Will Sabel Courtney was born in Newport, Rhode Island. From the ages of one to three, he lived in Somerville, Massachusetts, only a few blocks from where future president Barack Obama lived. It is not known if they met at any point; however, he did meet Julia Child in a checkout line, who, according to Will’s mother, cooed over how cute he was.
It was at this time Will became interested in automobiles. Reportedly, his first word was “Toyota.” He cannot vouch for this himself, but his earliest memory is of reading the name “Mitsubishi” off a Montero’s spare tire cover at age 2 and a half.
He then moved to Stowe, Vermont, where he lived until he was 18 years old. During this time, he contributed to the local newspaper, The Stowe Reporter, and helped start a youth interview ‘zine. It was for this publication that he wrote his first piece of automotive journalism, interviewing BMW exec Jack Pitney at age 14.
Will attended George Washington University for his freshman year of college, which is where he settled on journalism as a career. He also realized that Washington D.C. was not somewhere he wanted to spend the next few years of his life, so he transferred to New York University for his sophomore year.
While at NYU, he double-majored in journalism and anthropology,, as NYU requires journalism students to have a second major—ostensibly so they have a specialty to write about. He suspects the true reasoning is to give J-school kids a fallback career.
It was while at NYU that Will created College Cars Online, the first automotive website targeted directly at college students and young professionals. The site allowed him to begin reviewing cars, for which he’ll always be eternally grateful to the people who actually read the site.
He continued on CCO after graduation, when—after a brief period waiting tables, thanks Lehman Brothers—he found a job working for Time Out New York. The relationships he made there continue to serve him well to this day.
After several months there, he moved to RIDES Magazine and 0-60 Magazine, to serve as their online editor. The print edition of 0-60 folded shortly after he arrived, but he continued to maintain the online website for several years.
He eventually ascended to the rank of managing editor at RIDES, a position he held until late 2013, when he left to work on development of the automotive TV comedy “Driving With Idiots,” which he was a part of until mid-2015.
He lives in Brooklyn, and in spite of the ridiculous cost of living and terrible roads…he finds it hard to imagine being anywhere else.