Philip Ruth – Journalist

Phillip Ruth - Journalist and Gay Car Guy

Name: Philip Ruth – a.k.a “gaycarguy”

Place of Birth: Chester, Pennsylvania
Age: 36
Year, Make and Model of Your first car/truck: 1986 Mazda 323 – base model with a four-speed manual. First car I learned to drive on was a banana-yellow 1980 Chevy Chevette
Occupation: Automotive Journalist
Employer: Self-employed –
What did you think you wanted to be when you grew up? Automotive Journalist
How long have you worked in the auto industry? When I was 10, I was recommending new cars to my parents’ friends. Design school was partially on a Ford scholarship. My internship was as a designer for a truck body company, and I’ve worked as an automotive journalist for nine years.
What do you drive now? I don’t own a car – typically I drive test cars or hire a Zipcar on an hourly basis.
Are you out at work? “gaycarguy” pretty much says it all
Was being gay ever an issue at any of your jobs? At one job, I got anonymous typewritten letters instructing me to accept Jesus and find a church that would help transform me. At another: a few weeks after I was hired, I sat down to a table of upper management, and the gay jokes started flying. The next day, a closeted co-worker – all the gay people were closeted – was told to tell me that the jokes were for my benefit, because they knew I was gay. He wanted me know that “that’s just how we talk here”.
Next day, I relayed this to my boss, and she broke out in tears. She went to Human Resources, and soon after, people from the table were coming to my cube to apologize. Though I appreciated the response, it was a hell of a way to start at a company, and it was never really forgotten.
If you had one piece of advice to give to a gay person wanting to work in the auto industry, what would it be?
Choose your battles and fight if you need to. Don’t let anyone steal your joy, no matter what was said or done.
Ok, here is the fun part; if you had $25,000 and had to buy a new car, what would it be and why? Insight 5-speed – efficient, peppy and small enough to park pretty much anywhere in San Francisco. Runners-up: Mazdaspeed3, Mazda Miata

Same question but bigger budget; $50,000:
Lotus Elise – fun, and still parkable. Runners-up: Porsche Boxster, BMW 335i, Audi S5, Infiniti M45
If money was no object and you had to drive it every day:
Porsche 911 – supremely satisfying to drive – probably the only car I wouldn’t get bored with.
What is your favorite car of all time and why?
Of the 35 cars I’ve owned, two made a big impression – first was a 1971 Datsun 510, which was modified for autocrossing – it was basically a race car that I ran on the street. Huge fun to drive. Sold it in defeat after it blew two engines. The other was a 1985 Merkur XR4Ti – I hated the numb steering and soft suspension, but as an industrial design student, I absolutely loved the styling and ergonomics.
If your car/truck could talk, what would it say about you?
I guess the fact that I don’t own a car now says that I’m OK with not having wheels of my own, which would have been pure heresy when I was younger.
I rarely keep a car more than six months – once I’ve had the experience, I’m ready for the next one. Guess that makes me a car slut! My relationships are the opposite, where I gravitate to people who I feel I can grow with over the long haul.