Nick Yost is the author of the new book, The Essential Hybrid Car Handbook
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Earliest available records indicate that Nick Yosts fascination with all things automotive began at about age 3.
A small photograph, rescued from deep in the recesses of a dusty old family photo album, shows Yost behind the wheel of a small convertible, circa 1941. Obviously a vehicle generations ahead of its time, the Yostmobile relied solely on pollution-free pedal power.
The ensuing war years must have taken their toll on the youngster, as his automotive horizons were pretty much limited to the view from the passenger seat of a 1938 Plymouth four-door sedan.
But he persevered, and when he eventually reached the magical age of 16 he found himself the occasional pilot of the familys less-than-pristine1950 Chevrolet DeLuxe two-door sedan .
A few years later, he became, for $100, the sole proprietor of a 1946 Oldsmobile sedan, a grimy, long-neglected relic that averaged about 18 miles per gallon of heavily leaded gasoline and 50 miles per quart of reconstituted oil. It wasnt much, but it lasted him a whole summer, after which he passed it on to a young neighbor for $40 and returned to college.
What followed was a long succession of used cars, some reasonably serviceable, others best described as junk. But Yosts enthusiasm never diminished and he kept on driving and reading and daydreaming about the cars that one day would occupy his garage.
Finally, he struck paydirt. The Reading (Pa.) Times, where he earned his pay as city editor, awarded him a weekly column about new cars and trucks. For the next 21 years, a new car was made available for his critique almost weekly.
In 1986, he participated in the first One Lap of America, an 8,800-mile odyssey in which he and two journalist teammates whipped a Plymouth Voyager minivan along the perimeter of the entire United States in one week. They came in fifth among 76 entrants.
Now, with well over 1,000 cars tested, he is a freelance journalist in north-central New Jersey, writing automotive articles for this web site, the Washington, D.C., Times and anyone else who wants them. He also is active in the International Motor Press Assn., an organization of about 500 journalists and automotive industry representatives based in New York City. Recently, he finished a two-year stint as the organizations first vice president.