10 Best Engines stories 'Twas the month before Christmas, when all around Ward's,
Were Audis, Chevys, Hondas and Fords.
Spec sheets were hung in the hallway with care,
In hopes the judges would find Best Engines there.

The judges were bundled all snug in their coats,
As they sat at the wheel and pondered their votes.
Visnic in his office, and I at my desk,
Had been hustling the cars for us all to test.

When out in the parking deck there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my desk to see what was the matter.
It was Banks in the Saab, and I saw in a flash,
He was ripping up pavement with his foot fully mashed.

McClellan was not deterred by the new-fallen snow,
Knowing the Hemi would take her where she needed to go.
When what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a guy in a beard pumping 8 cylinders of fear.

It was Winter, his driving lively and quick,
I knew in a moment his Mustang was slick.
To the Lodge Freeway, the pony car flew,
With the Southfield police eyeing him, too.

“Enough!” I said. “We must get to work.
These cars must be driven, to specs be alert.”
My brow it was furrowed, for as I turned 'round,
Out of the elevator came Visnic with a bound.

His driving gloves were leather, and his right foot was heavy.
And his driving record battered like a New Orleans levee.
A bundle of citations was stuffed in his pocket.
He smiled, nonetheless, and called the Audi S4 a rocket.

Its gauges, how they twinkled, its throttle, how merry.
He stepped on the gas, and the scene became scary.
He crashed through the deck, with the cops in tow,
While the rest of the judges said, “Now we must go.”

McClellan jumped in the 3-Series and smiled a grinchy grin,
While Winter pummeled the A3 and said, “This one should win.”
Banks grabbed the Infiniti and laughed from his belly.
“I love it!” he screamed, on his way to the deli.

And me in the Lexus, a right jolly old elf,
I couldn't help but like it, in spite of myself.
A wink of Winter's eye and a twist of the key,
Sent the Cobalt SS dashing with wintry glee.

Judge Murphy finds Mazdaspeed6 as warmth on a cold day.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to work,
Filling the gas tanks with his credit card perks.
McClellan stepped up and said, “There's one we forgot.
The Mazdaspeed6 has what many others do not:

4-cylinder power, direct injection and a turbo to whistle.”
And away she flew like a tomahawk missile.
Visnic returned, in the steaming S4 he came,
Conferred with the judges, and called the winners by name:

“Now Lexus, now Nissan, now Audi and Hemi,
On Mazda, on Mustang, on Beemer, on Chevy!
To the front of the stage you all must go,
To pick up the Lucite for your bosses to show!”

But I heard him exclaim, as the police sirens bellowed,
“Congratulations to all, but it's time for me to go!”

tmurphy@primediabusiness.com