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Sarnia writer has soft spot for weird cars

Published on

Tara Jeffrey

Michael Banovsky’s first spoken word was ‘car.’

“Growing up, my dad watched car-racing all the time, and there were always car magazines lying around the house,” said the 31-year-old Sarnia native, explaining his love for everything automotive.

“It’s just something that’s always been there.”

While attending St. Patrick’s High School, Banovsky worked after class at Fenwick Motors and Bailey Toyota, dabbling in the automotive industry and honing his knowledge before embarking on a journalism career in Toronto.

By age 20, he was named the Toronto Star’s Young Automotive Journalist of the Year, landing internships at motorsport and men’s lifestyle magazines — all before graduating from Centennial College.

“I always wanted to be a writer, so the two just naturally fit together,” said Banovsky, who eventually landed at the helm of one of Canada’s largest automotive websites, as editor-in-chief of Sympatico Autos, redesigning the site into what is now, Autofocus.ca.

While reviewing and driving some of the world’s most fascinating and leading-edge vehicles, Banovsky, who currently works at RM Auctions in Chatham, developed a soft spot for the ‘weird’ ones.

“Even as a kid, what was always exciting was seeing something that stood out,” he said. “The more I learned about cars, the less mainstream my tastes got. Because I’m more interested in why a car was made, versus, what it can do, or how it looks.”

Last year he began writing short, blog-style stories about what he calls the “avant-garde, silly, slow, experimental, failed, rare, ridiculous, revolutionary, obsolete, obscure, idiotic and X-rated machines,” in the form of #bcotd (Banovsky’s Car of the Day).

“It was amazing how quickly people started coming out of the woodwork,” said Banovsky, who launched the hobby-turned publication into a free, daily email, which has more than 1,000 subscribers.

It didn’t take long to realize those stories would translate perfectly into a book. He enlisted the help of an editor, but for the most part, Weird Cars is entirely self-published — and his proudest accomplishment thus far.

The book, available through Amazon, includes 77 stories, including a few extras you can’t find online.

It’s dedicated to his mother Linda — a beloved Sarnia teacher who passed away in 2013.

“My goal is to help people learn more about things they might be interested in, versus the same old Mustangs and convertibles,” he said. “Sure, those are all nice cars, but there’s so much more out there.”

For more on Michael Banovsky’s work, including Weird Cars, visit www.banovsky.com.



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