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Journalist Bill Roebuck is the founder, publisher, chief reviewer, and editor of CarTest!
About Bill Roebuck, CarTest's Editor & Publisher
By Robert Whitelaw
Bill Roebuck, the creator, publisher, editor and chief reviewer for CarTest!, has had a love of and fascination for cars since he was little. He was one of those kids who always could tell you the year and make of any car driving by. And if he spotted one he'd never seen before, the lines and the stance of the vehicle usually were recognizable enough that he could make an accurate guess. Sometimes it was something like a sixth sense that came into play -- he'd just 'know' what a car was from a distance.
His very first car -- other than driving his parent's Ford products -- was a 1963 MGB roadster in original racing green. It had a lot of original rust in the colour too. He drove it into the ground. He always thought it odd that while he drove his 'B' rather sedately around town, he was often pulled over by traffic cops who wanted to check out the car, but they never could find a reason to give him a ticket for anything.
Then he got a very boring-looking 1972 Fiat 128 sedan in dark blue (the model was named the European Car of the Year for 1970). "It was the cheapest new car you could buy in Canada at the time." Roebuck drove that boxy beast fast and furiously -- and never got pulled over by the cops once ... just because it looked sedate, he expects. The car didn't last too long though -- it couldn't survive Canadian winters. Fiat left the market shortly thereafter with its tailpipe tucked between its wheels. He wonders if the survivability of Fiats will be any better as the company returns to the North American market though its ownership of Chrysler Corp., which it began to acquire in 2009.
Various other cars followed. A 1984 grey/blue VW Beetle (that he kept way too long), and a burgundy 1988 Nissan 300Z 2+2 Turbo (that he didn't keep long enough) were among the more interesting. Family life meant there were a few Ford Taurus Wagons in succession, and even a ubiquitous pair of Dodge Caravans back to back. ("The kind that you can never find your own in a mall parking lot because there's so many just like them.")
Also in the driveway has been a 2003 Toyota Corolla, selected by his teenage (at the time) kids from Dad's 'safe, reliable and inexpensive' list. There was the family's 2007 Honda CR-V LX as well, liked so well it was replaced at the end of it's lease with a 2011 model (same car, different colour).
Roebuck's 'beater', a 1987 Oldsmobile Delta 88 Royal Brougham sedan in rusty gold, usually parked somewhere while he's test-driving the latest model on loan from the press fleet of one of the manufacturers, began costing much as $3,000 a year in repairs, so it went to Car Heaven, an organization that helps charities and ensures old vehicles are properly recycled. The Olds was replaced by a 1994 Corolla and a fun summer car, a 1997 Mercedes-Benz SL 500 roadster (and that's another story in itself). "At least the Toyota starts and runs every day without a check engine light on," he says.
Roebuck began writing extensively about vehicles in 1996 and became a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC) in 1997. His work has appeared in the Toronto Star's Wheels section, and has been syndicated in the Toronto Sun/Sun Media. He also has written automotive reviews and articles for World of Wheels and Carguide magazines, and for various custom, business and trade publications. The extensive list of magazines and newspapers that have included his byline over the past 25+ years is too long to include here.
His writing and editing work has garnered several awards over the years, including countless nominations and more than a dozen awards for editorial excellence in business publishing from the Canadian Business Press; a Scribe Award from the Canadian Federation of Chefs du Cuisine; and a couple of honourable mentions for Best Website from the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC). Plus there are three runner-up awards from AJAC's annual automotive photography competition. See more here about these awards.
Comments? He'd love to hear from you. You can reach Bill at: