Five questions with Nitish Rele, local magazine publisher
Nitish S. Rele, who lives in New Tampa' s Pebble Creek subdivision, sits in a Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport convertible he test drove for a car review. The car equipped with 1001 horsepower had a base price $1.8 million, Rele said.
Published: July 3, 2013
Updated: July 3, 2013 at 06:29 PM
This week we chat with Nitish S. Rele of New Tampa, who owns two publications, Motoring Tampa Bay, an auto sports magazine, and Khaas Baat, an English language monthly catering to Indian Americans statewide. He creates both at his home-based operation in the Pebble Creek subdivision.
The veteran journalist launched the newspaper focused on Indian culture nine years ago. About four years later, he debuted the Motoring Tampa Bay website www.motoringtampabay.com.
The online car newspaper was created as a source for automobile-related news, featuring information about Tampa area car shows, cruise-ins, car clubs and swap meets. Rele's Hot Rides reviews offer users product evaluations of new and yet-to-be-released domestic and import vehicles he test drives.
Rele began a tabloid version of the automobile magazine in September 2009. The 12-page publication includes content found on the website and information about area automobile repair shops and dealerships; classified advertisments; and reader-provided photographs of their favorite vehicles.
Rele got his start as an automotive editor and columnist during a 20-year career at the Tampa Tribune.
Q: Do you consider yourself a car expert? What advice would you give other car lovers to learn more about cars?
Answer: I am no car expert. I can only recommend what new car in any segment one can buy depending on their budget and needs. It is because I have been test-driving cars weekly for more than a decade. So if you are looking to purchase a sedan, I say go for a Toyota Camry or the gorgeous Hyundai Sonata. But for car lovers - those into classic and new cars - I would recommend Automobile magazine. I believe it's owned by the same folks who own "Motor Trend" and has invaluable articles on all types of rides.
Q: What inspired you to launch Motoring Tampa Bay as a home business?
Answer: When you are out of a job, you have no choice but to find avenues to make a living. Besides, what better business to pursue than what's your passion. I figured since I was acquainted with the automotive scene, both locally and nationally, both the motoringtampabay.com website and the monthly Motoring Tampa Bay publication would be successful one day. It's been a challenge, but I have always been up for it.
Q: Do you write all of the articles, or do you hire freelance writers and photographers?
Answer: I test drive all the new vehicles, so yes I wrote those (articles). I also compile all the monthly and upcoming car shows and cruise-ins. I do have a good friend who likes to check out classic cars at some of the shows, take photos and is occasionally inspired to write an article or two. I go to most car shows such as the monthly one in Dade City and to the Northpointe show in Lutz. I take photos too. Otherwise, I like to localize some of the stories on the media websites of automakers like we did in July with (a story about) the national Kia '"Vans Warped Tour," which will be dropping in at St. Petersburg's Vinoy Park on July 26.
Q: What is the hottest vehicle on the road in the Tampa area, and why is it special?
Answer: That's a tough one. There are some incredible vehicles on the road today. But I recently test drove the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8, which blasts off with 470 horsepower and is equipped with a believe-it-or-not 8-speed auto transmission. In my review, I called it a muscle car in SUV clothing. Of course, the ride doesn't come cheap at a base price of $62,995 and meager gas mileage of 13 miles per gallon in the city and 19 miles per gallon on the highway. Despite weighing more than 5,000 pounds, the Jeep can go from zero to 60 miles per hour in less than 5 seconds.
Q: If you had an opportunity to star in the movie "Fast & Furious 6," what actor would you boot to play his role?
Answer: I haven't watched the film, so I wouldn't have any idea of who I would boot. I say let actors be actors and let me do my gig. It's better that way for moviegoers.