|Henry getting some help finding the footwell (or maybe levering himself out) of an early 1960's Formula car.|
Jay Leno has mentioned once or twice how, as youngsters, we waited with baited breath for the next issue of a car mag to show up. He does not exaggerate. It was our lifeline--our only one--to what was going on. Everything we were anxious to know about was there: timely and thorough road tests, coverage of new models introduced at the motor shows, race reports. Road & Track even covered SCCA Nationals (which were really regional) before there was such a thing as SCCA pro racing.
Times change. The internet out-competes car mags for timeliness and breadth of coverage. The printed page no longer engages many people like video does. About a year ago, I blogged that I might let my never-lapsed subscription (1959!) to Road & Track expire. Its technically-oriented, long form journalism has long since gone out of style and out the magazine. Some recent editorial changes have improved it, but not enough for this dinosaur's tastes--even though it still has Peter Egan, who's columns and reporting remain the best in the biz.
His most famous line, long-since in the public domain, was that the Jaguar XK-E was "the greatest crumpet-catcher known to man." (This was in those Boys' Club times when it was presumed that women wouldn't read or care about insulting language in publications like Road & Track.) My own favorite line was from his report on the 1961 Monaco Grand Prix. Dan Gurney's silver Porsche eventually finished 5th. But for much of the race he ran 3rd, punching above his weight, between the Ferraris of Phil Hill and Wolfgang Von Trips. "Like an anchovy embedded in a pizza," Manney wrote. A favorite re-usable line was "Practice was the usual shambles," after which Manney would explain the slings and arrows suffered by drivers and teams in setting the starting grid. (Race car reliability was nowhere near then what it is now.) His imagery put you as close to an event as you could be without being there.
For those interested in more Manneyisms, here's a link. (Disclaimer: I share almost no views on matters social, political, and automotive with those expressed in Joe Sherlock's blog aside from his admiration for Manney).