It’s almost impossible to miss Jason Cammisa. It’s a categorical impossibility that you’ll forget him.
The first time our paths crossed was at a Mazda event at (and around) WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca (née Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, née Laguna Seca) for some selection of mostly unremembered vehicles. I mistakenly assumed Cammisa was an asshole after an afternoon spent with his nose on my bumper as I drove right up to the extent of my meager abilities, on some public roads in Monterey County. I can still close my eyes and remember seeing his Mazdaspeed3 up close in my rearview, as I nervously tried to speed up on a curved, buckled, and occasionally cattle-strewn stretch of road.
Later at dinner, and at various dinners, shuttle rides, and conferences over the years, I realized Cammisa was quick-witted (and obviously, quick behind the wheel), a little loud and a lot funny, and not really an asshole at all. Even then – previous to his career as a host and video personality – his incredible knowledge and unbelievable passion for automobiles was evident within a few minutes of riotous dinner conversation.
Today, Jason has used his natural talents and obsession with research to build a massive following across digital mediums, but especially on video. His work for Hagerty is some of the most compelling video content going right now, period. And his back catalog of written work contains one of my all-time favorite weirdo adventure stories (with Jean Jennings, Sam Smith, a barely running limo, and prom attire…). Let’s ask some questions.
Which car was the most important to you when you were growing up?
Familiarity plays a big role in what I was into, so that was mostly whatever was in our driveway. Over time, that included an AMC Pacer, a Toyota FJ60 Land Cruiser, Saab 900 Turbo, Peugeot 505 STX V6, Audi 90 20V Quattro, or an Opel Kadett GSi. But the one car I wanted most that we never had: an E30-chassis BMW 325i sedan. I begged my parents to get one – it looked the business, was the best-sounding engine I’d ever heard, and I knew that every time it snowed, my mom would've been sideways drifting up our hill. Sadly, I had to wait until I was in my mid-20s to have one, but 20 years ago this week, I bought my E30 325i Touring.
You have a ticket to go anywhere in the world with any vehicle. What are you driving and where?
Please don’t say the word "ticket" around me; I have about 100 instances of traffic-court PTSD.
If it’s truly a carte-blanche experience, I’m going on a cross-continent tour of Europe in a McLaren F1. It’d need to include some serious driving in the Alps, at least a couple laps of the Nürburgring (because duh), a day of lapping at a real race track like Ascari (the ‘Ring isn’t a track, it’s a one-way country toll road), much Autobahn time, and then street parking in Paris. Because it’d be fun to watch the Parisians try not to bash into a $20 million car when that’s the only way they know how to park.
Tell us about a person, product, or company that we should be paying attention to in the next year?
Rivian. If Rivian can pull through the teething pains of getting the R1S, in particular, into mass production, we finally have a true competitor to Tesla’s Model Y. Driving the R1T was the second “oh my god, this will change the world” moment I’ve head in my career. The first was a Tesla Model S.
What’s the most exciting thing you’re working on right now?
My content. It’s really the only thing I’m working on, to the dismay of my lonely cars… I’ve stupidly signed myself up for 78 pieces of Hagerty content this year: 48 episodes of The Carmudgeon Show podcast; 12 episodes of Revelations (which is my favorite to write and produce); 12 episodes of Cammisa’s Ultimate Drag Race Replay (which is the most fun to do); and 6 episode of ICONS, which is the product I’m most proud of once the pain of actually producing it starts to subside.
What are three interesting items that can always be found on your desk?
1. Some exorbitant number of research books for Revelations episodes
2. Tissues and lotion (because I have allergies and dry skin, you perv)
3. A DMV registration renewal form, because I am a hoarder, and having nine cars means a registration renewal every six weeks.
See More from Jason Cammisa on his very active and hilarious Instagram and Twitter accounts. And if you have an idea for the next 5 Questions subject (or that person is you), email us at email@example.com