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Exclusive: Autopian launched by ex-Jalopniks

A blue car sits atop a pile of money

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

On Friday, a pair of ex-G/O Media staffers — David Tracy and Jason Torchinsky — launched The Autopian, a new automotive news outlet, with backing from a Los Angeles-based car dealer.

Why it matters: It's not often you see a new media outlet spring up with a sole industry investor with so much private equity-led funding out there.

  • "We were talking to all sorts of private equity firms, trying to figure out how we're going to get funding. After a while, it was like, well, money is out there," Tracy tells Axios. "But what's also out there is management that's trying to protect its investment. There's risk there, especially if they're not involved in the car world."
  • Luckily for them, Torchinsky's friend and fellow car-nut Beau Boeckmann is president of Galpin Motors, which owns Honda, Ford, Jaguar and other L.A.-area dealerships.
  • The only funding detail the company shared was that it is "enough to provide The Autopian and its staffers with a multi-year runway to allow the site to find success and become a sustainable destination for car-lovers."

Details: Tracy describes The Autopian as the car-lover's version of The Players' Tribune.

  • The site will rely heavily on freelancers from various fields of the automotive world, including a designer from Ford and Tesla.
  • They hope to have six full-time staff writers in the next three to four months.
  • "There's always been journalists that were going to sources and writing a story. We're actually kind of skipping that step and just putting the source directly in contact with the reader. It's kind of like the Protestant Reformation of auto sites, in that sense," Torchinsky says.

Yes, but: Tracy promises their ownership won't get involved in what they cover.

  • "We made sure to, in our operating agreement, build that in there and make it very clear that all editorial decisions are going to be made by Jason and me," he says.

Catch up quick: Tracy and Torchinsky left G/O Media's Jalopnik earlier this year.

  • Tracy admitted their experience with G/O Media was probably better than most, as they were given a lot of freedom. "We're not really running away from something," he says.
  • The biggest criticism they had was that G/O removed images, many of which were custom-designed by Torchinsky, from most of their articles. "It was just wiped from the internet. And the idea of just like a decade of your work being wiped, it just doesn't work," Tracy says.
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