The End Of The Road… And Track

Maybe we had no right to call it Road&Track in the first place. We had a reason to do so: there were half a million subscribers out there who had already paid for a year’s worth of R&T and expected to receive something with that name on the front cover. What they ended up getting for their money was… definitely not business as usual.

You probably know the story, or at least some of it. In 2012, Hearst moved the magazine from its posh digs in Newport Beach to an anonymous Ann Arbor industrial park. Not a single staffer came along, although they all received some sort of offer. Peter Egan agreed to contribute on an occasional contracted basis, and that was it. The change was made to save money and also to acquire the services of Larry Webster, who had agreed to reboot the magazine from scratch with the best talent he could beg, borrow, or steal from elsewhere.

The resulting magazine was Road&Track in name only — but that was okay, because that name needed a bit of polishing. By 2011, the “book”, as they say in the business, was suffocating under the weight of its own bland momentum. I have a few issues from that period; they’re full of comparison tests in which all the cars managed to be winners, industry news reported a few months too late, and painfully drab historical articles that often transparently relied on a single, already published, source. In his final contribution, published this month, Peter Egan recalls how he and his co-workers would sit in the Newport Beach office and watch the sun set. That’s a pretty good metaphor for what was happening out there in 2011. Much of the magazine could be summed up in the single phrase, “Back then, nickels had pictures of bumblebees on them! ‘Gimme five bees for a quarter’, you’d say.”

What happened next was at least different. Now it’s officially dead.

Larry Webster did more than just save Road&Track; he built an engine of reader satisfaction and interest that was strong enough to endure years of neglect after the fact. Under his tenure, subscriptions increased, which is just this side of an actual Catholic miracle nowadays. Advertising rates and pages went up. The magazine made money for the first time in anyone’s memory. His initial crew — Sam Smith, John Krewson, Alex Kierstein, Brian Gluckman, et al. — had that rare combination of youthful vigor and professional ability. Under the direction of Alex Nunez, the website turned into something more than just a way to buy a print subscription.

In 2013, Larry put the resources together to create a Performance Car Of The Year test, and he handed the responsibility for writing the thing to your humble author, as a freelancer. I won’t go into what it cost him (and Sam Smith) to make this happen on an internal, corporate basis, but it was considerable. In return, I did my level best to give him the best story I could. It ended up being a massive hit, the beginning of an authentic magazine franchise.

In those happy few years, I managed to push the limits of the magazine (and the editorial staff) every which way but loose. I wrote a comparison test where a Lotus beat a Porsche, went time-trialing in Malaysia, drove a Lola prototype at Sonoma, ran an AMG GT droptop at stomach-dropping speed on the same roads driven by Sean Connery in Goldfinger.

When Larry went to Hagerty in what has to be about the smartest move ever made by an editorially-titled human being, he left Joe DeMatio behind for a while to make sure the ship didn’t sink. Joe’s replacement, Kim Wolfkill, never cared much for me or my writing. He cut my opportunities and turned PCOTY into an ensemble piece, which confused the readers and probably diminished the test’s impact. Therefore, I had no trouble following Larry across the aisle when the opportunity came up.

Kim got the chop due to a lot of internal maneuverings that would have the appearance of deranged fiction were I to truthfully report on them here. His replacement was my endurance-racing teammate (and ephemeral Jalopnik head honcho) Travis Okulski. If you read anything from the past 18 months of R&T you can see the passion and effort Travis put into every facet of the book. Much of it rubbed me the wrong way; the magazine took a turn to the hard left under Okulski’s guidance, with nearly every issue telling some sort of story that would have been better suited for Mother Jones or HuffPo. Kyle Kinard’s hectoring, schoolmarmish subtitle for this month’s Lewis Hamilton interview — “HEAR HIS VOICE” — perfectly encapsulated the book’s largely unwanted transition from 2013 “lad’s mag” to 2020’s “everything is political and you have to choose a side”. Yet there was still a lot of humanity and charm to parts of it.

Behind the scenes, of course, sharks were circling. The magazines that had been unironically described as “The Hearst Men’s Network” as late as 2015 were proving to be profoundly embarrassing to their newly-woke owners and administrators. A faction within the company clearly wanted to turn R&T into some sort of lifestyle brand, complete with curated $8,000 “experiences”. The unspoken consensus was that the brand was worth something but the magazine was not.

An attempt to transition the 10-times-annually Road&Track into a quarterly big-buck R&T under the leadership of lifestyle-mag journeyman Mike Guy floundered spectacularly. For the better part of three months Hearst was half-heartedly trying to sell $899 memberships to… an experience club with no experiences? The first issue of the quarterly magazine arrived with enough typos and factual errors to make the editors of the National Enquirer weep, impressing precisely no one. Explicit public promises were made that members of the experience club could participate in testing and in PCOTY, something which must have horrified the automakers as it amounted to selling press access to extremely expensive and often irreplaceable vehicles. PCOTY was enough of a logistical nightmare with twelve or fourteen people involved. Can you imagine adding fifty people who expected “curated” access to quarter-million-dollar vehicles, some of which could turn perhaps a dozen racetrack laps before their tires signed off for the day?

At the eleventh hour, all parties within “The Tower” must have come to an arrangement, just in time to put a misspelled letter in the polybags of Okulski’s final issue as Editor-In-Chief. Road&Track will now be a lifestyle publication appearing six times a year for a minimum price of $75 and a maximum price of $899. Mike Guy is running the show. I don’t recognize any of the writers on staff now; it appears to be a Men’s Journal mishmash, the authorial equivalent of the shaggy nonentities who support state-fair tours by former lead singers of Great White or Cinderella. The whole thing, from full-throttle reboot to sheepish lifestyle transition, took exactly eight years.

It’s sad. For five years I was primarily known to the public as a Road&Track contributor. Given that Hagerty Media largely communicates with a sizeable but mostly private audience, chances are that’s still the case. It’s okay. They even made a song about it:

Can it be the sorry sun is rising
Guess it’s time for us to book it
Talk about the famous road not taken
In the end we never took it
And if somewhere on the way
We got a few good licks in
No one’s ever gonna know
‘Cause we’re goin’ out of business
Everything must go

58 Replies to “The End Of The Road… And Track”

  1. PaulyG


    It is indeed a sad day.

    I subscribed to R&T because you were there. With your and Mr. Webster’s exit, the magazine became less and less interesting. And now transitioning into another shallow lifestyle magazine, meh! I have never focused on the latest fashion or fad and have the luxury not to even care.

    The new Woke religion, which seems to seep into everything these days, is really exhausting. If I need religion, I can always go trail running with my rabbi.

    I am letting my R&T subscription run out, but continue to enjoy the Hagerty’s site and magazine.

    • Ronnie Schreiber

      If I need religion, I can always go trail running with my rabbi.

      I understand well the spiritual and meditative value of physical exercise, particularly in the great outdoors. I myself have ridden many a mile with a bike riding rabbi from Aish HaTorah who is a friend, but wouldn’t going to minyan be more, you know, “religious” than going running?

      You didn’t mention your affiliation, but if your rabbi is affiliated with either the Reform or Conservative denominations, you’re lucky if he isn’t woke. There were heterodox congregations that substituted chanting Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s writings for the haftarahs (portions from the Prophets read after the Torah reading) on the High Holidays this year. That’s a bit ironic in light of the fact that to the best of my knowledge, Ginsburg did virtually nothing Jewish in her adult life. Unlike Ginsburg, Donald Trump actually has Jewish grandchildren.

      There have been congregations that have refused to say the traditional Hebrew blessing for the President and government since 2017, ignoring the fact that even Jews in Tsarist Russia prayed for the well being of their country’s leaders. The joke in Fiddler On The Roof is based in reality.

      We’re supposed to believe that Donald Trump is the second coming of the guy with the funny mustache named Adolph, but meanwhile the Jews who know the most about Judaism and are most serious about the practice of their faith are voting for Trump about 4 or 5 to 1, a near reversal from non-Orthodox Jews’ voting patterns.

      I fear for America should Biden win.

  2. gbKing

    Jack, I don’t know if you can address it here but why can the UK put out quality books like Motorsport and Octane but here we get junk. Hagerty’s magazine is good but there is no retail presence. Obviously subscription rates for those are much higher but is their readership higher than the old Woke & Track? I remember that when DED Jr. started Automobile he was attempting to make something more like CAR was at the time. Historically why can the UK do what we can’t?

    • Jack Baruth Post author

      The economics are different.

      Those English magazines are all small circulation and sell for big money. So you can make a big issue filled with fun stuff without having to worry about mailing it to half a million people. They can also charge less money for advertising because their circulation is lower. It sounds counter-intuitive but it’s a lot easier to sell ads in a magazine with 40,000 readers.

      That being said, the English magazines have one major flaw — they make most of the stories up out of thin air. I have this on the authority of multiple big-name English writers. They’ll spend five days doing photography then a writer will just conjure a fun story up around the photography. My idea with PCOTY was to do a traditional EVO-style fast-road test, but to actually do all that shit for real. Which is how I found myself airborne at 110mph in a Viper on a single-lane road…

  3. Ryan

    I only have one question: Even with these changes, will R&T continue to send me new issues despite letting my subscription lapse over a year ago? Ever since that story on Glacier National Park, I don’t even bother thumbing through the issues before throwing them away. Grassroots Motorsports receives the same treatment after the nonsense they pulled this summer.

      • Ryan

        In April, they set up a Patreon to make up for revenue lost due to Corona. A lot of people stepped up to the plate and re-upped their subscriptions, bought merchandise, and/or supported via Patreon.

        In June, they donated to the SPLC to virtue signal their wokeness. Many derided GRM in the comments for making an empty gesture by donating to an organization with a less than stellar reputation. The whole Suddard clan stepped in to shout down dissenters and effectively told critics that they didn’t want/need their patronage. Eventually they locked the comments. You can see everything here:

        I’ve had my subscription to both GRM and CM since before I had a driver’s license (15+ years). The writing in the magazine was never great, but I always enjoyed the build/tech articles. Today, that type of content is everywhere.

        On the other hand, the forum was invaluable. I’ve sold a lot of parts and cars through their forum over the years, so I didn’t mind re-upping my subscription to help keep the forum running.

        I chucked my renewal notice this summer and re-allocated that money towards a forum for an unrelated hobby.

        • Jack Baruth Post author

          Pure cringe in that GRM thread. Given some things I’ve heard backchannel in the past year I’m surprised they have all this money to give to the SPLC, of all places.

          • Ronnie Schreiber

            I don’t know if it was put up before or after the guy from Fulltone ran into the mob for not genuflecting to BLM, but I noticed that JHS had a banner on their site saying they’ve made donations to local groups working for racial justice. To their credit, they were relatively apolitical groups, not leftists, but still it made me less likely to buy a JHS product.

            In my experience, which is purely anecdotal but in line with the above, people in the music instrument industry are not nearly as politically left wing as musicians tend to be.

        • dejal

          Thanks, I’ll read it. The last few years their mag was a read once and throw out. The Grassroots aspect completely disappeared. Kind of like This Old House and “Sweat Equity”. Also, wasn’t jiggy with the son getting all the pages he did.

          • dejal

            Read about a third. Had enough. They took the Black Square social media “Knee” from the looks of it. I’ve been giving around 12,000 a year to various charities. Because of the “Knee” it will be down to about 6,000 this year. Told the ones, to do them a solid on not wasting their time, that any mailing will go directly into the Fu**It Bucket. Had one call me (small charity, they were getting $2K a year). Told the woman to go F herself.

            I gave because ALL Lives Matter. I won’t be told that ALL is racist.
            SPLC. Geez.
            Donating to their business sob story and then them doing that and doing their own reach around hand job by telling everyone? Morons. It’s like giving a couple of bucks to the person by the traffic light by Walmart with the cardboard sign and an hour later seeing them come out of Starbucks.

  4. scotten

    Sad times, but the level of auto enthusiasm in this country has been on a steady decline for years.

    Personally, I blame the “boomers” – they loved cars and racing SO much that no followup generation could live up or keep up. They were the greatest generation and made cars part of their lives.

    I’d also theorize that this was because men ‘drove’ much of the car buying decisions and today it’s at least 50% women. Not to offend the fair sex, but they don’t care about speed and winning races… they want the most stylish and safest SUV/CUV/whatever they can afford.

    I’ll pour some out for R&T.

    • dejal

      I blame the general car competence these days. Pedestrian vehicles are pretty competent. Superb can’t be utilized on the road.

  5. Patrick King


    Back in the ’70s, fresh out of art school and heavily involved in SCCA and BMWCCA publications as a volunteer, I made it my goal to have some of my illustrations published in Road & Track, back when they used such things. I corresponded with then-art director William B. Motta, himself a fine artist (oil/acrylic), for quite some time as he mentored me to improve the quality of my drawings so as to be suitable for publication. I cannot describe my joy when an issue arrived and to my surprise I spotted my drawing of a 91l I’d done from a photograph I took at Virage de Mulsanne during the 1975 Le Mans 24.

    The additional hoot was that my drawing appeared in the same issue as a painting of a Chevy Nova at Le Mans done by Sam Posey.

    Out of curiosity I recently took a peak at the masthead to see who the current air director was. None listed. Well, somebody actually puts the book together but apparently nobody worthy of mention.

    I’m a print designer from way back but print is dead.

    Again, sad…

  6. toly arutunoff

    nobody races CARS anymore. with all the hot–really, really fast–cars on the market we get prototypes or whatever that look alike from across the room. Le Mans should be full of Mercedes coupes and why not convertibles too; Miatas and brzs and Ferraris and Audis. who truly cares about watching these gosh awful PERFORMANCE BALANCED ‘competitions anyway? and is anybody to the left of motor trend? scca runoffs are about the last semi-real racing there is. that said, I watch nascar on road courses; Daytona and Talladega for the big one, and any race from Pocono.

  7. Doug

    I got the letter notifying me that they are going “lifestyle” in with my most recent issue. I guess I will look at the stories in the remaining issues to see if it is any good….but if it is $75 to subscribe it is not going to happen. I guess I will have to stop R&T now along with the new Estrogen and Driver. I had noticed some of the changes, and both magazines have been going radical leftist for awhile causing me to consider if I will re-subscribe to either. Now it will be a sound pass on both.

    One question, is there any print magazine that I can actually hold in my hands related to cars that I can now subscribe to? I would really like something like the old R&T where there is a blend of new cars, history and other car culture related interesting stories? I love Hagerty, but I don’t want to have to use an electronic device for every thing.

  8. John C.

    It is interesting the trouble R/T moving to Detroit and losing so many employees. Mirrors 40 years ago when C/D was told to go to Detroit, went instead to liberal Ann Arbor, and also lost employees, most notably the formerly full time Brock Yates. You would think an American car magazine would want to be in the headquarters of the American car industry. Alas no, they were always more gonzo journOlists that automobile journalists.

    Also Larry Webster slipping out the back his first opportunity. He must not have been very confident that his turnaround would be lasting.

    • Jack Baruth Post author

      The California crowd had terminal Boomeritis; they’d all bought real estate when it was cheap and they weren’t satisfied with anything short of earning six figures to write 1,200 words a month while enjoying SoCal weather. Move to flyover country? Far, FAR beneath them.

      Not to speak for Larry, but I don’t think he ever got the free hand he was promised and with every month there was more New York involvement in the magazine. We have rules at Hagerty, and I frankly chafe against them every time I’d like to write a spine-ripping bill-of-attainder editorial, but we get much better support from the boss than we ever got at R&T.

  9. ScottS

    When the McLaren got wadded up, I had the sense that Wolfkill wouldn’t have owned up to it on his own. It read like a forced Mea culpa, and I had a hunch it was you that did the forcing. It marked a tuning point in editorial direction.

    I was a subscriber to R&T from the time I was in college and didn’t have two nickles to rub together through my early thirties. I’ve all but stopped buying traditional print magazines, but I did enjoy one last fling with R&T showing up in my mailbox more or less once a month, and for that I thank you.


    • Jack Baruth Post author

      I will, ahem, neither confirm nor deny what you’re just written.

      When Kim crashed the only stick-shift GT3 in North America the following year, trying to keep up with my wife driving my Boxster, I didn’t say anything because I’m not a total “kick ’em when they’re down” person.

  10. Mike B

    For a few years with Webster running ship, Smith a regular columnist and Jack contributing, I couldn’t wait to read cover to cover when it showed up. The issue with Alex Rossi driving a Lotus 49 at COTA felt like the dawn of a beautiful fresh motorsport age… the way the stories were told, man I was there. Lutz’s end notes were icing on the cake.

    I told everyone about the quality of the writing, even put a few hooks in friends whose enthusiasm was dying as they aged out of their car-obsessed years. When Wolfkill took over he seemed like a guy who was into cars but the magazine started missing whatever chemistry had begun to form… it was like replacing Clarkson and the gang at Top Gear however many times (top marks to Harris though, he belongs there). I was nervously relieved when Travis took over, always liked him – would like to hear his side of the story – but the magic was gone. This successive run of editors just makes the mag look like a plaything that doesn’t matter.

    Since the head honchos seem not to realize it, the content that gets people amped are the stories. We’re fucking burned out from reviews. R&T is far from the only place to lay blame. God so many awful, perfectly adequate, milquetoast automobiles being cranked out of some Georgia or South Carolina factory 100x/minute. Your readers don’t give a shit. The STORIES matter. Hanging the ass end out of a 911 on the tail of the dragon with the photo to prove it; 5am down the Blue Ridge Parkway at max attack before the sun comes up; R888’s on snowy streets to a track day; the Tremola Pass in a rental car… tell the damn stories. Make us laugh, make us pucker up and go “OOOOHH you got away with that one!” Make us want to be there, but don’t actually invite us. Yeah, that’s what makes people come back for more. You don’t need to share every moment on YouTube, especially not some manufactured “subscriber invite only” press event BS. Just have a few funny and semi-articulate writers come up with harebrained ideas, and let them loose in some goofy contest they dreamed up over lunch beers with whatever mildly interesting press car is available. Pretty please. I’ve got some ideas.

    • Newbie Jeff

      “For a few years with Webster running ship, Smith a regular columnist and Jack contributing, I couldn’t wait to read cover to cover when it showed up. The issue with Alex Rossi driving a Lotus 49 at COTA felt like the dawn of a beautiful fresh motorsport age… the way the stories were told, man I was there. Lutz’s end notes were icing on the cake”

      Completely sums up my feelings on the Webster-Smith-Baruth era… I still love Sam, but the global warming “F150 in Glacier National Park” piece was the shape of things to come, and I stopped renewing. Sad to see I was right.

      RE: GRM… I’d like to add to what everyone else has said about the “SPLC thread” and note that one of the lady Suddards told a forum member to – direct quote – “go die in a fire”. (It was a DM that he quoted and put out in public) This for unforgivable sin of posting opinions online about SPLC… some of which were acceptable to GRM, and some which apparently were not. I emailed editor Suddard and told him I was immediately withdrawing from the UTCC and to pull the picture of my car off the page.

      GRM just sent me a free issue last month trying to entice a renewal… opened to the reader letters page and they’re still publishing letters from readers who affirm their wokeness and usually note “as a black man…” For what it’s worth, I’ve never once seen black drivers treated any differently in the years I’ve been going to the track… but I guess that’s GRM’s primary mission to “make this injustice right” or whatever…

      • dejal

        Things went south when they bought the other magazine. All of a sudden the Amelia Island focus of that magazine crept over into GRM.

        Funny thing you mentioning “Black Man”. I follow Rich Rebuilds (Rich Benoit) on Youtube. Black guy. He’s into fancy, fast, stupid and expensive (on the cheap). Funny and smart guy. Called Amelia Island, “Caucasian Fest”.

  11. arbuckle

    “Road&Track will now be a lifestyle publication”

    I don’t even know what this means. Like they are going to “review” a DB11 but also shill for scotch and sunglasses at the same time?

  12. Disinterested-Observer

    How can you stand there with love in your eyes
    And still be, walking away?

    It is what it is. I wish buff books were still a thing, but 2020 is not 1990. There are a lot of other things wrong with the world.

    • Disinterested-Observer

      Edit-that was not meant to be dismissive. I am pretty torn up about it. But it is not even the worst thing that has happened this month.

  13. Will

    Go woke, go broke? It seems to make sense per usual. They should’ve fired Okulski and should have known better to never hire anyone associated with Gawker, they are poisonous people.

    • CJinSD

      What you need to keep in mind is that when the global marxists destroy yet another institution with wokeness, they’ve won a battle. They might seem like parasites that think they can survive without a host, but from their perspective it will just give them time to ruin another private enterprise or private industry. Killing print media is probably a bigger cherry than most, because you don’t have to burn books that you can simply delete. Does anyone remember when self-proclaimed communist Van Jones said the way to bring down the sanctity of the individual codified by our constitution was top-down, bottom-up and inside-out? He’s practically been canceled by the left since then, since he actually tried to work with Trump to help his community. Regular Democrats are now as happy about serving evil as they are about perpetuating the lies of Marx.

      I’m more concerned that the darkest voices among us were the right ones.

  14. Panzer

    Hmm, I subbed to R&T towards the end of the Wolfkill era, and despite the friction between you two (which I in no way ever perceived at all) I loved it. I subbed to see your print only content but still, the magazine had a slick design, great photography and many great columnists (a personal favourite was the Bob Lutz column in the back)


    Okulski came along. He seemed like a nice enough guy when I saw him on Drive with Spinelli and I was happy for his newfound success. But the magazine turned to dogshit. The design became this ugly minimalist tripe so beloved of the California set and then of course there was the Sam Smith Glacier Park debacle. After a few issues of that I had my Credit Card renewed and I didn’t bother updating the payment details with R&T. I don’t miss it, but I still get new issues that I leave unopened.

  15. George Denzinger

    Love the Steely Dan reference…

    I gave up on print magazines a while back, for which I feel ashamed as I work in the printing industry. But, the content that was there was becoming more and more about unobtanium cars and lifestyle objects that I couldn’t relate to. Online websites were free and had some interesting content. IMO, all of the car magazines tried to keep up with the web and failed badly. R&T’s demise is probably one of the more notable incidences, but there are more to come.

  16. hank chinaski

    “The Hearst Men’s Network” as a pejorative. Sad. Many such cases. Replace ‘Men’ with any other demo and you’ll get wide open soy-mouths.

    For other men’s rags similarly savaged, see also ‘Playboy’ and the SI swimsuit issue. Hell, there’s fat chicks on the cover of Cosmo now. There was a time, you’d see that on the coffee table or night stand and smile inside. ‘Giggitty! Alllll riiiight’.

    Project Weissrat, now that’s a story. 4 stars.

    • CJinSD

      A few years ago I worked at a place with lobby magazines. For some reason, we started receiving Playboy. It was outside of the realm of possibility that we would leave Playboy where anyone could see it, as we were located in Charlottesville, Virginia; also known as ‘the seat of the resistance’ and ‘the city of hate.’ I opened one issue before throwing it away. I hadn’t seen a Playboy since Anna Nicole Smith was on the cover, but what was revealed reminded me more of the National Geographic magazines I read as a child than anything that could be considered titillating.

      • John C.

        CJ, surprised you didn’t leave a Hefner era Playboy in a corner of the lobby lit by a tikki torch. If all those deep state wenches at your link are ready to protest the Trump landslide coming today, surely you could do the same in Charlottesville.

  17. Tom Klockau

    This whole thing sounds like the ‘Motor Trend Classic’ of about a dozen years ago to a certain extent. It was pricey, I didn’t buy it, but got a copy of it from my uncle, it was the one with the Studebaker Wagonaire at Cleveland Union Terminal. Pretty good articles and photography. But it died a quick death.

    This R&T Pretentious Snot reboot sounds like it will be DOA in even quicker time.

  18. Patrick King

    Oh yeah, forgot to mention the Dan. I thought I knew all their stuff and even had the Citizen 66-track four CD box set at one time but this number was new to me. Terrific!

  19. Pete Zaitcev

    TTAC is suffering from the liberal infection and the resulting quality drop too. I literally read some of their puke and commented that none of that crap would be acceptable in RF’s days, nor under EIC Pro Tempore.

  20. anatoly arutunoff

    several years ago the way-more-than-competent Larry crane headed a magazine called–???–automobile connoisseur. I liked it but it went away. slightly more recently there was a b/w 8-page magazine from england called ‘cars for the connoisseur.’ I liked it but the publisher/editor was in $$ trouble and took his own life. then the wonderful Graham Gauld had something great going on early in this century that was gaining ground when the backer pulled the plug. all of these lacked the ‘Robb report’ flavor. I subscribe to r/r for a few moments of bemused surprise each edition–and we have a friend who builds yachts in holland so I enjoy reading about that semi-believable business. wanna know how insular I am? the greatest surprise in my late adult life was realizing there were left-wingers who like cars…see grm, m/t, scm.

  21. CliffG

    I’m so old, I remember being bitterly saddened when Henry N. Manney III had his brain aneurism and could no longer write for them. Let us say it has been a long time since I picked up an R&T. Glad to know there was a brief moment of relevance a few years ago. Recently I had some time and picked up a couple of recent issues of C&D and Automobile. Goodness, the combination of narcissism (look what I get to drive and you can’t, loser) and grammatical errors made the experience painful. Thankfully, they were free so the only thing I lost was time, and i have that. If I am going to read a lifestyle magazine I’ll stay with Recoil. It may be completely ludicrous, but it is entertaining.

  22. Patrick King

    Re: Sharon Silke Carty. I knew she was editor because of her Editor’s Letter. My astonishment was over the complete absence of a staff roster, something I’ve never seen in all my years of being around magazines.


    • sgeffe

      She doesn’t seem TOO bad—seems to have some enthusiast bona fides. There’s lots of YouTubers of the fairer persuasion who know their way around automobiles.

      I do wonder about what happened to their one columnist who lives in Colorado who was a little older—was always near the back of the magazine, and might have been part of the the mid-‘80s Mexico excursion where a Dodge 600 was pretty much destroyed, or at least lost its hood. Brock Yates might have been along for the ride.

      Anyway, his columns just stopped showing up! I assume they unceremoniously cut him loose.

  23. Harrison Bergeron

    When that change up at R&T occurred with Larry and you coming on board it was the first time I actually subscribed to the magazine. Prior I would peruse them at the store or possibly purchase for some light inflight reading. After you left I let my subscription lapse as the quality of the content had been on a downward trajectory. Last year my wife renewed it thinking it would be nice. For the most part the new issues have largely gone unread or after thumbing through quickly found themselves in the recycle. Funny enough as I was reading your post and the mention of the letter to readers I looked over at the mail pile where the unopened recent issue was still sitting. I went over and opened it and found said letter and gave it a quick once over. Glad this subscription is set to expire after this year, they definitely won’t be getting more of our money.

  24. James Anderson

    I also mourn the sad, painful demise of the once mighty and unique Road & Track. My late dad discovered sports cars in Europe after WWII. My parents bought the 1st Austin Healy sold in the NW, and my dad started racing with a new 1956 Porsche Speedster. When born, I came home from the hospital in 1960 in a Porsche Super 90 Coupe. My dad subscribed to R&T in 1953, and I assumed the collection and continued the subscription. So, I have literally had R&T in my home for my entire life. And pretty much every one since late 1953 is within reach of where I sit at this moment.

    I’ve long missed the race coverage (e.g., Rob Walker’s coverage of F1) and had grown more frustrated the past couple of decades as R&T became, well, just “R”. And I agree it was a bit stale. However, the great writers (I miss Sam Smith) and the emphasis on enthusiast cars made it superior to C&D and MT. But it really went to downhill when Larry Webster turned it into another, worse version of C&D. There is one edition of R&T that is not in the collection – the one with a monster truck on the cover went straight in the trash (I didn’t want to contaminate the recycling)!

    The latest “lifestyle” is a total abomination. The 1st issue was so full of typos and errors it felt like it’d been written by HuffPost, and even though some of it was interesting, most is stale or trivial. I just got the newest today, and it seems to mostly just be an effort to fill pages. Speaking of, the larger pages allow … twice the white space with nothing printed? What is the point? It sure as hell isn’t worth (the minimum) $12.50 per issue. I am also letting my subscription expire. Long live the great classic Road & Track!

  25. Steve Linz

    Road & Track sometimes featured writing that knocked on the door of literature, particularly from Baruth and Smith. The car mags whose initials rhyme with “seedy” and “empty” never approached that level. I’ve subscribed to R&T since the late 1960s. Today there’s nothing in the way of a general car magazine to subscribe to.

  26. Dog Dad

    It was very sad to see R&T die such a horrible death. I’ve been a car and racing enthusiast since I was very little. I subscribed to R&T starting in the early ’70s and kept every issue. In the early 90s, I bought a pristine complete set back to Vol. 1, No. 1. The first nine issues were reprints but over the years all nine were replaced with originals, including Vol.1 No.1. The collection now contains multiple original Vol.1 No.1s, as well as multiples of other of the first nine issues.

    I kept my subscription or bought on the news stand even through the difficult years described by Jack in his blog post. But, I don’t bother to get the new iteration of the magazine as it would be too painful to see what happened to the storied publication.

    As an aside, I wonder how many complete collections of R&Ts exist.

  27. Kevin B.

    Just finished leafing through my new issue of R&T and looking at my “Preferred Discount Order Form” for $30 for 6 issues. Are you fucking kidding me? The magazine is a bunch of fluff pieces with a focus on wasting paper. Full pages with a few lines of text followed by a page of a seatbelt graphic copied 400 times on a page. Then the story. It seems like they are more intent on getting the page count up every month vs. having articles about cars and racing. I have subscribed to R&T since the mid 1980’s. Always loved to see the new cars and technology every month. Plus some great articles and photography. In my old mind the magazine died after Thomas Bryant left, sorry. R.I.P. Road & Track.


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