 Ken Purdy Award for excellence in automotive journalism at the April 15 meeting. Ulrich, chief auto critic of The New York Times, wrote “Wins & Losses” for the November 2012 edition of Automobile Magazine, a road trip in a new Corvette through America’s automotive heartland, beginning and ending in his hometown of Detroit.
“The road trip is an all-too-familiar journey for automotive writers that frequently dead-ends in truisms and cliché,” said Alex Taylor, senior editor at large for Fortune and a Purdy Award judge. “But Lawrence Ulrich weaves nostalgia for the past with a realistic understanding of the economics of the present into a rich account of a city and an industry.
“With a deft touch, Ulrich allows the car he is driving play a supporting role to memories from his youth and his thoughts about the future.”
“It’s a great honor to win the Ken Purdy Award,” said Ulrich, chief auto critic for The New York Times, whose work also appears in Road & Track, Popular Science, Details and Yahoo! Autos. “Especially for a subject that means a lot to me: The care, feeding and fate of my Motown hometown.”
According to IMPA President David Kiley, “the Ken Purdy Award is one of the few journalism awards left that specifically recognizes excellence in covering the auto industry. Lawrence Ulrich’s piece for Automobile stood out among an outstanding list of entries that included books, magazines, podcasts, online video, as well as magazine and newspaper content.
“There is a lot of great work and good story telling around the auto industry going on across all media.”
IMPA established the award in 1972 in memory of Ken Purdy, considered by many as perhaps the best auto writer this country has produced, and author of the seminal 1949 automotive tome Kings of the Road. Purdy was editor of Parade and True in the 1940s and ‘50s before he became a freelance writer who contributed both fiction short stories and automotive pieces to Playboy magazine.