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Astra Test Drive
in Germany Contest Winner
Date: Oct, 2007
Astra Test Drive in Germany Contest Winner
As the old saying goes, some days you're the bug and some days
you're the windshield.
Today, Eric Tingwall is the windshield. The 21-year-old
Michigan State senior is the winner of Inside Line's "Win a Trip
to the Frankfurt Auto Show" contest. Eric's essay was chosen from
hundreds of entries, which means the single Novi, Michigan, native will
be flown to Germany where he will attend a press day at the
Frankfurt Auto Show and spend a day driving a U.S.-spec Saturn
"Cars are such an emotional thing," says Tingwall, who owns a 2003
Mazda Protege 5. "And the Astra caught my eye when Saturn said they were
going to bring it over here. I'm a hatchback guy, and there aren't many
in the U.S."
Aside from his passion for cars, Eric is an avid
triathlon participant and plays a little guitar. Oh yeah, and he finds
time for a double major. Tingwall is pursuing a Bachelor of Science
degree in mechanical engineering, and a Bachelor of Arts in journalism.
But he's still on the fence about which one he'll use to earn a living
and the Lamborghini Gallardo he desires.
"I'm not sure what I'll do after graduation," says Tingwall. "I just
know I'll do something with cars."
Read Eric's blog here
Eric's winning essay:
Do you ever worry about one of your writers starting an article with
the world's worst lead? Ja? With Eric Tingwall as your Inside Line
correspondent, you'll catch a passionate and thorough evaluation of
Saturn's Astra along with epic third-person writing skills.
Hyperbole, clichés and cheesy German aside, I'd make an incredible
Inside Line correspondent for driving Saturn's U.S.-bound Astra. For
years I've dreamed of test-driving cars for a living. Plenty of
obstacles have stood in my way of driving hard and earning money. To
this point it's been more like driving fast and losing money, thanks to
Officer Trojanowski's radar gun.
I'm earning dual degrees in mechanical engineering and journalism at
Michigan State University, which means you could say I've already paid
$30,000 for this trip to Germany. I've had professional engineering
experience at Ford Motor Company and real-world writing assignments
while working at the Lansing State Journal. The Astra is a product with
immense potential. The excitement surrounding the car would drive me to
produce the most detailed and comprehensive review.
There can't be a better place to test-drive the Astra than Germany.
Sure, there are some slightly undesirable aspects of German life, like
people who enjoy David Hasselhoff, sauerkraut and people eating
sauerkraut while watching Hasselhoff films. But I hear if you have to
drink beer somewhere that isn't Michigan State, Germany's not too bad.
The autobahn is silky smooth, with unrestricted speeds in some places;
it's a figurative chromy 20-inch wheel to Metro Detroit's salt-tarnished
14-inch steelies that are crater-riddled, gridlocked roads. If the Astra
can make it in a country where a talking, crime-fighting Pontiac
Trans-Am sets the standards, undoubtedly it can survive in the nation
that tolerated the Ion for four years.
My combination of engineering and journalism experience and ability
to tolerate the smell of sauerkraut make me the perfect candidate for
this trip to Germany. I promise knowledgeable, thorough reporting for
the Inside Line readers. Plus, it might finally get Dad off my
back for that dual-degree, five-year college program.