Ken Gross and Peter Harholdt are the winners of IMPA’s 2014 Ken Purdy Award for excellence in automotive journalism for Sensuous Steel: Art Deco Automobiles, their book produced to accompany an exhibit of Art Deco-styled cars at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts in Nashville.
Studio photos by Harholdt of the exhibit’s vehicles – including the Bugatti Type 57C once owned by the shah of Iran; Frank Lloyd Wright’s Cord L-29 Cabriolet; a Pierce-Arrow Silver Arrow; a Jordan Model Z Speedway Ace; Edsel Ford’s Model 40 Speedster; a Voisin Type C27 Aerosport Coupe – were accompanied by automotive-historical pieces and an essay on the emergence of Art Deco as a recognized style of expression, all edited and compiled by Gross.
“Ken W. Purdy inspired me to become an automotive writer,” said Gross. “He has always been one of my heroes. This award means a great deal to me.
“I first read Ken Purdy’s classic, “The Kings of The Road” when I was 12 years old. I still have that copy of the book, along with four other copies, one of which was autographed by Ken for John Bentley.”
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. Ken and Peter’s book 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.”
The winning entry was elected by a panel of three judges, including IMPA President David Kiley, Bloomberg News and Bloomberg BusinessWeek correspondent David Welch and High Gear Media senior editor John Voelcker.
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 1950s before he became a freelance writer who contributed both fiction short stories and automotive pieces to Playboy magazine.
Eligible works for the award include a newspaper or magazine article, a book, a script resulting in a film or video, or an online piece. Regardless of the nature of the entry, publication or release must have been during the calendar year preceding the award presentation.