The End of a Road and a Long Journey

Warren Brown, left, with Jackie Stewart after Brown took Stewart for a (frightening) spin around the track in 1993. When they were done, the racing legend asked,
Warren Brown, left, with Jackie Stewart after Brown took Stewart for a (frightening) spin around the track in 1993. When they were done, the racing legend asked, "Do Washington auto journalists drive cars?" (Courtesy Of Warren Brown)
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By Warren Brown
Special to The Washington Post
Sunday, July 5, 2009

Dear readers:

You'll notice that my byline has changed. That's because I've retired from the full-time staff of this fine journal, effective July 1.

It was not a tough decision.

I love this newspaper, which has employed me for 33 years. But my love isn't blind. I can see numbers. I can count, and the numbers in The Post's rather generous early retirement offer said I should go.

Thus, I'm going -- but not terribly far.

My semi-departure means this will be the last installment of the Car Culture column on these pages. While I'll continue to review autos for The Washington Post, the Car Culture column will continue in slightly altered form in Decisive magazine, to be published by OnWheels, a company founded 15 years ago by automotive journalists of color (including yours truly) under the leadership of Maryland businessman Randi Payton.

Decisive is the natural outgrowth of several successful OnWheels publications, including Asians on Wheels, African Americans on Wheels and Latinos on Wheels. Decisive, a business, consumer and cultural journal, will unite all of those segments in one publication.

It's a crazy time to be starting a new magazine. But everyone told us we were insane when we launched our initial publication, African Americans on Wheels, in 1994. We've been publishing ever since. We're crazy enough to try it again.

Deciding to accept the Post's economic carrot was easy. Actually leaving the place isn't.

After 33 years, I have many memories, most of them favorable. Truth be told, I owe the place.

The Post and its many fine employees, particularly former staffers Martha McNeil Hamilton and Frank Swoboda, saved my life -- literally.

I had kidney failure. Thanks to the company's excellent medical plan, I was able to get top-notch care. Swoboda, my Business section editor during that ordeal, supported me and my family every step of the way. Hamilton, a dear friend and fellow Business staffer -- and a white woman from Houston -- did him one better. She gave me a kidney.


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