|Jul 1955–Feb 1956||Motor Publications|
|Mar 1956–Apr 1985||Ziff-Davis|
|May 1985–Dec 1987||CBS|
|Jan 1988–1992?||Diamandis Communications|
|1992?–Present||Hachette Filipacchi Media U.S.|
Car and Driver was founded as Sports Cars Illustrated in 1955. In its early years, the magazine focused primarily on small, imported sports cars. In 1961, editor Karl Ludvigsen renamed the magazine Car and Driver to show a more general automotive focus. 2005 marked the 50th anniversary of Car and Driver.
Car and Driver once featured Bruce McCall, Jean Shepherd, Dick Smothers, and Brock Yates as columnists, and PJ O'Rourke as a frequent contributor. Former editors include William Jeanes and David E. Davis, the latter of whom led some employees to defect in order to create Automobile Magazine. The current editor-in-chief is Csaba Csere. Other current staff members are Patrick Bedard, who raced in the Indianapolis 500 in 1983 and 1984, John Phillips, Mark Gillies, Aaron Robinson, Mike Austin, Patricia Eldridge Maki, Cora Weber, Dan Winter, Juli Burke, Tom Cosgrove, Jeff Dworin, Steve Spence, Tony Swan, and Tony Quiroga. The now deceased André Idzikowski was also a staff writer.
Car and Driver is home to the John Lingenfelter Memorial Trophy. This award is given annually at their Car and Driver Supercar Challenge|Supercar/Superfour Challenge.
|Jul 1955–Nov 1955||George Parks|
|Dec 1955–Feb 1956||Arthur Kramer|
|Mar 1956–Dec 1956||Ken Purdy|
|Jan 1957–Nov 1959||John Christy|
|Dec 1959–Jan 1962||Karl Ludvigsen|
|Feb 1962–Feb 1963||William Pain|
|Mar 1963–Jan 1966||David E. Davis, Jr.|
|Feb 1966–Oct 1966||Brock Yates|
|Nov 1966–Jan 1968||Steve Smith|
|Feb 1968–Dec 1969||Leon Mandel|
|Jan 1970–Mar 1971||Gordon Jennings|
|Apr 1971–Nov 1974||Bob Brown|
|Dec 1974–Sep 1976||Stephan Wilkinson|
|Oct 1976–Oct 1985||David E. Davis, Jr.|
|Nov 1985–Feb 1988||Don Sherman|
|Mar 1988–May 1993||William Jeanes|
|Jun 1993–||Csaba Csere|
The magazine has not shied away from delving into controversial issues, especially in regard to politics. The editorial slant of the magazine is decidedly pro-automobile. A major theme of Patrick Bedard’s articles in the past year has been climate change, specifically that it is not occurring, or if it is, then automobiles have nothing to do with it. In similar fashion, the letters editor states in the May 2007 issue that “going to a caveman lifestyle is the only way to cut CO2 emissions." However, the intrusion of politics into editorial columns rarely intrudes into reviews of cars themselves or feature articles. For example, the columnists have been highly critical of SUVs on the basis that minivans or car-based utes are almost always better, more drivable choices.
The magazine has been at the center of a few controversies based on this editorial direction, including the following:
Car and Driver and Road & Track are sister publications at Hachette and have for many years shared the same advertising, sales, marketing, and circulation departments. However, their editorial operations are distinct and they have separate publishers.