Are We There Yet?

Life as a Car Talk kid

On any given Saturday, Drew Magliozzi, a freshman in Straus, doesn’t care to get up very early. But while Drew is slumbering away, over two million Americans tune into his father and uncle’s nationally syndicated public radio talk show-Car Talk.

For 14 years running, Drew’s father Ray and his uncle Tom have broadcast automotive wisdom to a cadre of devoted fans and desperate motorists on their Peabody Award winning show “Car Talk.” The show asks callers to phone in with their car problems and the omniscient Magliozzi brothers dish out their advice. Miles away from the troubled car, Ray and Tom often have little to go on besides noises made by bewildered callers trying to replicate their car’s rattle.

But Drew can’t share in the enthusiasm of Car Talk aficionados – “I hear enough of this at home,” he says. For this potential Italian and philosophy concentrator, home is place that’s tough to escape. The Car Talk office sits proudly in Harvard Square at the corner of Brattle and John F. Kennedy streets and his father’s auto shop, where Ray still fixes cars himself, is located off Central Square. “I was actually nervous when I got Straus because it’s so close to their office.” Says Magliozzi. “They have a webcam in their office looking out to Harvard Square. I was worried my mom would spy on me.”

But such is the price of celebrity. Constant exposure is just part of the game. “Truthfully,” Magliozzi says, “this is the first crushing paparazzi moment of my life.” Magliozzi, a fan of Boston’s Jammin’ 94.5 and Howard Stern, was quite surprised to hear that his dad was even that well known. “People do tend to ask me a lot about cars,” says the young Magliozzi, adding, “[they] assume that I know a lot about cars which is unfortunately false.”

As a campus youngin’, Drew must navigate the occasional run-in with other campus celebrities. “ I don’t feel like a celebrity at all. It doesn’t really click that I’m one of them,” the modest Magliozzi insists. Despite the dynasty he bears, Drew admits that he gets star struck by some of the people on campus. “I saw Tatyana Ali the other day. We were on the elevator [in DeWolfe] together Magliozzi recalls. “We were all getting off the elevator and somebody said like, ‘Do you want to go somplace else or back to your [Magliozzi’s] room?’ I said, ‘Cool we’ll go back to my room and listen to my will smith CD.’ She [Ali] turned and looked and gave a smirk,” he said with a red face.

Still, nothing drives the ladies wild like having connections to public radio. “A few girls have approached me about [Car Talk]. “It’s a conversation starter,” says Magliozzi. When asked what kind of transmission part he’d be Drew says he would be “an exhaust pipe because I’ve got to take a lot of hot air from my dad and my uncle.”

Even though Drew’s car-of-choice is the oft-mentioned on-air Colt Vista, as a Harvard freshman there is little time for driving. He says that his father and uncle have been good mentors: “[my uncles are] trained in the art of BS. They always make their answers sound confident but the answers are only right 60-70% of the time.” From the garage to the Yard, Drew is cruising.

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