Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Road & Track may vanish

In an article today The Detroit Bureau (http://www.thedetroitbureau.com/2013/05/volvo-mitsubishi-road-track-failing-in-2013/) reported that 24/7 Wall Street predicts Road & Track may cease to exist very soon. "The most unfortunate selection is Road & Track. However, it may be among the most likely to happen."

Road & Track has a long, great history. Started in 1947 by Wilfred H. Brehaut, Jr. and Joseph S. Fennessy, it thrived after John R Bond bought it in 1952.

Road & Track was my entry into the mystical world of European auto racing. Who can forget Henry Manney III, Paul Frere, Allan Girdler, Phil Hill, Gordon Murray, Peter Egan, Rob Walker - the list goes on and on.

Over the years R&T became just another part of a huge conglomerate, Hearst Corporation. Hearst's two big buff magazines became almost carbon copies of each other.

I loved both Road & Track and Car and Driver, each for their own take on the automotive world, up into the '90s when they both became too corporate, too similar.

Road & Track lost an edge when European racing started showing up on television. But the insider aspect of R&T's writers brought more life to the teams and drivers.

It's too bad that both R&T and Car and Driver got sucked into a large corporation. Maybe they would have folded sooner, maybe not. Maybe as an independent R&T could have survived not as a main stream magazine but as what it once was, an enthusiasts magazine.

I often dreamed of writing for either Road & Track or Car and Driver but I took a different path. I doubt that I would have cut it with either. But I learned so much from both from being a better writer to understanding live a little more.

I remember reading an article by either Egan or Girdler. They were both at Buttonwillow, I think shaking down a Formula Ford of Egan's, when someone approached them and said something about how lucky they were to be able to be racing. One or the other said it had nothing to do with luck, it was hard work and tough decisions, and going after what they really wanted to do.

Thank you Mr. Egan and Girdler. I wanted to write about cars. I had no training and little education. I persevered and now I write about cars. I may not be famous; I may not be great, but I have fulfilled a dream partly because of you two.

I hope Road & Track doesn't fold. I hope that great, inspirational writers continue to crank out stories that get young folks dreaming. That is its true gift.

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