Car and Driver magazine

Car and Driver

Car and Driver is an American automotive enthusiast magazine. Its total circulation is 1.31 million. It is owned by Hachette Filipacchi Magazines. Originally headquartered in New York City, the magazine has been based in Ann Arbor, Michigan since the late 1970s.

History

Issues Owner
Ownership
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.

Rather than electing a Car of the Year, Car and Driver picks ten "best" cars each year.

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.

Editorial direction

Issues Editor
Editors
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 is notable for its irreverent tone and habit of "telling it like it is," especially with regard to underperforming automobiles ("Saturn folks like to point out that the L200 has little in common with the Opel Vectra from which it borrows some platform architecture, and we have to wonder why. Could the Opel be worse?" -Feb 2003). However, critics of the magazine state that this somewhat pejorative nature has diminished in recent years, and the editors are quick to praise the cars they feel are deserving ("The M45 rocks. Game over." -May 2005).

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 was one of the first to be unabashedly critical of the American automakers. However, it has been quick to praise noteworthy efforts like the Ford Focus and Chevrolet Corvette.

The magazine has been at the center of a few controversies based on this editorial direction, including the following:

  • Their instrumented testing is extremely rigorous compared with other automotive magazines. It has twice revealed false power claims by manufacturers: Both the 1999 SVT Mustang Cobra and 2001 Mazda Miata tests showed these vehicles not producing performance equivalents to their claimed power output. In both cases, the manufacturers' claims were proved wrong, forcing buybacks and apologies.
  • Their tests of radar detectors often declare the Valentine One detector, a major Car and Driver advertiser, the total point winner. The magazine contends that its tests are accurate, while some question its objectivity (see RadarTest.com article.) Yet, other major advertisers, such as Escort, the winner of C/D's sister pub radar detector test, usually finishes alongside the V1 in the same test.

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.

Car and Driver Television

Car And Driver Television was the television counterpart that formerly aired on Spike TV's Powerblock weekend lineup. Larry Webster, one of the magazine's editors, usually hosted with Csaba Csere adding occasional commentary and news.

See also

External links

References

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