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'Road & Track' magazine


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#51 GreenMachine

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Posted 27 August 2006 - 06:57

Nobody has mentioned Stan Mott, and his wonderful creations ...

or was that the link earlier to Cyclops, which did not work for me?

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#52 RA Historian

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Posted 26 May 2007 - 14:16

I am currently reading the huge Bernard Cahier book and that has caused me to start thinking about Road & Track magazine. I started with R&T back in 1956 (have every issue since) and it was Cahier's articles that got me hooked on racing. (Interesting side thought: if I had read Speed Age rather than R&T, would I now be a fan of short track etc racing instead of road racing? Funny how our tastes are shaped.)

So I went back to my shelves and pulled out some R&Ts from the 50s and 60s. They certainly are different from today. ON one hand, of course, the quality is up, size, paper, color photos and the like. But on the other hand, the content is down. Simply put, it is now Road magazine, if you follow me. All road tests, comparison tests, tire tests, stories about alternative fuels, etc. Where is the Track? A few pages in the back is all that they devote towards what used to be the main defining element of the magazine. I realize, of course, that the internet and TV has rendered race reports to the past, but where are the background articles, the stories about teams, series, drivers, etc. All gone. Ah, the fondly remembered articles by Henry Manney, Rob Walker, and Innes Ireland!

I guess that I still subcribe to it for these reasons: 1-I do not want to break a 50 year chain; 2- the Peter Egan articles are the most entertaining and well written articles in the car magazine business today; 3-once in a great while they do have a good article by Sam Posey, Gordon Kirby, et al. 4- the current subscription price is 72 cents a copy. But these days the mag comes and I am done reading it in 30 minutes because I skip most of the articles.

Earlier on this thread five covers were illustrated. Take a look at them and compare to today's covers. Those were interesting and eye catching. Today take five R&T covers at random and look at them: they are all the same. A red or yellow car displayed diagonally across the cover with a bunch of splashy graphics. Ugh.

Salon: Every month used to carry an article of some old and significant race or touring car, with some excellent photography. Remember all those Phil Hill articles on cars from the Donington Museum? Today the Salon articles are rare indeed. One every two or three years.

I realize that the good old days are gone, and that they are not coming back, so let's just look at this as nostalgia for the R&T that used to be, and just accept the current mag for what it is.

Sorry to go off on a tangent here, but my memory was jogged by the Cahier book, and I realized that times have changed. A pity, isn't it?
Tom

#53 Bloggsworth

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Posted 26 May 2007 - 14:36

I used, on occasion, to by the odd copy of R&T and Car & Driver, when I saw it in a UK newsagents, to see what was going on in the American racing scene, the answer seemed to be what used to go on. I saw little point in buying the September issue to find the result of the Indy 500, so they were useless to a follower of racing, but good for comment and philosophy; are there no American equivalents of Autosport and Motor Racing News?

#54 stevewf1

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Posted 26 May 2007 - 15:59

Originally posted by Bloggsworth
I used, on occasion, to by the odd copy of R&T and Car & Driver, when I saw it in a UK newsagents, to see what was going on in the American racing scene, the answer seemed to be what used to go on. I saw little point in buying the September issue to find the result of the Indy 500, so they were useless to a follower of racing, but good for comment and philosophy; are there no American equivalents of Autosport and Motor Racing News?


There used to be one called On Track which covered most of the major series, but it went belly-up several years ago.

These days, as far as I can tell, there are only NASCAR magazines... Racer magazine perhaps comes the closest but I haven't seen one of those in awhile and I think it's still a monthly...

BTW, I don't see anything ever approaching what Autosport does - an amazing publication!

#55 West3

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Posted 26 May 2007 - 21:19

The June issue has a "Salon" featuring the ancient McLaren F1 LM. Even more distressing is a lovely cutaway illustration on page 30 of a Duesenberg Model J in which readers are asked to take note of the "careful depiction of the V-12" engine. Oh dear...

#56 Ray Bell

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Posted 26 May 2007 - 22:18

Originally posted by Manfred Cubenoggin
.....All good things come to end they say and there was a significant downturn in the late 70's/early 80's. Haven't looked at one in a decade after the content dwindled away to ads, ads and more ads.

Sniff, sniff...


The peril of the magazine industry...

Success breeds success. It also breeds high distribution numbers and huge printing bills, these in turn breeding high advertising costs. Because of the circulation and readership numbers, the advertisers are happy to pay these. To a point.

Returns from sales are good, though only about 50% comes back to the publisher, the rest going to the newsagents and bookstores and distribution network. That's why subscriptions are so eagerly pursued, that and the fact that they bring in a cash return up to 14 months (or more) before regular sales would. Subscriptions bring other advantages, but the broader sales are out in the bookstores, newsagencies etc.

Add to this the premium prices the publisher will have to pay for the quality of input to the magazine that's needed to keep up the standard.

These are high price sales. For every three magazines sold, there's every likelihood that one will come back, so that immediately increases the print cost per sale.

In addition, the old 'economy of scale' stops working after a while. Pre-press costs are amortised, but then there are additional costs at the printer's. Plates will have to be replaced every 50,000 copies, perhaps, to retain print quality, costing press time and a few more bucks per plate.

So a magazine with very high sales is in a touchy position. Road & Track were undoubtedly in that position in the sixties and still are. Advertising is as vital to them as it is to their advertisers.

#57 macoran

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Posted 26 May 2007 - 22:24

Originally posted by stevewf1
BTW, I don't see anything ever approaching what Autosport does - an amazing publication!


:up: I agree, and it's on my doorstep in Holland the next morning at 11.00am

#58 RA Historian

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Posted 27 May 2007 - 01:29

Originally posted by stevewf1


There used to be one called On Track which covered most of the major series, but it went belly-up several years ago.

These days, as far as I can tell, there are only NASCAR magazines... Racer magazine perhaps comes the closest but I haven't seen one of those in awhile and I think it's still a monthly...

BTW, I don't see anything ever approaching what Autosport does - an amazing publication!

Yes, sadly the last good US magazine on other than that Daytona based taxicab series was "On Track", and that folded c2000. "Autoweek" is as the name implies a weekly, but it gives a page or two to just the 2 or 3 top races of the week, including that aforementioned taxicab series. It is better than nothing, but that's it. There is nothing out there now that gives the full rundown of all the top races, several pages including results boxes, plus a complete rundown of all the support series, GP2, F-3, and so on as "On Track" did. "Racer" is a monthly, and is not a race report publication. I really long for an "On Track" replacement or an American version of "Autosport" but I think as an industry magazines are slowly on the way out, being replaced by the web. And I for one am sorry to see it.
Tom

#59 Ray Bell

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Posted 27 May 2007 - 02:28

As far as minor race reporting goes, I think you're right...

With instant access to the net, magazines can't any longer count on gaining readership from people requiring to know what happened at every meeting and in every race. Perhaps the main race of the day, or races that justify keeping the magazine as many do here with their GP reports etc in Motor Sport and others.

But for more detail on events taking place, for major races, for many other things, there is no much likelihood (IMNSHO) of the magazine losing its place altogether.

This was the very reason Racing Car News was killed off and replaced by Motor Racing Australia back in the early nineties. A monthly could never keep up with weeklies. Now we have one of our weeklies has gone to the net.

At the same time, MRA has established itself and proved its own market. It takes colour, quality and integrity to do this, but it can and will happen.

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#60 dbw

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Posted 27 May 2007 - 06:52

i was fortunate enough to have been involved in several r&t articles...the most memorable were two april fools road tests..the first was the arrow upside down rollercoaster and then the willis flyer..both involved the redoubtable henry manney. the flyer article resulted in henry spending a few days parked in his motorhome in my driveway....a long friendship resulted but as i've stated on this forum before, most of our conversation had much to do with food, women, dance, the creative arts in general but not much car talk...truly a great man and much missed.
another involved a salon article with john lamm .the car photo shoot seemed just part of the job...the best conversations were had squatting in the high grass at stanford university waiting for those minutes just as the california sun was setting and the light was magical for shooting a two page layout...again, not cars but involving combat photography in vietnam.

more nostalgia i guess.really good old days. :)

#61 Bloggsworth

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Posted 27 May 2007 - 08:42

I suppose, to a large degree, motoring magazines have mirrored the "dumbing down" of society, the desire for instant answers to crass questions; we are, after all living in the age of Big Brother, Castaway, I've almost become a nonentity again, get me out of here television; of celebrity television interviews in which, with the honourable exception of Michael Parkinson, the interviewer is the prime focus of attention; of magazines whose principal subjects seem the wannabes and those famous for being famous (in some sections of society); a case of never mind the quality, feel the width. The authors for whom the writing was as important as the content, for whom the craft of putting the words on paper was was not a secondary consideration, men not frightened of words with more than two syllables and with readers able to understand them: Henry Manney, L K J Setright and Dennis Jenkinson and others of that ilk. Fortunately we still have authors of quality, such as the the Doug Nyes of this world.

I picked up a copy of Autocar the other day and found it a pale simulacrum of a once great magazine, thin and reedy, a publication seemingly dying of consumption; Motor died several years ago to be absorbed into Autocar and is now dying for a second time.

Is it 'cos I is old? Perhaps we need Mr. Persig to stir himself once again and write "Zen and the Art of Magazine Production".

#62 doc knutsen

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Posted 27 May 2007 - 09:01

Originally posted by macoran


:up: I agree, and it's on my doorstep in Holland the next morning at 11.00am


Having given up on the present "Wow! Zap! Scandal!" iteration of Autosport two or three years ago,
I decided to give it a second chance at this year's Birmingham show, taking out a subscription. I should point out that I had been a loyal subscriber for more than three decades, and that in all those years, the magazine would be in my mail box on the Saturday morning after appearing in the UK on the Thursday - and giving me plenty of absorbing reading material for the whole day.
These days of globalization and wunnerful newfangled means of communication, the magazine takes
somewhere between ten days and a fortnight to find its way across the North Sea, from the UK to Norway.
Then again, I had a pair of racing tyres sent from the UK suppliers on April 29th, by means of something called "Euro 48 deliveries".... The tyres were to have been used for a race last week-end, but they have not made it here yet. I am beginning to wonder whether "Euro 48" means days, and not hours.

Rant over. Apologies.

#63 sterling49

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Posted 27 May 2007 - 09:27

Originally posted by Bloggsworth

I picked up a copy of Autocar the other day and found it a pale simulacrum of a once great magazine, thin and reedy, a publication seemingly dying of consumption; Motor died several years ago to be absorbed into Autocar and is now dying for a second time.

Is it 'cos I is old? Perhaps we need Mr. Persig to stir himself once again and write "Zen and the Art of Magazine Production".


It is "cos you old!" I am similar in my views. I used to buy MotorSport, MN and Autosport regularly in the '60's and '70's and sometimes for a different perspective, I would treat myself to CAR and the american periodicals when pocket money would permit. I sometimes buy Autocar now, but have a healthy disregard for the journalists, not because of their age, but because of my comparison to the "lifestyle" now as to "then". These guys, when choosing their longterm road test vehicles, rarely pick anything that costs less than £20k, and then have the brass neck to load it with £5 grands worth of factory fitted extras! I may be wrong here, but this is (in my mind) a "general" motoring magazine, not cutting edge enthusiasts stuff, but none of their staff ever chooses the 1400 LX Focus for their years test......it's always the ST, let alone a mundane 1litre hatchback....They have a fondness for expensive brands, especially when endorsed by the name of Alpina,Schnitzer etc.....Not everybody drives these Autobahn cruisers!

So it is not much of a reference document, as I have no intention, let alone desire, to purchase a Turbo Nutter Special, with extras that devalue as I drive it off the forecourt.....they do not even have to pay the depreciation!

I have let my MotorSport subscribtion lapse, and now thumb through any mags before I purchase, WHS is a good source for perusal!
Dumbing down will cost a lot of these companies money, as they miss the point that, generally, an ageing population has more disposable income, which they are choosing, NOT to spend with them....their LOSS!! :smoking:


Sterling

#64 WDH74

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Posted 28 May 2007 - 22:49

Originally posted by RA Historian

Salon: Every month used to carry an article of some old and significant race or touring car, with some excellent photography. Remember all those Phil Hill articles on cars from the Donington Museum? Today the Salon articles are rare indeed. One every two or three years.


Ahhh, I remember eagerly looking for the newest Salon subject when I subscribed to R&T in high school. This'd be the late eighties and early nineties, by the by, and it was still a very common feature. I wasn't so much into magazine preservation as I am today, so, horrors, I used to cut the Salon two page photos out, stick them together with Scotch tape, and hung them all over my bedroom. I got pretty good at it, too, managing to always get them to line up along the center. Man oh man, I had pictures of the Von Neumann Porsche 356, the B.R.M. V-16, the Scaglietti Corvette (I think), several Bugattis, all beautifully shot.

They've long since been recycled. I wish I'd have properly mounted them and saved them!

-William

#65 Graham Gauld

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Posted 29 May 2007 - 07:21

WDH reminds us of the Scaglietti Corvette which was a project started by Gary Laughlin of Fort Worth in Texas. I met Gary back in 1958 in the old original Ferrari building in the centre of Modena which, by then, was the sort of sales and service department. He was waiting to see someone about buying a Ferrari. Later in the week we met up at the Modena Autodrome when he was then looking at the Maserati 3500GT and the legendary Guerrino Bertocchi took us for a few laps of the circuit in one.
Gary and I kept in touch and he told me he had bought a Ferrari California Spyder but eventually sold it because ".....every morning I looked out of the window the Ferrari looked more like a Ford Thunderbird." He then had the idea of using an American chassis, the Corvette, and asking Scaglietti to put a stylish Italian body on it. The resultant car - I think three were built - was stunning but any plans to put it into greater production were scrapped. I believe the three cars still exist in the USA.

#66 rl1856

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Posted 29 May 2007 - 12:51

I was introduced to the world of cars and racing via a trip to the 1976 NY Auto Show and the Feb 76 issue of R&T. The issue had a cover photo of an orange Lamborghini Countach along with a road test inside. The rest is history as they say- I progressed to purchasing at the newstand and then subscribing. I began to follow racing in general and European racing in particular. At the same time, GP coverage was still available on US TV. Over time I have amassed a considerable collection of R&T back issues dating back to the mid 1950s (along with Sports Cars Illustrated/ Car and Driver and Sports Car Graphic). I used to repeatedly read the magazines cover to cover. I continued to purchase and collect until the early 90's. I can recall the point where I decided to let my subscription lapse- I read a "road" test and realised that in a 4 page article there were 2 paragraphs that were based upon actual experience behind the wheel. The rest was glorified ad copy and could have been written by the marketing department. This was the final straw from a pile that had building for quite some time- reduced GP and racing coverage, comparison tests that danced around the issue which car was the best of the group, less depth to the articles etc etc.

I have checked in from time to time and I am sorry to say that the trend I noticed in the early 90's has continued. Virtually no race coverage (though I understand the impact of the internet is partly responcible), road tests that are long on photos but lack real content etc etc.

Sorry to see the decline of a once great magazine.

Best,

Ross

#67 AU1000S

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Posted 30 May 2007 - 02:26

I still love it though it has changed alot. I still can't afford most of the cars it tests but I still salivate over them. Egan is a worthy follower of Manney and company but I miss the Cyclops and no one can ever replicate the Ile de Levant story which I read as a horny teenager living in France at the time. Imagine the hours I spent trying to figure out how to get there with no money, no time , no nothing. Nowdays I look forward to one of the best mags on the market "Grassroots Motorsports" as well as R&T.

Cheers all ....Phil

#68 RA Historian

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Posted 02 February 2009 - 22:04

A new record today. The March Road & Track arrived and I was done with it in less than 15 minutes. It is that bad. Time was when R&T would arrive and it would take days to read, with some articles reread once or twice. As I have posted above, R&T has deteriorated badly. No Track at all, and when they do put something it about racing it generally has to do with nascar and not the type of racing upon which the magazine was originally based. It is just a collection of road tests, comparison tests, articles about hybrids and fuels. None of that interests me. The only article worth reading in the March issue is the Peter Egan column. (As an aside, anything by Peter Egan is worth reading. )

If it wasn't for the fact that I have every issue since the start of 1956 and that I only resubscribe when they offer me dirt cheap renewals I would have quit this pretender masquerading as the original years ago. Just another version of Motor Trend.

How the mighty have fallen. :(

(On the other hand the February Motor Sport also came today, and that is definitely worth reading!) :)

Tom

#69 fbarrett

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Posted 02 February 2009 - 22:29

Friends:

Back in about 1954, seeing R&T ignited my interest in motoring journalism, and it eventually changed my life. My first visit to their offices in Newport Beach was like going to Mecca. But now, like most of you, I'm sad to see such a great magazine go to pot. Blandness has taken hold. Thank goodness for Peter Egan!

One problem they had (may still) was that when the magazine was sold by the Bonds, then on and on to others, paying off the resulting debt probably made it difficult to invest more in the magazine itself. Younger, less experienced, less expensive writers became the rule. Cartoonists, artists, and other contributors were let go. Offending advertisers became a bigger risk.

As far as new car articles, every issue of R&T now seems to be almost a carbon-copy of C&D and other magazines. The reason is that all the big magazines are invited on the same press trips and drive the same cars, and fewer magazines spend the money to shoot their own photographs because the manufacturers provide such good ones. In the 1950s, magazines often had to scramble to find cars to review, but today everything is handed to them on a PR department's CD.

Magazines are all having a tough time now: printing and postage costs are soaring, and ad and circulation revenues are shrinking, not to mention competition from the web for low-cost, timely news. (See AutoWeek, gone bi-weekly.) But there's still a place for high-quality magazines.

Will someone please send the editor of R&T a link to this thread?

Frank

#70 jj2728

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Posted 02 February 2009 - 23:43

Originally posted by fbarrett
Friends

Will someone please send the editor of R&T a link to this thread?

Frank


Are we sure the editor can read?........

#71 Tom Glowacki

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Posted 03 February 2009 - 01:31

Originally posted by RA Historian
A new record today. The March Road & Track arrived and I was done with it in less than 15 minutes. It is that bad. Time was when R&T would arrive and it would take days to read, with some articles reread once or twice. As I have posted above, R&T has deteriorated badly. No Track at all, and when they do put something it about racing it generally has to do with nascar and not the type of racing upon which the magazine was originally based. It is just a collection of road tests, comparison tests, articles about hybrids and fuels. None of that interests me. The only article worth reading in the March issue is the Peter Egan column. (As an aside, anything by Peter Egan is worth reading. )

If it wasn't for the fact that I have every issue since the start of 1956 and that I only resubscribe when they offer me dirt cheap renewals I would have quit this pretender masquerading as the original years ago. Just another version of Motor Trend.

How the mighty have fallen. :(

(On the other hand the February Motor Sport also came today, and that is definitely worth reading!) :)

Tom


Fifteen minutes? What took you that long? I have every issue going to back the 1st one, although a number of the very oldest are the reproductions they did some years ago. That makes it hard to me to stop subscribing but when the current subscription runs out, that's going to be it, absent some significant improvement?

#72 RA Historian

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Posted 03 February 2009 - 01:39

Originally posted by Tom Glowacki
Fifteen minutes? What took you that long? I have every issue going to back the 1st one, although a number of the very oldest are the reproductions they did some years ago. That makes it hard to me to stop subscribing but when the current subscription runs out, that's going to be it, absent some significant improvement?

I must be a slow reader.

You have even more than me, but our sentiments match. I just cannot justify subscribing any more for a magazine that is but a mere sunken shadow of its former self. I think that the slide downhill began a long time ago when Tony Hogg died. The last 15 years or so of Thos Bryant saw the slide become an avalanche as the magazine has gone completely away from Road & Track to being just Motor Trend light A pity.

Tom

#73 Frank S

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Posted 03 February 2009 - 03:32

My first views of R&T were at the home of a friend, early 1950s. His parents were very progressive, kind of a 1960s couple well ahead of their time. R&T, Hot Rod, Speed Age, and Peanuts were their coffee-table books.

At the fiftieth reunion of my high school's graduating class I was delighted to recognize a favorite, and influential, teacher. After a brief gushing on my part, and a short chat, I left him, deeply saddened by what time and use had done to him: he was palsied, forgetful, and - I suspect - incontinent.

Road & Track, I fear, is like my old teacher: better contemplated in my memory, and in its effect in forming my present self, than in its so-so current substance.

Of course there may be some life in the old girl yet, witness Peter Egan's article on a West Texas tour in the Terlingua Mustang

#74 TrackDog

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Posted 04 February 2009 - 16:43

Originally posted by RA Historian
I must be a slow reader.

You have even more than me, but our sentiments match. I just cannot justify subscribing any more for a magazine that is but a mere sunken shadow of its former self. I think that the slide downhill began a long time ago when Tony Hogg died. The last 15 years or so of Thos Bryant saw the slide become an avalanche as the magazine has gone completely away from Road & Track to being just Motor Trend light A pity.

Tom


I'm not sure that Bryant has a lot to do with the slide R&T has been on lately...I read a short sidebar in AUTOMOBILE that David E. Davis Jr. wrote as a eulogy of sorts when Tony passed away that was rather revealing regarding the situation. Hogg had distanced himself over the last several years of his tenure at R&T from the corporate mindset that ruled the publication because he felt it was ruining the magazine. Apparently, he was butting heads with "the powers that be" over content and didn't always win...maybe Bryant was up against a stone wall...

I agree that there isn't much racing coverage in the magazine anymore, butr Formula 1 was always a big staple of R&T's motorsports reports; now, it's just a click of the remote away on SpeedTV with Bob Varsha, Steve Matchett, David Hobbs and Peter Windsor...all very colorful personalities reminiscent of Manney and Rob Walker.

Over the last couple of years, I've discovered several Hemmings publications...interesting that when it seemed that a lot of mainstream auto mags were downsizing, they were expanding. But, I've noticed a smaller page count in recent months, and less content...most evident in Keith Martin's SPORTS CAR MARKET; not nearly as many departments, fewer auction reports, bigger graphics of subjects still featured and a much smaller page count.


MOTORSPORT is fantastic, but hard to find here in central Indiana...


Dan

#75 Paul Parker

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Posted 04 February 2009 - 19:59

I used to buy Road & Track, Car & Driver and Sports Car Graphic in the 1960s.

What always struck me was that R & T's road tests of European sports cars always gave much less impressive performance figures for acceleration, top speed etc. This was before the onset of safety and pollution diktats, so were they telling the truth whilst the European comics had hotted up motors I wonder.

C & D had some interesting on road trips with the Levegh Talbot Lago and a 'birdcage' Maser around 1962 and a lot of quite imaginative articles.

However the three month delay in reporting major European races by all three journals seemed excessive, I could understand that some gap was inevitable but not this much. Personally I preferred the SCG reports, especially the major endurance races (Le Mans etc.)

Finally I seem to recall that the period soubriquet for Road & Track was Rail & Truck (have not seen the Rod & Truck soubriquet) whilst Car & Driver was known fondly as Cor & Drivel (ditto here rather than Car & Drivel), and were courtesy of Henry N. I can't remember anything defamatory about SCG.

#76 Jack-the-Lad

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Posted 04 February 2009 - 23:19

After about 40 years of constant reading I gave up on Road & Track and Car and Driver years ago. Reading them made me....sad.

Jack

#77 David Birchall

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Posted 05 February 2009 - 01:28

I had to give up on R&T in the early eighties-Thos Bryant has a lot to answer for....

They used to spoof themselves with an issue of "Rod & Truck" occasionally.

Henry Manney kept them from getting too serious about themselves-when he was gone it was over.

#78 RA Historian

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Posted 05 February 2009 - 01:50

R&T used to bill itself on the cover as "The Motor Enthusiasts' Magazine". How long has it been since that has been on the cover? Decades. The reason is obvious. Long ago it ceased being such. Just a boring collection of endless road tests of one type or another. Technical articles of interest to few. What occasional racing articles that run are mostly on nascar and similar dreck. No more Salon articles on truly interesting cars. No in depth articles on road racing, which made the orignal magazine. The great articles by Phil Hill, Innes Ireland, and Rob Walker are, of course, no longer possible, but surely there are others out there in addition to Sam Posey who could step into the void. I may sound like a broken record, but for
someone who grew up with and was introduced to racing by the R&T of the late 50s and early 60s the current product is beyond mediocre. As I said earlier, a pity.
Tom

#79 TrackDog

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Posted 05 February 2009 - 02:53

I found this link to what I always considered to be one of the best features ever to grace the pages of R&T...

http://sbiii.com/cyclops/cyclops.html


It may take a little time to load, especially if ylu're cursed as I am with dial-up, but it's well worth the time...


Dan

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#80 red stick

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Posted 05 February 2009 - 04:14

Originally posted by Jack-the-Lad
After about 40 years of constant reading I gave up on Road & Track and Car and Driver years ago. Reading them made me....sad.

Jack


I still have subscriptions to both. I've subscribed to C&D since 1977, when I was 12. R&T has been considerably more off and on over the years, but I've subscribed continuously for the past four years or so. Neither take any time to read anymore, although the article in the last C&D on the "start and park" phenomenon in NASCAR was interesting. I've stopped reading articles on cars I'll never afford, like most of what's in the new R&T. I can't remember the last Salon. And to be honest, if I wasn't paying about $4 a year for each of these subscriptions, I wouldn't still be subscribing at all.

I also read AutoWeek religiously for the past twenty or so years, because at least there the racing updates were relatively timely. But it also was becoming a ten minute read, and when it ran a several page ad on watches for enthusiasts late last year, I canceled my subscription. And don't feel any poorer for it.

#81 Todd

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Posted 05 February 2009 - 05:00

red stick, then you missed out on 'Autoweek' becoming a biweekly. Same price, half the issues, minimal advertising.

#82 RA Historian

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Posted 05 February 2009 - 15:42

Originally posted by Todd
red stick, then you missed out on 'Autoweek' becoming a biweekly. Same price, half the issues, minimal advertising.

Now this another subject which grinds on me! Until last month Autoweek would come every week with some interesting articles but more importantly, brief race reports on that weekend's major events along with current news. Getting the mag a few days after the weekend meant that the info was fresh and not dated. Now they have suddenly gone to an every other week publication schedule with, as Todd mentions, the same price! In effect they have doubled the subscription rate!! What really galls about it was Dutch Mandel's pious crap in his column about how this was such an improvement and everyone would be so much better and happier with the decreased product. Equine manure! We've been had!

Autobiweek now gets here every other week. Once the season gets rolling, half the race info, if they even bother to put it in, will be stale and dated. Instead of crowing about how they improved the magazine they should either be extending the subscription term or offering a refund for those who want to cancel.

I know, the internet is the big culprit in all of this. With news available online within minutes the print media may be on the way out. And that is a pity. One can't anywhere near as easily throw the laptop into the back seat of the car to read on a trip or take it into the john when one is communing with nature. Just isn't the same. I much prefer something that can be shoved into a bag or pocket, can easily be carried around and held in the hands while reading, and can be stored and saved after reading. I know, I know, progress, the future and all that, but I guess I am just a bit old fashioned.

There really is no magazine out there any more for the race enthusiast. The best ever was On Track and that failed in 2000. Road & Track we have savaged earlier in this thread. Cur and Drivel never figured since the days that it was Sports Cars Illustrated. I stopped subscribing to Autosport half a dozen years ago when its jingoistic, graphics heavy, chauvinistic, print rumors as fact descent just got to be too much for me. National Speed Sport News essentially is a dirt track tabloid with little space given to (nor knowledge of) road racing. Racer runs the occasionally interesting article, but I really do not understand just where it fits in the picture. There just is nothing out there anymore for me which gives me good in depth race reports, understandable features on the cars, drivers, technology, etc., and coverage of the support series. Not to mention the ability to store the issues when read and have a source to go to when one needs info an a particular race or a full results box.

In the US there simply is nothing available that gives any info whatsoever on any racing series other than IRL, F-1, ALMS, and Grand Am. World Challenge, FF-2000, Atlantic, Formula Mazda, etc. are running good series with interesting races and young talent, but one will not find a word about them anywhere. In the media, they simply do not exist. On Track was far and away the best, but it has been gone for almost 10 years and there is nothing like it anywhere. Sad. :(

Just my opinions, progress marches on, tempus fugits and all that, but not everything is an improvement.
Tom

#83 red stick

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Posted 05 February 2009 - 23:42

What Tom said.

#84 Jack-the-Lad

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Posted 08 February 2009 - 15:13

As good as R&T was in the 50s and 60s, the best writing team was at SCI/Car and Driver: David E Davis, Jr.,; Warren Weith; Jan P Norbye; Jean Shepherd; Brock Yates.

Jack

#85 TrackDog

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Posted 08 February 2009 - 15:23

Originally posted by Jack-the-Lad
As good as R&T was in the 50s and 60s, the best writing team was at SCI/Car and Driver: David E Davis, Jr.,; Warren Weith; Jan P Norbye; Jean Shepherd; Brock Yates.

Jack


And in the '70's, Gordon Baxter...


Dan

#86 fbarrett

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Posted 09 February 2009 - 01:00

Originally posted by Jack-the-Lad
As good as R&T was in the 50s and 60s, the best writing team was at SCI/Car and Driver: David E Davis, Jr.,; Warren Weith; Jan P Norbye; Jean Shepherd; Brock Yates.

Jack


Jack:

In the mid-1960s, living in deepest eastern Pennsylvania, I listened to Jean Shepherd's nightly radio show on WOR whenever I could. I recorded some episodes: "Excelsior, You Fathead!" and met him at the 1968 New Hope Auto Show. Today I still have his books, mainly In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash. Most of his shows are now available on the web or via some nostalgia radio outfit. I sent the guy who produces them several open-reel tapes from the 1960s. Of course, I never got them back, but at least Shep Lives!

Frank

#87 fbarrett

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Posted 09 February 2009 - 01:01

Jack:

Forgot to mention that Warren Weith was a book collector. I got a list from him once.

Frank

#88 Jack-the-Lad

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Posted 09 February 2009 - 03:29

Frank,

Living in the south all my life I never got to hear Shep's radio show, but for some excerpts. I have several of his books as well, all inscribed to me when a mutual friend introduced us about 20 years ago.

Jack

#89 RA Historian

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Posted 07 January 2010 - 22:21

I have posted earlier that Road & Track is fast becomng just another version of Motor Trend. Well, the February, 2010, issues of both magazines bear that out. Both mags have virtually identical covers, a red Ferrari Italia splayed diagonally across the cover surrounded by splashy graphics.
Tom

#90 David M. Woodhouse

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Posted 07 January 2010 - 23:33

I have posted earlier that Road & Track is fast becomng just another version of Motor Trend. Well, the February, 2010, issues of both magazines bear that out. Both mags have virtually identical covers, a red Ferrari Italia splayed diagonally across the cover surrounded by splashy graphics.
Tom

Not only that - the February R&T issue's Tech Correspondence offers advice on "increasing spring and dampening rates" on a reader's Mercedes. John Bond must be spinning in his grave. R&T still gives us Peter Egan and for that alone I still subscribe. The only monthly I truly anticipate is Classic & Sportscar.

Woody

#91 RA Historian

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Posted 16 April 2011 - 13:56

Has anyone else noticed that with Road & Track's recent graphic (sadly not content) makeover that they took the opportunity to physically cut the size of the magazine? Shaved quite a bit off the length and especially the width. A very noticeable decrease, as the mag now is almost pocket sized.
Tom

Edited by RA Historian, 16 April 2011 - 13:58.


#92 jj2728

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Posted 16 April 2011 - 14:58

Tom, I haven't looked at a R&T since the days of Rob Walker's GP reports.

#93 proviz

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Posted 16 April 2011 - 18:48

Has anyone else noticed that with Road & Track's recent graphic (sadly not content) makeover that they took the opportunity to physically cut the size of the magazine? Shaved quite a bit off the length and especially the width. A very noticeable decrease, as the mag now is almost pocket sized.
Tom


This seems to be the case with all motor sport coverage in print today. The end is near.... or so it would seem. R&T certainly seem to do all they can to push readers towards their website.



#94 RA Historian

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Posted 16 April 2011 - 20:15

Tom, I haven't looked at a R&T since the days of Rob Walker's GP reports.

After which it has steadily gone down hill. Just a different version of Motor Trend now. The Track part of their name has all but disappeared. Nothing much more than a bunch of road tests. Certainly not the mag we discovered in our youth. A damn shame.
Tom

#95 E1pix

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Posted 16 April 2011 - 21:30

This seems to be the case with all motor sport coverage in print today. The end is near.... or so it would seem. R&T certainly seem to do all they can to push readers towards their website.


Ain't that the sad truth? When it comes to reading or viewing pictures, give me paper. I like to behold visuals that I can actually hold.

Unless I've already missed it, I'd bet the next trend is virtual magazines, with "print-it-yourself" if you want it on paper.

Thanks Again, "progress."

#96 eibyyz

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Posted 16 April 2011 - 22:48

Henry Manney and Rob Walker. R&T first got me interested in auto racing, and caused me to be aware of a world outside the U S of A. I still remember heading to the local grocery store to buy R&T six weeks after Zandvoort in 1973 to find the truth about what happened.

#97 RA Historian

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 13:47

Big changes afoot at R&T. We are all aware that the relatively recent purchase by the Hearst Corp has led to the mag moving from its home in Southern California since 1947 to the Detroit area, with the resultant release of all of its staff. That, of course, is very bad news. However, I have heard that a major remake of the mag is in the works. No doubt one of the reasons being that circulation has taken a precipitous fall from c750,000 to c500,000. A major hit no matter how you look at it.

From what I have heard from here and there, the new owners appear to be ready to do a major relaunch of the mag. Apparently, they are going to take it in the direction of Octane. Not being familiar with Octane, I don't know if that is good or bad, but suspect that it has to be an improvement. Road & Track cannot get much worse. It has completely lost its direction in the last 15 + years and is now nothing more than another version of Motor Trend. Should probably change its name to Road Test Monthly, since that seems to be all that it is now. But if they can pull this upcoming relaunch off, it might possibly turn around a failing magazine into something like it used to be when it was the 'bible' of US racing magazines. We shall see.

#98 JB Miltonian

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 15:01

I buy Octane and enjoy it. I gave up on Road & Track in 2008, it has turned into the ultimate example of a "waiting room magazine", not worth more than a very brief flip through the pages. However, I doubt if their readership would increase much if they modeled themselves on Octane - I would buy it again, but that's just me. And if they asked the ridiculous cover price being asked for the Motor Trend Classic magazine, forget it.

#99 rl1856

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 15:05

From what I have heard from here and there, the new owners appear to be ready to do a major relaunch of the mag. Apparently, they are going to take it in the direction of Octane.


Does that mean that R&T will become a classic car lifestyle magazine, with frequent advertorials focusing on vehicles to be sold at auction ?

Sorry to see the demise of R&T. Unfortunately I have not been a regular reader for quite some time. On the other hand, I do have a considerable collection of back issues to console myself with.

Best,

Ross

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#100 David Birchall

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 15:09

Octane is probably closer to what R&T was when it started-a publication aimed at a very specific group-not the scattershot approach it has attempted since....1983?