Automobile magazine´s December 2011 issue published a sidebar by Jamie Kitman to the story Writer´s Blog about Margus H. Kuuse of Estonia (page 88).
Margus-Hans Kuuse (Tallinn, Estonia) is the oldest (68) automobile journalist, historian and author on a huge territory which until 1991 was known as the USSR. He was called by his Western colleagues the auto missionary of the USSR, which he was.
In sense he is a world record holder in automotive journalism. A bold statement? Please read on.
He re-invented the said area of activity in the Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic in early seventies, the last auto magazine in Estonia being closed back in 1940 by invading the independent country commies. He became a lone auto journalist of his homeland for a longish period lasting nearly to the end of the soviet rule.
In seventies and eighties he controlled (mostly wrote himself, in a few cases edited) practically every watertight word written in Estonian about western automobiliana. Not to mention illustrations he used, all genuine, never copied like in other publications.
He was a lone auto scribe in a whole huge USSR who wrote about no-no cars, trucks, racing machinery, components, people and places on monthly basis, also lectured about these subjects for years, until this second activity was forbidden. Despite a few backfires, his unque writing activities were allowed to continue, only God knows why.
Due to a political situation he managed to write just one book about the world´s auto history. Despite it sold out – 15 000+20 000 copies in a 1 million Estonian speakers country! - literally in a single week each time (about 1000 copies stolen in a printing shop as the first edition of the book 100 AUTOT was the first of its kind at that time -1979 - between the Baltic and the Pacific).
He wrote about Soviet Union´s autos and racing in 4 socialist and 18 capitalist countries. The USSR´s history doesn´t know any other technical journalist with a soviet passport who was listed in the mastheads of leading western magazines as their Correspondent in the USSR. In Margus´ case these magazines were Autocar (GB), Autoselekt (NL), Tekniikan Maailma (FIN), Rombo, Autosprint, Motosprint (I).
His single-solder war against all odds was recognized in shape of fantastic co-operation and understanding by PR persons and colleagues worldwide. Info flow to his P.O.Box consisted Press Kits, photos and line art, handouts and brochures, souvenirs, sometimes even books of highest professional quality (SAE etc) which he as a graduated engineer adores most.
Why the PR persons and colleagues-writers of Free World were so generous? A New York based publisher David Ash put it to paper perfectly in 1974: „ I do this for the very obvious reason that letting the world behind the Iron Curtain know about who we are and what we are is probably one of the most important things any of us can do.“
After demise of the USSR the said flow soon dried up, so over the past 20 years obtaining first-class stuff has become next to impossible. The country is free again, but a pro like Kuuse has no money whatsoever for buying worthy editions. Internet level is not good enough for him, he needs real deep and detailed information. He sees a story behind every metal thickness and bolt diameter, to be honest. A real rivet counter.
He still tries to continue with writings deeper and more analytical than anything you see in Estonian these days. Continues also as a main informer of the nation, filling two auto sites, one print magazine, writing texts for auto DVD-s and even seeing a couple of books published in a real unfriendly environment. A part of his earnings he spends on the first in the Baltics „total“ auto site which covers everything, from auto arts and publishing to commercial vehicles and components. His A-Z site is titled www.automobilia.ee.
Books are too costly for most Estonians, and the tradition of reading longish automotive texts is not born yet. His next dream is in establishing a proper info flow once again in his native language in shape of cheap to buy part-works of 24 or 32 pages.
Margus´ 40+ year activities have been hailed in a few cases in his life and the year 2011 has brought even two honours.
This summer the Estonian Auto Importers Union (AMTEL) awarded his longish services with a golden badge never before given to a journalist.
So important in the USA Automobile magazine mentioned kindly his work.
Earlier recognitions are:
Washington Automotive Press Association (WAPA) named Kuuse its honorary member in eighties.
French magazine AUTO MOTO, organizing the first Car of the Century (COTC) competition in 1990, asked him to join their worldwide pro jury as a member, representing the USSR.
Margus was included in the similar Jury in 1999, representing his free again homecountry (along with the Russian Federation representatives, so only these two countries among 15 which belonged to the USSR up to 1991 were represented in the second COTC).
His second book, the first one in ex-USSR on the world´s auto design history, was nominated for the Cugnot Award. Essentially Kuuse is not able to compete with the world-famous writers, so experienced and working with first-hand sources, so the nomination sounded like a small, but still heartwarming joke. The basic book´s huge importance is only local as our public has essentially no idea about the mentioned subject.
Margus has got this, his profession´s highest award, as a contributor to The Beaulieu Encyclopaedia of the Automobile.
His current address:
Republic of Estonia
+372 6 890 852
+372 53 305 666
Full article in PDF here
Margus H. Kuuse honoured by Automobile magazine in the USA