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What we read, then and now


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#1 Derwent Motorsport

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Posted 09 November 2019 - 17:40

Given the changes and losses in the printed periodicals perhaps it's worth a more general chat rather than the one included in the Motor Sport magazine thread.

 

I started reading Motoring News when i was 14, having just about learnt to read on Dad's Motor Sports.  I read MN until about five years ago when I felt it took me about 15 minutes to read and the cost was too great as much of the content was based on press releaes rather than the editorial team going out and getting real news. Having a wide range of motorpsort interest I now know very little about the areas I am not involved in as I get the info on historic rallying and racing and trga events on the net so don't see the other disciplines in passing as you did with MN.



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#2 Sterzo

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Posted 09 November 2019 - 21:23

During my fifties childhood, there were always copies of The Autocar and sometimes The Motor lying around at home. From '57, Dad started layng out two shillings a month on the thin, yellow-covered Motor Racing for me - though we both read it. An occasional Motor Sport and Car & Driver would appear too. In late '65 I left home and moved to London, buying every copy of Autosport and Motor Sport since.

 

Used to live within walking distance of Chater & Scott's bookshop when they were in Chiswick, so acquired continuous Motor Sports back to 1950, a few copies of The Motor from 1904/5, Speed from the thirties, Veteran and Vintage, VSCC Bulletins, and who knows what else...



#3 jtremlett

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Posted 09 November 2019 - 22:12

Well I used to buy Autosport every week and subscribe to Autosprint (also weekly), Sport Auto (the French monthly).  Then also Grand Prix International, F1 Racing, F1 News, F1 Magazine etc.  Motorsport was an occasional purchase (although I have a lot more back issues now) then on subscription for a number of years, but I let that lapse post Damien Smith's editorship.  I never bought Motoring News although I did get gifted a pile by a friend a while back.  Some of those no longer exist.  But some I stopped purchasing largely for reasons of space (or lack of it) rather than anything else.  Then the others because they stopped being very good.  Autosport, for example, stopped being of any great interest to me some years ago.  To some degree that is because my interest in current racing is not as it was; in part it is also because the "news" part now comes via the Internet and is more up-to-date than any magazine could be; but mostly it is because the content is poor.  By the latter I don't mean particularly that the quality of the writing is not up to scratch (although that can be the case) but that the articles are too often fluff pieces of no great interest, with no depth of research and saying nothing new.  I do accept that some of that is down to too many PR people getting in the way so it is that much harder to get at anything interesting from any drivers or team personnel.  But that isn't the whole story.

 

I do believe that if magazines want to survive then they need to accept that the Internet exists and that it does some things (e.g. current news) that print cannot easily compete with.  But there are other things it doesn't really do.  It is hard to find any in-depth article on anything Motorsport-related on the Internet - at least not that hasn't been lifted from a print source first.  

 

I do still keep WH Smith in business, although I'm now down to purely motoring rather than motor sport magazines (Octane, Classic & Sportscar etc. - I doubt I will be buying Automobilsport any longer at the new price) and dare not look at the state of their carpet when I venture in (presumably that's why they only ever have half the lights on these days!).  

 

I can't bring myself to part with any of my back issues and by-and-large when I pick one up I am only reminded that whilst the quality of the printing may be better and more colourful now the quality of the text often isn't.  


Edited by jtremlett, 09 November 2019 - 22:13.


#4 pete53

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Posted 09 November 2019 - 23:17

I grew up on Motoring News and Autosport in the 1960s. Back then there was an audience for all levels and categories of the sport be it at International or club level.   I used to enjoy reading the reports on club races as much as I did the big Internationals, as I know many others did. In fact, in pre-internet days, I remember quite often having to wait until I got my hands on a copy of MN or Autopsort to find out who won the previous weekend's big events, even Grand Prix, as the coverage the national press, and TV, gave to motor sport was woeful.

 

Increasingly it would seem, in the UK,  that only F1 and Touring Cars really garner much interest, certainly in terms of people actually attending events, and probably with the armchair enthusiast as well. Comprehensive TV coverage of Grand Prix and Touring Cars also means that a lot of fans probably don't feel the need to read about it the following week. Add to that the influence of the internet and its provision of immediate and largely free access, it is not hard to see why the market for motor sport periodicals has dwindled. I stopped buying Autosport a good while ago - not because there was anything intrinsically wrong with it but because I had become disenchanted with a lot of modern motor sport whether it was  Formula 1 , or club racing with its endless uninspiring one-make categories. In the end I even stopped bothering to indulge in a free perusal of Autosport on the shelves of WH Smith.


Edited by pete53, 09 November 2019 - 23:33.


#5 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 10 November 2019 - 05:00

When in my tens I bought Speedway Magazines and sometimes various motorsport and motoring mags. When I started racing late 70s I started on the Fiction,, aka as Auto Action which I bought until about 10 years ago as It got so irrelevent and was simply stupidcar News.

Only mag I buy now is Australian Muscle Car. Have all but the first four.

With the internet most mags are literally yesterdays news and while I browse them at the news agent and very occasionally buy them I wonder how they survive. AMC @ now $11 may be a casualty soon too. Especially with the name Muscle Car and doing articles on ricers!

Though [here in Oz] Speedcafe and Auto Action on line are it seems stupidcar News mostly. And worse comments by mostly idiots that clearly do not understand the sport at all.

I bit like on Racing comments on this site. Which I generally avoid.



#6 DouglasM

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Posted 10 November 2019 - 05:16

Autosport and then Motoring News to the end of the 1970's early 80's. Always looked first to see if I'd got a mention if I'd been competing :) . The cutting are in a box somewhere! Always MN for the adverts as that was my level of affordability. Now when I'm in Blighty I don't even glance at them. 



#7 1969BOAC500

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Posted 10 November 2019 - 08:15

Many favourites came and went over the years ( remember Competition Car ? ) but Autosport and Motor Sport were essential for me from 1968 until the mid-1990s when the spectator experience of International motor racing waned for me.

 

Back in the pre-internet, pre-circuit radio days ( when you strained to hear the public address ) a fond memory is of my Dad saying, as we drove away from the circuit, 'Well, we'll just have to wait 'til Thursday to find out what happened......'  ;)

 

 

Now, as mentioned elsewhere, I have re-subscribed to Motor Sport ( mainly out of loyalty to printed media ) and still enjoy re-reading my library of 60s/70s magazines.



#8 Stephen W

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Posted 10 November 2019 - 08:38

1964 - Motor Sport (through to the mid 1990s)

1965 - Motoring News and Autosport (Autosport through to the late 1990s; Motorsport News as it became through to the mid 2000s)

 

Now - Classic & Sports Car with an occasional Classic Car Weekly

 

:wave: 



#9 Derwent Motorsport

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Posted 10 November 2019 - 09:46

I think we all have the same history. Historic Race & Rally was good for the short time it lasted.   

I get Motorsport, Practical Classics and MG Enthusiast, although the later may get the chop as since Simon Golsdworthy left it has been taken in house and "edited" by people who know nothing about MGs!  I get the two MG club mags of which Safety Fast is very good. 

I buy Classic and Sports Car when I go on holiday to read on the plane but it seems so tied to the adverts and featured cars are always ones just coming up to auction. They seem to have left the real world behind.



#10 ceesvdelst

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Posted 10 November 2019 - 11:33

I used to read MN every week and the occasionaly Autosport, but that was always a bit "circuit" for me. Stopped about 2000. 

 

CCC was a fave for many years until it went all track day and lost most of its readers.

 

Subbed to a few bike mags aswell over the years but usually racing ones like RPM, Motorcyle Racer, first one went bust, second one became not what it once was, like a lot of magazines. 

 

I do not read classic car magazines and never have, they simply do not interest me. I find myself when reading one wondering out loud where people get all this money from and then thinking they must all be crooks. 

 

Only magazine I occasionally buy now is Private Eye, notably the magazine with the worst quality, cheapest production costs but highest wage per reader, proving it is nothing to do with looks, all about content. 



#11 DogEarred

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Posted 10 November 2019 - 12:38

The last magazines I have held subscriptions for are Motor Sport & Private Eye.

 

Both are now lapsed for broadly the same reasons - boredom.

 

As an older person, I have to a certain extent, 'seen it all'. (Not literally of course)

 

With PE & more so with MN, the same basic repeatable content & obvious recourse to more obscure subjects, in regard to interviews & articles simply makes the magazine of limited interest these days, despite the odd bright spots.

 

They've served their purposes well over the years but things change, time moves on & nostalgia is not what it used to be.



#12 Eric Dunsdon

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Posted 10 November 2019 - 13:47

In the 1940's my mum worked for some people who owned a quiet large house in Totteridge. The man of he house owned an MG TC  and I used to read his copies of Motor and Autocar and learned about Alfa Romeo 158's and 4CLT Maseratis which inspired my interest in motor racing. Moving into the 1950's I bought the first issue of Autosport in W.H Smiths on Barnet High Street and was almost wiped out by a number 84 bus as I crossed the road engrossed in my magazine. 



#13 kayemod

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Posted 10 November 2019 - 15:09

Same story as many others, Dad's Motor and Motor Sport growing up, Motoring News and usually Autosport as well after I left home if student finances allowed. Later, back in gainful employment, Road & Track as well when I could find it/afford it, and occasionally another US magazine, Hot Rod ,mainly because I was so enamoured of the engineering and craftsmanship it revealed. Then I was working "in the business", and there were usually copies of other people's Autosport around. I gave up my Autosport sub at least 10 years ago, after it declined too far from what had gripped me in the past, and currently only Motor Sport, which despite all the largely justified criticism in this thread, these days it's more or less all we've got. I also get sent free copies of  of free magazines from grateful car manufacturers, to reward me for having purchased an Audi/SAAB/Mercedes/Alfa. Not really relevant here, but I do also read lots of books, many of them motor racing related.


Edited by kayemod, 10 November 2019 - 16:30.


#14 RA Historian

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Posted 10 November 2019 - 17:22

I've taken a crack at most of them at one time or another. Have every Road & Track since 1955. Every Sports Car since 1967 and have filled in with back issues to 1958. Every Motor Sport since 1992. Every Vintage Motorsport since 1993. Every Competition Press/Autoweek since 1960 with all earlier issues filled in, save for a lapse between 1981 and 1986. The best of them all was On Track, and I have every issue they ever printed. I had every issue of Sports Car Graphic, which is still missed by me. Scattered turns with Sports Cars Illustrated/Car and Driver, Forza, Speed Sport News, and others. Autosport from 1980 until 2004. Vintage Racecar from 2004 until they went digital only and I stopped abruptly, since I abhor digital.Still have hundreds upon hundreds in storage and have binned many. Retaining Road & Track, Motor Sport, Sports Car, and Vintage Motorsport because I have long unbroken streaks and use them as reference. Also am keeping all issues of On Track. 

 

Mind you, I am speaking for myself, not my wife, who wants me to free up storage space!

 

Tom



#15 Sterzo

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Posted 10 November 2019 - 17:40

 Moving into the 1950's I bought the first issue of Autosport in W.H Smiths on Barnet High Street and was almost wiped out by a number 84 bus as I crossed the road engrossed in my magazine. 

Thank goodness those 84 buses never run on time. I haven't been in Barnet High Street since yesterday - and there's still a W.H.Smiths, though it's moved into the Spires Centre.



#16 nexfast

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Posted 10 November 2019 - 20:55

I don't know how but somewhere in the sixties copies of Motor Sport and Car and Driver made their journey to my parent's home. It was my first experience of reading  - or rather, loking at the pictures and results, since my english was basically non-existent at the time - an automotive magazine. Something stayed in the back of my mind because I conviced my late mother to give me a subscription of Autosport as a birthday gift in mid-seventies. Which I kept until 97 or 98.  I still have them in boxes plus a lot of old issues I regularly bought in the last 20/30 years here and there. My  Motor Sport collection, apart from  some back issues my mother got rid of - provoking a longstanding rift... - , became digital a few years ago. For two or three years, around 20 years ago,  I also bought Autosprint but sadly I did not keep the copies (I have a few old ones from the sixties-seventies, though). Today, I subscribe again Autosport in digital form (why? basically for Forix and little more), Motor Sport (the watches don't bother me but I think the quality is getting lower gradually) and buy regularly Automobilsport and Autodiva - collecting them to read when I retire becuse now there is not much time available. When I'm travelling I try to buy copies of local magazines too if I understand the language (no more just pictures and results  ;)). 



#17 Dick Dastardly

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Posted 11 November 2019 - 16:13

I remember looking through Dad's copies of Autosport & Motoring News whilst a primary school kid in the early 60s. By the time I was 14 or 15 [around 1968]...when I was a boarder at a grammar school in Kirkby Lonsdale [South Cumbria], I got them on order from the local newsagent....walking down into town on Thurs lunchtimes to get both [somehow I wasn't able to get down on a Wed to get MN, or maybe they were both published on Thursdays?].....obviously had to suspend the order during holidays then resume once term time started again. Local events were Barbon Hill Climb and Players No6 Autocrosses, I used to savour every word about them. Plus rallycross on BBC & ITV Sat afternoons. I was a real petrol head, any magazine that had anything of interest, I would buy...CCC, Hot Rod, Motor Sport....especially where there were features etc about people & cars I'd seen in action.  

Later on, I also read RallySport and other rally orientated mags....Road Sport North....as well as the occasional classic car mags including the late Philip Young's Sporting Cars mag from the early '80s, that lasted about 6-8 issues..

I still get Motor Sport but  the increasing emphasis on modern F1 turns me off. I now subscribe to AutoTradition, a new quarterly mag ....not a news mag but a features one, consisting of articles on people, cars, events, races, teams from motorsport's heritage....not a mention of current F1 or BTCC, which is a blessing. 


Edited by Dick Dastardly, Yesterday, 09:48.


#18 Jack-the-Lad

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Posted 11 November 2019 - 20:26

USED TO READ: Road & Track, Sports Cars Illustrated/Car and Driver, Competition Press/Autoweek, Automobile, Motoring News, On Track, Porsche Panorama, Sports Car Graphic, Supercar Classics, CAR, Vintage Motorsport, MotorSport, Automobile Quarterly, Thoroughbred And Classic Cars.

NOW (or still) READ: Cavallino, Octane, Classic and Sportscar, Enzo, Porsche Panorama, Magneto, Autoweek (online), Automobile (online), Automobilsport (when there’s an article of interest), Vintage Motorsport (ditto), MotorSport (the same).

Unlike Tom i’m not an historian, so there is not a great need for me to archive. I am actively downsizing. Many years ago I gave much of my complete periodical collections to museums to do with as they wished. I still retain complete sets of Cavallino, Octane, Enzo and Magneto, but they are in their infancy anyway, and Supercar Classics. I have an almost complete set of Classic and Sports Car, but I have no idea why.

I maintain that the Car and Driver masthead in the late ‘60s-early ‘70s was the greatest bunch of writers in the business...Davis, Yates, Weith, Shepherd, Norbye.....and those were just the editorial writers....and the incomparable Bruce McCall. Of course, R&T had an all star lineup too, but the guys at CandD were disruptive groundbreakers who weren’t afraid of offending their advertisers.

#19 Bob Riebe

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Posted 11 November 2019 - 23:45

First magazine I ever subscribed to was Air Progress, till it morphed into lousy.

Then in approximate order:

Sports Car Graphic -- Fantastic as long as Jerry Titus was Ed.--1960s

Competition Press & Autoweek

Road & Track

Automobile Quarterly -- I was a moron for not keeping on with that one.

Old Cars

Automobile Magazine

Formula -- and what it morphed into.

National Speed-Sport News

Air International ---------1970s

Classic Car including earlier versions

Autosport ------  around turn of the century

Motorsport

Street Machine

Pop. Hot Rodding

Hot Rod, including New Zealand version --- currently

Three Hemming's publications 

 

I left out,  or missed ,a few, I am sure, plus I probably bought another dozen or so from mag. racks each year

In the eighties and nineties I let a lot of sub. die for monetary or content going pffft., then picked up newbies as years went by.

If I had not, my room would have ended up like my one cousin whose train and aircraft magazines, literally filled his bedroom with a path to the bed.

When he sold his late Mom's house and bought another, he rented a dumpster and had a hard, hard, hard time throwing away year, and a lot of dollars of magazines .

I used to visit old magazine sellers at auto. swap meets and buy mags. from their early years but they are mostly gone from swap meets around here now; found some nice articles on Studebaker and early road racers that way.


Edited by Bob Riebe, 11 November 2019 - 23:53.


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#20 pete53

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Posted Yesterday, 10:48

Does anyone remember Auto News? It was a weekly newspaper largely dedicated to motor sport and was very similar to Motoring News. I still have a few copies I bought in 1966. I'm not sure when it started nor when it disappeared.



#21 john winfield

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Posted Yesterday, 11:10

Does anyone remember Auto News? It was a weekly newspaper largely dedicated to motor sport and was very similar to Motoring News. I still have a few copies I bought in 1966. I'm not sure when it started nor when it disappeared.

 

I've never had a copy of that, Pete, but have just had a look at eBay. There are some copies for sale, all from August to October 1966. I can't find any trace of the paper before or after.

 

Edit.  For anyone interested, here's a copy currently listed on eBay. The seller has included photos showing the range of topics covered by the paper, and you can just make out some of the contributors' names. 

 

https://www.ebay.co....6e64676f42175bc


Edited by john winfield, Yesterday, 11:20.


#22 Tim Murray

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Posted Yesterday, 12:30

I remember it from the mid-‘60s - I don’t reckon it lasted very long. I bought the odd copy, but as I was a schoolboy with limited pocket money and Auto News cost the vast sum of nine old pennies at the time, I tended to stick with Motoring News at a much more reasonable 6d.  ;)

#23 Charlieman

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Posted Yesterday, 12:35

A mate's dad bought Motor Sport which we twelve year olds shared after he had finished with it. Occasionally we got hold of Autosport or Motoring News from my mate's brother. Apart from that, we relied on the local library which had a small selection of books, mostly from the 1950s to early 1970s. I probably read everything they had or that the librarians kindly found for me. The library subscribed to Autocar and Motor which covered a little bit of motor sport, but what they covered they did well. The library also took L'equipe which I'd dip into.

 

A few years later I could afford my own copies of Autosport and Motor Sport. Other mates shared Autocar and Motor. There was a glossy mag called Car with excellent photos of somewhat silly cars and even sillier writing. Car and Car Conversions fascinated me most. It was a really cheap production but stuffed with great articles and adverts. If you aspired to build a home brew car in the 1970s, CCC was the starting point. Today if you want to research who sold bits and bobs, CCC is still a great resource. And I have never fallen out of love with specials and home made cars.

 

I bought Autosport and Motor Sport regularly until I became a university student with a real life.  I got out of the habit of subscriptions, buying occasional copies. The money I earned from student jobs was spent on motoring books with a technical bent (I was a mech eng student after all) or other distractions. In the late 1980s, my employers had a subscription to Road & Track amongst many other journals. I'm afraid to say that I didn't think much of it.

 

In recent years I have subscribed to Motor Sport on occasions, reading the odd copy of Autosport, Octane, Classic Car/Bike thingy or whatever mates thought might interest me. Mostly though, I buy books which are worth reading more than twice. My list of things I'd like to read comprises books that are out of print and many would be considered as "classics". Unfortunately, family members are reluctant to buy second hand books as Christmas presents so I am always delighted when new interesting titles at affordable gift prices are published. 

 

I think it is time to dig out Car and Car Conversions for winter reading.



#24 Jack-the-Lad

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Posted Yesterday, 14:15

As a footnote to my post above, I actually started off on Hot Rod and Car Craft. Then one day after I’d been laid up with the flu for a few days my dad brought home a copy of Sports Cars Illustrated and after that I was hooked. I remember the cover car on that old issue of SCI: Lotus 7. And then there was the fabulous cover with two Ferrari 250GT SWBs side by side....one in rossa corsa and the other in giallo fly.

#25 ensign14

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Posted Yesterday, 14:46

I started off on Motor Sport, because I found a stash of them in a holiday flat when I was 9.  Before then it had just been Murray and James.  But being still young and short of pocket money I did not buy it regularly for another five or six years.  And I quickly moved onto Autosport as a recurring Christmas present.

 

I tended however to eschew Motor Sport in favour of Grand Prix International, until it went fortnightly with a last-three-weeks-of-Autosportesque price tag. 

 

It is a lot quicker to flick through Autosport now, but of course that's the nature of instant communication.  Autosport was the ONLY place to get the full F1 results, full F3000 results, full F3 results, full sportscar results, full IndyCar results, and potted NASCAR results all the way until about 1998.  It hasn't really found a role to augment the internet.  Motor Sport also to a certain extent.  Octane I think has because its photography is sublime.



#26 Charlieman

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Posted Yesterday, 15:14

Autosport was the ONLY place to get the full F1 results, full F3000 results, full F3 results, full sportscar results, full IndyCar results, and potted NASCAR results all the way until about 1998. 

In the mid 1970s UK newspapers reported F1 races -- in the small type face used for minor horse racing events or low league football. The type got a bit bigger in/after 1976 but often it would be Tuesday before there was a syndicated race report. Autosport -- when it eventually arrived -- contained cracking reports of who might be in F1 next year, or the year after next. And who had mastered a Julian Fack trials special. I read that a Formula Ford driver called Da Silva was quick, and between the lines I interpreted that Da Silva had a challenging personality -- history confirms my comprehension.



#27 Michael Ferner

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Posted Today, 10:06

Lovely thread idea!

Of course, my experiences are a bit different, growing up in Germany, and also without the aid of relatives or friends who shared my passion. I started clipping newspaper articles at the age of ten, and did that for about a year and a half until a cousin showed up with a present, a copy of "Auto Motor & Sport" - that really did it, I never even knew of the existence of car magazines before! In short time, I discovered "Sport Auto", "Rallye Racing" and "Motorsport aktuell", and bought most of them over the next twenty years or so. I suscribed to "Sport Auto" for a year, but ditched that for a MSA subscription because I figured I couldn't afford both - in the end, I still bought practically every issue, nonetheless :lol: There were a few other German mags, like "Sport Fahrer", which I bought occasionally, and also an Austrian mag the name of which has slipped my memory, even the occasional French mag (though my French is EXTREMELY limited!!). "Grand Prix Internationl" had a German language issue, too, and I bought that every once in a while, and when I was 15, I found an English language GPI by chance and thought it was great - I wasn't really good at English in school, but I realized the importance of learning the language, and motor racing was a splendid way to improve my skills! :up:

For a long time, I wanted to buy and read Autosport, but couldn't find it anywhere in a store, and the only way to subscribe was through a wholesaler and prohibitively expensive. It wasn't until 1995 that I eventually picked up a copy, arguably long past the magazine's glory days, and I eventually subscribed for five or six years. I also picked up the occasional Motoring News, or Motor Sport, although the latter was never very much for me.

About 18 years ago, I let all my subscriptions lapse, and have bought single issues only very occasionally - no more than a dozen or so since. Not because of the internet, but because I don't follow the sport any longer, and buying those few copies was more of an act of nostalgia. If I was still interested, I'd still have a subscription, because there's nothing better than reading a good magazine on paper, and keeping it for reference - the internet is a poor substitute for that!!!

#28 Sterzo

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Posted Today, 13:51

...there's nothing better than reading a good magazine on paper, and keeping it for reference...

I'd agree wholeheartedly with that, but just to add a word in defence of the internet: it does enable me to find out about US F2000, Japanese GT, Euroformula and so on, while information on GP racing is available much sooner, and at present it's cheaper than physical media. Also, it doesn't cause the rafters of my house to sag, unlike all those magazines...



#29 Derwent Motorsport

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Posted Today, 15:07

Does anyone remember Auto News? It was a weekly newspaper largely dedicated to motor sport and was very similar to Motoring News. I still have a few copies I bought in 1966. I'm not sure when it started nor when it disappeared.

Yes, I bought a few. It was in colour when MN was still b&w. Jackie Stewart had a column.  Not sure how long it lasted.