Last weekend, the automotive columnist and founder of Guide to self, Jacques Duval, was celebrating his 86th birthday. And since these days, I work in the drafting of the 55th edition of this book iconic, it was impossible for me not to have a thought for the one who has literally paved the way for the trade that I practice with passion for 20 years now.
As a young boy, Jacques Duval was already a part of my idols. Because he could not spend a day between the output of the Guide of the self at the bookstore and purchasing it, I was going to make a bike in a small bookshop in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu. I drank each of the lines of this book, learning by heart the specifications of the cars and some of the quotes of the authors.
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At this time, not necessarily to the facts of his entire career, it is over the years that I have been able to discover that James Duval was first a radio presenter and racing driver emeritus. In 1971, he won the 24 hours of Daytona in the GT category, becoming the first Québécois to illustrate.
The idea to create the Guide of the self emanates from the wife of Jacques Duval. She suggests to him at the time to put in page impressions, derived from a series of road trials carried out in the context of the issue Take the wheel, then aired on Radio-Canada. Duval, speaking in French in a faultless and that you can always assign the talent of a very large feather, will launch the first Guide to the self in 1967. The menu, 16 road testing, a few maintenance tricks, the technical explanation of the various components of a automobile as well as a glossary to translate in French a few expressions and terms often better known in English. And then, on the back of the book has 158 pages, a brief explanation about Jacques Duval, which begins at the time to make themselves known through radio and television.
At his door
Without realizing it, with great certainty, I dream already very young to practice the profession of automotive journalist. But I dream especially to meet Jacques Duval. The great. The one who travels to the four corners of the globe to try out the latest releases and some of the most beautiful cars in the world.
Living a few miles from home, the young teenager than I am at this time cognera again, not without a certain embarrassment, at the door of his home. Each time, his wife opens me, smile, me mentioning that Jacques is not there. I leave empty-handed, telling myself that one day I’ll be lucky. Of these moments, I remind myself of the steps up to the door of his house glimpse out of the corner of the eye a ton of compact discs located at the back of the salon. Of course, I didn’t know at that time that Mr. Duval is a great lover of French song, and that he had already a serious music collection.
This will not be until years later, while a student in an ontario college, that I will have the chance to meet Mr. Duval for the first time. A personal friend ask me about a possible meeting with him, as a guest of honor of a small automobile event organized by his mother.
Jacques Duval is on the spot, then he puts to the test the new Volkswagen Passat TDI 1996, which has just landed with us. Mr Duval finds without a doubt that this mixture of stuttering and jaw dislocated is for me synonym of a dream come true. He invites me then to take a seat at the edge of the Passat, with which it will go, in a small row of campaign isolated, perform some tests of acceleration. Oh, I would have preferred that he drive a Porsche, but believe me, even a Lada would have done the trick! Following some back-and-forth timed and some of the discussions on the automotive world. Mr. Duval will perform so without a doubt my interest in the field and I will invite him back into my contact information, telling me that it should be possible for me one day to participate in any way whatsoever, to the production of the Guide self.
The next year, he will give to me the making of the sheets, and then I will invite then to participate in some matches comparative Guide to the self. It was during this period that I will also meet Denis Duquet, Marc Lachapelle, and Philippe Laguë, who have also greatly contributed to making this book what it is today. But above all, it is at this time that I clearly realized in what way I would be heading.
For that, thank you, Mr. Duval…and happy birthday !