Welcome to this month’s edition of Ask a Gearhead, our Q&A series with enthusiasts and influencers in the automotive space. Last month we spoke with VINwiki founder Ed Bolian, and this month we are pleased to feature Andrew P. Collins!
Andrew is Reviews Editor at the enthusiast culture hub Jalopnik, but in his career has held such former titles as Off-Road Expedition Guide (in Australia) and Skiing Mascot at Mammoth Mountain, California (Woolly!). The native Bostonian has a love for everything on wheels and is “particularly fond of high mileage cars and old 4x4s.”
Andrew gets to do awesome stuff for his job. He recently returned from testing the 2017 Land Rover Discovery on an overlanding expedition in Peru and is currently wrapping up a road trip to Moab in an $800 1986 Jeep Grand Wagoneer. He can tell you if the new Toyota Land Cruiser is any good or give sage advice on buying a BMW 8 Coupe. Andrew is a chill guy and you can follow his writing on Jalopnik and his adventures on Instagram.
WHAT WAS YOUR FAMILY CAR GROWING UP?
My family had a 1988 Civic in that pale blue that every ‘80s car was in. We had it for basically my whole childhood. At one point I crashed it into a fence, and then eventually it got donated when I went off to college.
WORST THING YOU’VE EVER DRIVEN?
The worst thing I can remember driving was an early ‘60s Volkswagen Beetle that my Grandpa had. It was my first exposure to really archaic automotive technology — I remember being just astounded at how useless all the controls and pedals felt.
IF YOU COULD OWN JUST ONE CAR FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
If I were to vote with my head, I’d say a late model Toyota 4Runner that works and would be decently fun. But if I were to vote with my heart, I’d say my ‘05 Acura TL. That thing has carried me through many years, thousands of miles, and it’s a good utility player for whatever I want to do.
FAVORITE ROAD TRIP?
If I had to call out one as my favorite, in 2007 my best childhood friend and I drove a 1987 Mitsubishi Starion from Boston to Los Angeles. We took the long route, covering 3,100 miles in 10 days. Day one the clutch line exploded and we wrapped it in duct tape, but other than that it was miraculously trouble free and it was awesome. I’ve driven cross-country a few times since then, but driving the backroads of America in a wacky car with a good friend really motivated me to chase the job I have now, to be honest.
WHAT’S IN YOUR NETFLIX QUEUE RIGHT NOW?
I’m currently rewatching “The Office.” I’m just getting to the point where James Spader shows up. And I still circle back to “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” Those are my go-tos on Netflix.
YOU’RE DIRECTING FAST & FURIOUS 9, WHAT’S THE HERO CAR?
I feel like they’ve actually done a good job with their hero cars throughout. In my fantasy world I’d keep it with the hotrods I grew up around, so I’d try to get a heroic role for a blue ‘99 Civic Si to throw it back.
WHAT WOULD BE THE BEST ANIMAL TO RIDE IF IT WERE SCALED UP TO THE SIZE OF A HORSE?
I love sloths but they’d be pretty useless to ride. Maybe a fluffy Pomeranian — that would be cute and fluffy and fun to ride on, and ideally friendly.
WHAT ACTIVITY ARE YOU MOST EXCITED TO BE ABLE TO DO IN A CAR WHEN SELF-DRIVERS ARRIVE?
Look out the window, man. Just yesterday my fiancée was driving us down the 1, which doesn’t happen that often, and looking around at the beach and stores and stuff is great. I feel like we don’t get a lot of opportunities to just look around and see what’s going on.
WHATS YOUR MARIO KART CHARACTER?
Back in college I was all about Wario, I like how he trucks through everybody. And his own track is like a dirt motocross course, which is awesome.
WHO WOULD PLAY YOU IN THE BIOPIC OF YOUR LIFE? AND WHAT IS IT CALLED?
I have been told that I look a lot like Dax Shepard. And I interviewed him once and he made the same assessment. For the title, how about “Iron Man 4.” I think that would disappoint a lot of people but at least we’d have a big opening weekend.
IF YOU HAD AN ICE CREAM TRUCK, WHAT SONG WOULD YOU PLAY FROM THE SPEAKER?
I’d play “Feed My Frankenstein” by Alice Cooper. It might creep some people out played through one of those eight-bit ice cream truck speakers. And to stay with the theme, how about a Hearse as the ice cream truck? I don’t think I’d make a lot of money but I’d make it onto Twitter or something like that.
WHAT IS THE VERY LAST CAR YOU RENTED?
In Costa Rica I rented a Hyundai… I can’t remember if it was a Tucson or Santa Fe, that’s how exciting it was. One of those crossover things.