By on July 17, 2009

Hitting 50 was tough. I’ve reached the point in my life where I no longer ask “Is That All There Is?” I now ask, “Why did I eat that bowl of mocha chip?” I’ve entered the phase Passage’s author/plagiarist Gail Sheehy calls “Refreshed (or Resigned).” Paint me parenthetical. Recently, I’ve been wondering if I should resign myself to the fact that the car industry is full of liars, weasels, cheats and sons of bitches. And lighten-up. See the good in the people and products which make pistonheads purr. And then my daughter refused to go to bed; she trashed her room like a coke-fueled 70′s rock band. “I have anger issues,” Lola said, when she finally ran out of steam. “That’s OK,” I assured her. “It runs in the family.” So here are five things I hate about the August issue of Car and Driver.

5. August – It’s July. Car and Driver’s “August” issue was put to bed two month’s ago. Despite the obvious immediacy gap (chasm?) between CandD and the autoblogosphere, the storied car mag and its buff book brethren continue their feeble attempt to maintain the illusion of newsworthiness. Their failure to embrace change perpetuates manufacturer-enabled news embargoes, a Kremlin-style practice that prevents the free-flow of information to the consumer and perpetuates junkets that restrict and pervert automotive journalism. Car and Driver should stop chasing faux actuality and get back to the brand’s [former] core value: keeping it real. Meanwhile, I hear rumors that ex-bankrupt Source Interlink Media (Automobile, Motor Trend) has seen the light; they’re looking at improving their paper stock, upping photos and shifting focus towards features. Car and Driver should have done this ten years ago.

4. Cheerleading – Who knew new Editor-in-Chief Eddy Alterman was a Detroit altar boy? For the August issue, Eddy keeps David E. Davis Jr. on life-support, for the sole purpose of recycling reactionary claptrap that passed its sell-by date when jeans had bells at the bottom: “If you’re going to sell ‘em here, build ‘em here;” “ban cell phones;” “don’t bitch about SUVs;” etc. For this Davis gets paid? Again? But it’s more than that. Despite the “new” voices, Car and Driver is still shaking the pom-poms for Motown’s spinmeisters. While the August issue finally gives GM some shit about the Volt, the taxpayer-owned automaker ultimately gets a get-out-of-bullshit-free card: “work in progress.” There’s an entirely too credulous report on the 2011 (really?) Dodge Circuit EV. And the BMW MINI-E is cool ’cause . . . something to do with tattoos.

3. Gotta have it – TTAC’s Best and Brightest have ripped CandD a new you-know-what over this one before: the mag’s tendency to overturn the results of its comparison tests using the “Gotta Have It” category. In the August issue, the Ferrari California bests the Mercedes-Benz SL63 AMG by two points (207 to 205). Remove the Fezza’s three point Gotta Have It score and the Mercedes would have won by one. Never mind the mag’s blatant Bimmer bias; this kind of crap stinks of middle-aged white guy elitism. Which is OK—if Car and Driver would stop pretending to be “fair.” Factor-in the quality of the shrimp at the junket, and the length of the PR babe’s skirt. I dare you.

[Note: TTAC's reviews include a desirability rating. But we don't rate/compare cars according to an ostensibly objective formula. We openly admit that ALL of a reviewer's ratings are ENTIRELY subjective. We actively seek out second and third opinions on a vehicle. And we solicit reader comments which run directly underneath the review. Thank you Al Gore.]

2. Pimping – What’s the difference between cheerleading and pimping? I reckon it has something to do with article origination; whether or not a feature began life as a “let’s kick some ideas around” lunch at an expensive restaurant with “the client.” Or maybe it’s just a question of money. Either way, “VETTE DREAMS” errs on the side of solicitation. “V-8 POWER FOR THE PRICE OF A HOT HATCH, WITH THE SECURITY OF GM’S CERTIFIED USED-VEHICLE PROGRAM” is a strap-line, not an advertising headline, apparently. To his credit, former Editor-in-Chief Csaba Csere warns readers that www.gmcertified.com sucks. Sorry, “the site’s search functions aren’t strong.” Neither is Car and Driver’s credibility.

1. Boring – I could forgive Car and Driver’s carmudgeon anything if their writing didn’t bore me to tears. The mag’s literary quality is a crying shame. I’m not saying CandD’s prose is stiff, but the porn industry should be so lucky. By the same token, you’ll find more more passion in GM’s accounting department on Temazepam Tuesdays. While all the August issue’s articles are inert, the piece called “Unprotected Text” is the quintessential snoozer. I leave you with the opening sentence, which is so dire on so many levels that it’s put my ire to rest. Well, hibernation. “If you use a cell phone, chances are you’re aware of ‘text messaging’–brief messages limited to 160 characters that can be sent or received on all modern mobile phones.”

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77 Comments on “Editorial: Five Things I Hate About August’s Car and Driver...”


  • avatar
    Seth L

    Is there still a car magazine under the eight-page automaker special advertising sections, weathertech and tirerack ads? Because that’s 75% of the magazine right there.

  • avatar
    MikeInCanada

    What happened to C&D?

    When I was a kid (70′s & 80′s) it was the only mag that ‘kept it real’ and did the things that I thought was normal and reasonable – Cannonball Run anyone….? Rental Car torture tests….?

    Anyway, it seemed about 5 years ago they ditched all that and became just another glossy monthly press release for the manufacturers. I just gave up on them.

  • avatar
    TZ

    Re: August in July

    Magazines have been dated a month ahead for most of recorded history. This is nothing new.

    At least they finally got rid of Bedard. That’s a plus.

  • avatar
    figgy9090

    I hear you…My revelation on C&D’s slide came one day when I checked my mailbox, saw the new issue was in, and then put it on the kitchen table along with the other junk instead of devouring it like I used to.

    Needless to say, my subscription has not been renewed, but I feel guilty in taking part in the demise of what was such a great magazine.

    Maybe we have been spoiled with the immediacy of Web content that we can no longer stand reading information that is considered ‘old news’. Its fair to say C&D are going through the same pains as most print publications.

  • avatar
    WaftableTorque

    I used to read every issue of Motor Trend, Automobile, and Car & Driver from the mid-80′s up to around 2000. It was around that time that the internet got into it’s groove and I was reading stuff 1-2 months before it came on news stands.

    They have a dying business model. Just like the business models of many car companies.

  • avatar
    wmba

    I agree. Here’s my peeve:

    Eddie Alterman cannot write. He cannot express himself clearly in the English language. His two or three editorials since assuming lead role at C/D are completely hopeless. They are so bad I read some sentences two or three times trying to figure what it is he’s trying to say. And then find out it wasn’t worth saying, anyway.

  • avatar
    dragofan

    Can’t agree more. I’ve been a long-time Car and Driver subscriber but I won’t renew later this fall. I can safely say that there wasn’t one article I was interested in reading in the issue to which you refer.

    Taurus review? No thank you. I have Consumer Reports for that. The dangers of texting and the effects of booze? Had that figured out a few geologic time periods ago. Even though I always read the magazine as I’m half asleep and eating breakfast, it’s clear that the content has taken a nosedive over the past year.

    P.S. Can’t Weathertech afford light bulbs? Their ads seem to feature employees standing/sitting in dark rooms and such.

  • avatar
    Domestic Hearse

    Don’t let the Ye Olde Brag Mag raise your blood pressure, RF. This model is lumbering its way toward extinction. Even 14 year old car porn seekers are dropping C&D, R&T and others in favor of net content and sexier publications like EVO.

    As for me, Excellence Magazine is my only car subscription — being a Porsche fan and all. The writing is more passionate and enthusiastic (yes, fanboy writers all, so I’m not reading it for an objective viewpoint). And it’s light on the inside baseball aspects of the business (hardly ever a mention of the VW/Porsche drama). And new car reviews positively gush. Though, how many bad things could anyone find to say about a new 997?

    The good bits are the motor sports history articles, the restoration features, personality profiles, and collector information pieces.

    See, unlike the C&D Brag Mag format, Excellence has a point of view, an undisguised editorial stance. Excellence may be a PR mouthpiece for most of the new car content, but it’s the articles starting on page 30 I enjoy most.

  • avatar
    Samuel L. Bronkowitz

    Is it possible for great companies/institutions to die gracefully? Probably not. Watching GM, C&D, et. al. flail about in their dying days is just sad.

  • avatar
    twotone

    Remind me — why is this stuff printed on paper, stuck in the mail and paid postage? I have not subscribed to a print magazine or newspaper for over five years. Phone books are even worse — straight into the recycle bin.

    Put it on your web site and be done with it. And, with reader comments.

    “What’s the difference between cheerleading and pimping?” — About $300/hour more or less.
    Twotone

  • avatar
    Samir

    Knowing Lola, things must have gotten really ugly! I mean, you had to vent your anger using C&D!

  • avatar
    TZ

    Seth L :
    July 17th, 2009 at 12:18 pm

    Is there still a car magazine under the eight-page automaker special advertising sections, weathertech and tirerack ads? Because that’s 75% of the magazine right there.

    Agreed. Compared to just a few years ago, the content has been cut in half.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    C&D has been a joke for years, now it is just getting to be a worse joke.

    But, I might check out Automobile again in a few months if they are really moving towards better quality and interesting feature articles. The buff books need to get out of even pretending to be a place to find out “what’s new?”.

  • avatar
    GoHuskers

    car industry is full of liars, weasels, cheats and sons of bitches

    RF – you just realized that? Have you been asleep since you left your teenage years? Call me a cynic, but I believe that the same can be said for most business people. They go to church on Sunday, but would cut your throat without a second thought on Monday.

  • avatar
    jayparry

    Problem is they will never read this post.

    But, realistically, they have to pay for printing presses and printing and mailing takes time. This makes it a super in-efficient way of doling out news, but it all costs money so they have another god than just good/fair/humorous reporting.

    Comparing a blog to a magazine is like comparing apples to dinosaurs

  • avatar
    dolorean23

    For the August issue, Eddy keeps David E. Davis Jr. on life-support—seemingly for the sole purpose of recycling reactionary claptrap that passed its sell-by date when jeans had bells at the bottom: “If you’re going to sell ‘em here, build ‘em here;” “ban cell phones;” “don’t bitch about SUVs;” etc. For this Davis gets paid? Again? But it’s more than that. Despite the “new” voices, Car and Driver is still shaking the pom-poms for Motown’s spinmeisters.

    I too found this recent cheerleading spasm strange as for the past 20 years or so, C&D has done very little but bash everything rolling out of Detroit, other than the occasional Mustang and Pickup truck. Do you think its out of Guilt that the new staff is trying to atone for its past sins?

  • avatar
    jayparry

    Unrelated follow up: Whats a ‘buff book’. what does ‘buff’ mean in this context?

  • avatar
    Domestic Hearse

    Buff: n, informal. One who is enthusiastic and knowledgeable about a subject. A Civil War buff.

    Buff Book is a magazine for enthusiasts, and in this particular case: about cars.

    Because the readers are enthusiastic and knowledgeable, and the content of C&D pretty much stinks, the buffs are going elsewhere.

  • avatar
    Domestic Hearse

    Which means, a fitness magazine would be a Buff Buff Book. Not to be confused with a magazine for nudists.

  • avatar
    carm

    I am currently subscribed to Motor Trend and Automobile. When they run out, I will no longer subscribe. All of the news is old since the introduction of the internet.

  • avatar
    Dyl911

    I’ve been a subscriber since 1986 and I still am. I like to read C&D in bed before I go to sleep. (Actually, it puts me to sleep.) I doubt I’ll resubscribe, unless they charge me $0.50 per issue.

    It is really sad, what the magazine has become. There used to be such scathing reviews, such biting wit. I suppose, as stated above, once great institutions don’t die gracefully.

    The one thing that really annoys the crap out of me, though, are the mind-bogglingly stupid cartoons by Pippa Garner! Why does she still have a job?!? And she’s been cranking out these terrible Ms. Goodwrench things for years!!!

  • avatar
    commando1

    Whenever a long established product is on it’s last legs, the powers that be, in a last ditch attempt for lacking any other vision, go “retro”. They think baby boomer nostalgia can save anything but in reality, all tehy’re doing is saving their jobs for another year until the Highest Ups realize that it ain’t working.
    Well, that’s what C&D is now doing. Trying to give the illusion that they are returning to the greatness of 25 years ago.

    Look for a Ferrari-Pontiac comparo test coming soon.

  • avatar
    nikita

    I gave up on C&D when I started reading Autoweek three decades ago. Now that AW has devolved into a bi-weekly version of C&D, I threw away renewal notices for the past six months, but it still arrives in the mailbox anyway.

    Print media is dead, but, like M. J., is waiting for the brain to be released by the medical examiner’s office before burial.

  • avatar
    Lokkii

    Pimping – What’s the difference between cheerleading and pimping?

    Well, if you don’t know, I’m certainly not inviting you to dinner at MY house. -Oh wait. Wrong joke…. never mind

    I had great hopes when I saw that Behard was leaving and DED was coming back. The magazine was in its prime when he ran it. I always thought of him as an old headmaster who -instead of keeping order- used his experience to help the boys think up new mischief (200 MPH Firebird, anyone?). I also like the way he used Jean Jenning – i.e. strapping her into any vehicle that would go really fast until she threw up.

    As for Pippa Gardner – NOW Can we get rid of Pippa Gardner?

  • avatar
    paulie

    I really thought C&D was dead as a rag!
    Thought ALL rags were dead or at least in Florida!
    Nobody really buys these anymore, do they?

    And RF…
    Just wait until you get to be my age where they don’t give you a cake once a year, but greet you with a celebration cupcake each morning.

  • avatar
    PartsUnknown

    I still subscribe…it’s so cheap, and it gives me something to read on the train in the morning. But, it’s nothing like it was in the past, when I was a wee lad. I used to devour every issue, every stat, and I loved the writing. Now…I can read it front to back by the time I get to South Station, where I toss it in a garbage can. Aaron Robinson is the only writer on the C&D staff whose writing style is even remotely interesting or amusing. Anyway, the best rag writer is still Peter Egan at R&T.

  • avatar
    Johnny Canada

    Robert, if C&D called today and asked you to submit an editorial for the next issue, would you do it?

  • avatar

    “I’ve been a subscriber since 1986 and I still am. I like to read C&D in bed before I go to sleep. (Actually, it puts me to sleep.) I doubt I’ll resubscribe, unless they charge me $0.50 per issue”

    50¢ an issue? I paid $5 for my last year–41⅓¢ and issue.

    Alterman’s got nothing, which is too bad, because there was some light at the end of the tunnel there for a while. At least they don’t have Jean Jennings, though. Or, forgive me, Peter Egan going on for three pages about his Cadillac. That guy really wants to be writing for Hemmings.

  • avatar
    TheRedCar

    I get C&D free from my neighbor who gets them because some company thinks his house is a dentist office and I still have a hard time reading them.

    A few years back I went on ebay and got a couple stacks of 60′s C&D’s. You want to really be depressed about the current edition? Go back and read the early stuff. The content and the snark were both deep and meaningful.

    My favorite was the one an early 60′s issue with a 30′s Alfetta on the cover and a write-up of the entire auto scene in Italy at the time. It did nothing for the bottom line, but it sure was a fantastic read.

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    I’m old enough to remember when Car & Driver was called Sports Cars Illustrated. Not a bad magazine back then, but I preferred Road & Track. Somehow for my 35¢ it seemed more relevant, maybe even classy. Not sure I was ever young or stupid enough to believe anything in Motor Trend.

  • avatar
    eamiller

    C&D has come a long way in a short period of time, and not in a good way.

    As an example of how terrible their writing has become:
    When I was in high school, in the late 90s, I had a project for my “word power” (SAT booster) class to find words in print that were from a list ($0.50 words and above basically) which waere derived from Latin and Greek. Were it not for the requirement that we use 3 different publications, all my back issues of C&D dating back to 1991 would have completely fulfilled the project requirement. They had intelligent and funny writing.

    When I started reading TTAC a few years ago, I became very nostalgic. The writing style reminded me of the way C&D used to be, only more so. Going back and reading modern C&D is just painful any more. My long running subscription expired 2 years ago, and I haven’t missed it.

  • avatar

    I’ll never forget when they photo shot a GM (60′s?) in the junkyard and called it what it was- garbage. GM pulled all thier advertising and someone got fired, if I recall. Those old articles are why I keep reading; hoping they will someday make a comeback.

    Those were the days…

  • avatar
    spyspeed

    I stopped reading C&D when I spotted C&D branded hubcaps in the Walmart automotive section.

    Glad to hear blowhard Bedard is gone. If the hubcaps are also gone, I might give it a read.

  • avatar
    dolorean23

    Go back and read the early stuff. The content and the snark were both deep and meaningful.

    There was a small review of a 2000 Chevy Metro in mid-00 that had me pissing my pants it was so funny; “…the little Metro flew past 13 seconds at a BLAZING 54 mph while all the time making its best immitation of a trash compactor on puppy uppers…” It still makes me laugh. The sarcasm and well, the FUN is just gone.

  • avatar
    dean

    The business model is based soley on advertising, as the sub costs barely pay for postage. So the buff books all have to pander to the advertisers. Don’t ever expect the snark to come back.

    Who reads C&D? Kids, that’s who. Like my gf’s son, who has memorized a ridiculous amount of specs. But you can’t sustain a magazine for 12 year old boys.

  • avatar
    xyzzy

    @Cheevie

    It was an Opel Kadett. That was the article that differentiated them from the pack.

    The article was re-run in their 50th anniversary issue. that issue was depressing because it made readers realize how much better C&D used to be. But I give them props in that issue for also copping to some serious mistakes and bringing back people who had left on not-the-best terms to rehash old history or feuds.

    In retrospect that 50th anniversary issue was probably the final death spasm.

  • avatar
    Cicero

    Until they develop a laptop computer that won’t slide off my knees when I’m sitting on the can, I’ll continue to read Car & Driver.

    Besides, I think Winifred Cutler is HOT.

  • avatar
    mpresley

    I believe you are sincere in what you write, however, coming from a Web based competitive site this kind of article could very well be seen as self-serving. I don’t think it is, but it could be seen as such. At the same time, Web sites people frequent (whether this site or other news sites) tend to devolve into “fan” clubs–how could it be otherwise? Why read something one does not enjoy, unless one’s purpose is to simply criticize?

    That being said, as a reader of TTAC (obviously) and a subscriber to C/D I’d like to offer a few comments:

    First, C/D (or any print mag) will never be as cutting edge contemporary as TTAC (or a Web based news site). On the other hand, TTAC must necessarily limit its scope, too. There is a point where freedom becomes anarchy, and if TTAC covered every “breaking” story, it would itself become watered down, and revert to only a news aggregation site.

    Second, I’d be careful about criticizing journalistic style. No car mag/Internet site has the ability to hire writers of the caliber of Tom Wolfe or Hunter Thompson (RIP), and there is plenty of criticism to go around on all sides. At the end of the day, style is out there for all to observe, and make their own judgments.

    The technical reviews of C/D are more in depth than what’s found on the usual Internet enthusiast site. Whether this technical analysis is important to readers (as opposed to mere subjective impressions) is up to each to decide.

    Long term tests are better in the slicks–indeed, that is where you have to go to read a long term test, I think. It could change, I suppose, but as of now, that is the way it is.

    In this economy it’s really surprising that magazine content has not dropped more. However, let’s face it; in reality C/D (and the others) are pretty much given away. Does the subscription price even pay postage, anymore? Did it ever?

    A site like TTAC is “free,” but whether it will remain so, who knows? If the powers that be charge an access fee, how many will be willing to pay out? Right now (I’m guessing) the ads pay for our ability to log in. It is the same with C/D.

    No one (I don’t think) favorably compares C/D of the 70s and 80s to what is being produced now. But, this is the 21st century, and things are different. It is easy for me to personally compare a Honda v. Toyota v. VW, but 99.9% of readers (whether TTAC or C/D) will never be able to personally compare a California with an SL63. And, really, for those of us that are just reading, what difference does the magazine’s final conclusion make? We simply want some driving impressions, and a few pictures. In most respects, the “final rating” of such cars is meaningless.

    For those who argue against an obvious C/D BMW bias, please be honest with yourselves for a moment. If you could afford an M3 (I mean really afford it–not just eeking by on some weeny lease), how many would opt for another small sedan, instead? I’m guessing very few. Some might take an Audi for style, but that’s about it.

    The used car shopping section is not a useless feature, but a place to start. In any case, I never saw it as an advertisement, but maybe my thinking is misguided. That being said, the immediate discussion of used cars on a site like this one, is invaluable. But no one here does the kind of objective price comparisons found in the C/D article.

    The article about texting while drinking was moronic, and opens them to jokes about how serious they really are when they test. This should never have gotten past the editor.

    Nothing wrong with a tire test, although tire buying has always been hit and miss for the average consumer. At least you know as much from the article.

    Kafka’s Garage was one of the more interesting sections, but when something weird and something only one page long is a highlight…well, it gives one pause.

  • avatar
    Samir

    Cicero :

    Ever heard of a folding table?

  • avatar
    Dynamic88

    C/D still exists? I quit reading it in the ’70s.

  • avatar

    mpresley

    C and D’s problem is the same one that GM faces: the company has become a slave to profit, rather than the brand(s) from which profit must flow.

    Even if C and D rediscovered their raison d’etre, they’d have to switch from one business model (kissing the advertisers’ collective ass) to another (offering the world’s best car reviews and features). Impossible—when everyone within the organization owes their power to the old system and no one at the top is dedicated to upending the status quo.

    Perhaps the most irksome element of C and D’s downfall is how great it could have been. Even now, there’s enormous potential.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    I gave up on the car mags years ago, especially Road & Track. I got tired of reading road tests on $200,000 cars I can never own, let alone see.

  • avatar
    NickR

    And then my daughter refused to go to bed; she trashed her room like a coke-fueled 70’s rock band. “I have anger issues,” Lola said, when she finally ran out of steam.

    Lola should go to bed every night thanking the lord she isn’t subject to Irish methods of child behaviour modification.

  • avatar
    bodayguy

    My R&T subscription just ended. I like Automobile and may go back to that, especially if they up the paper stock and add interesting features.

    Overall, I just can’t believe how bland the writing has gotten in these mags. Top Gear is a success on TV. Someone needs to play with that model a bit: humor, beautiful presentation, unexpected features.

  • avatar
    paulie

    The REAL problem is this…they are irrelevant.

    A month late with “breaking” news!
    Today’s morning news is old by dinner. Nobody sits around waiting for information everybody else has had on the internet for a month, at least.

    They are not interactive.
    People love today’s internet sights because they can reply and get feedback instantly.
    They communicate with fellow auto lovers, and receive advice.
    Many sights offer auto search and relevant data EACH day.

    I used to come home with a briefcase full of these when I traveled for a living.
    Now I have no desire to purchase rags with old news long ago discussed and pictures released more than a month earlier.

    They are 45 days late and survival dollars short
    .

  • avatar
    tonycd

    As a kid who basically learned about literature by reading Davis, Warren Weith et al in the ’60s, I have more mixed feelings about all this.

    First, I’d come to loathe Bedard. Partly for his increasingly creaky perspective toward the cars he tested (“can’t see the A/C controls through polarized sunglasses, and the seat hurt my derriere”), moreso for his relentless stream of right-wing fiction in the columns section. What concerns me about his overdue departure is that it has the aroma of being for the wrong reason, namely payroll-slashing.

    Second, Davis. Davis is such a gifted writer that I’d enjoy reading him if he’d written me directions to the restroom on a matchbook cover. Admittedly, he’s now on the verge of applying that very test, but a legend gets a pass from me.

    Third, the Taurus test. I thought it was the best thing in the magazine (okay, “get larger” ads were the only competition, but still). They conveyed, with appropriate restraint, what was present and what was absent from the car. And yes, it is an important enough car to rate a full test, as TTAC itself recognized.

    Fourth, John Phillips on his best day is one of the very finest writers out there. What they need is more like him, or like Automobile’s gifted young Ezra Dyer. If anything saves these magazines, it will be writing.

    And finally, I won’t know if I like a future of “features” until I see what it means. If it’s comparison tests, swell. If it’s “we drive through the Italian Alps and sprinkle in some superlatives about our junket car,” count me out.

  • avatar

    @ dean:
    But you can’t sustain a magazine for 12 year old boys

    Don’t be too sure: Witness the success of Playboy.

  • avatar
    ravenchris

    Was this diatribe originally a cover letter?

  • avatar
    John Horner

    @The_Imperialist: “Economic Crisis Hits the Playboy Mansion: Hugh Hefner Facing Bankruptcy” http://www.bittenandbound.com/2008/09/29/economic-crisis-hits-the-playboy-mansion-hugh-hefner-facing-bankruptcy/

    Playboy is loosing money, loosing circulation and struggling to figure out how to survive.

    http://blog.taragana.com/n/playboy-magazine-weighs-moves-to-stem-losses-fewer-issues-higher-prices-on-the-table-59694/

    Even the in-the-buff rags are on the ropes.

  • avatar
    theflyersfan

    Has anyone here actually ordered mats from those dozen page “taking over the magazine” company?

    …there really needs to be a limit on that stuff because it has spread like a fungus.

    I’m also waiting for the BMW 1-series to win a comparison test against a Ferrari, Bentley, and a Lambo.

  • avatar
    beken

    I haven’t read C&D in over 10 years. But I do like the idea of a glossy magazine of feature articles and great photography. Properly written and thought out road tests are of great value to the consumer. Though I do enjoy the online reads, most of the internet sites, including TTAC will show some form of bias. But I wonder how many will commit what they have written onto media that is not retractable. I have observed that even TTAC has gone back and editted or changed an article after it has been published for public consumption. It is very difficult and time consuming to make sure what you have written is totally without error and it communicates what was meant to be communicated. I can appreciate what the physical magazines bring that the websites can’t.

    I do appreciate sites like TTAC for allowing folks like mpresley to bring up valid counterpoints. Makes for interesting and valuable discussion.

    BTW…I did go and buy myself a BMW, but not from what I did or did not read in C&D.

  • avatar
    agenthex

    What’s funny is that everyone loves Top Gear, but the extremely high cost of production for stuff like that (especially in the non-US market) is only realistic with BBC type state financing.

    Car and Driver make do with their advertising model. You can of course get an evo subcription for ~$100/year.

  • avatar
    Hank

    twotone: “Remind me — why is this stuff printed on paper, stuck in the mail and paid postage?”

    That’s easy. Go price a big package of Charmin and then look at the $8/year discounted subscription you can score on C&D. A bargain’s a bargain.

  • avatar
    schicklgrueber

    Pippa Garner is actually about the only good thing in C&D these days. At least the cartoons require some automotive insight.

  • avatar
    escapenguin

    This was an awesome piece of writing: completely uncompromising, eloquent and brutally honest.

    Hey, C&D, remember when that was you?

    Hey, C&D, extricate yourself from BMW’s jockstrap!

    Hey, C&D, your previous wackiness is coming up, uh, lacking!

    Hey, C&D, I miss the old you. I see glimmers now and then, but most of the time I think it’d be more prudent and less prideful to take old yeller out back and lay his ass to rest.

  • avatar

    I became an avid reader of C&D as a kid, after finding a January 1994 issue. Interesting stories, good reviews and enough editorial wit to put it head and shoulders above Motor Trend. It all came to an end sometime around 05 or 06, when I finally found sites like TTAC and the like. The Power of the Internet™ could deliver news and previews faster than C&D ever could.

    I miss the old C&D. There was a point which C&D went from being pure gold to just &%^$….editorial quality just went down the drain, along with reader interest. I doubt that there’s anything left to salvage……..okay, they could dismount themselves from BMWs….junk, for starters.

  • avatar
    Campisi

    Eddy keeps David E. Davis Jr. on life-support, for the sole purpose of recycling reactionary claptrap that passed its sell-by date when jeans had bells at the bottom: “If you’re going to sell ‘em here, build ‘em here;” “ban cell phones;” “don’t bitch about SUVs;” etc. For this Davis gets paid? Again?

    It gets people talking about Car and Driver Magazine, doesn’t it? Anyone that has ever green-lit a Baruth article should understand how this works.

    DISCLAIMER: Running the Baruth articles was a good decision in my view.

  • avatar
    DweezilSFV

    Beyond Hemmings Classic Car, the only car magazines I regularly buy are the ones from the 50s 60s and 70s that I find at swap meets or Autobooks in Burbank.

    One of my favorite “scores” was a bound volume of Car & Driver, all 12 issues, from 1975.

    Motor Trend lost it years ago when Auto Week did an expose’ of MT’s “Car Of The Year” Award and how it was up for sale to the manufacturer who provide the most perks, junkets, freebies, test cars and ad pages. Before that I had enjoyed them since I was a kid. The first one I bought had the Firebird on the cover. I was 10 or something.

    We used to move around a lot,from state to state because of my Dad’s job. The one thing I could depend on was Motor Trend coming out every month. Being the new kid all the time, it was nice to have something familiar and reliable to look forward to.

    So to realize that something I had respected and enjoyed from childhood was a fraud, was disappointing, to say the least.

    My collection of 50s & 60s era Motor Trend continues to grow. I haven’t purchased a new issue in over 10 years. Mike Lamm is still one of my favorite automotive writers starting with his “Used Cars” columns in MT in the late 60s.

    And I loved Brock Yates and PJ O Rourke at Car & Driver.

    Now there’s TTAC. And thank you.

    [ Especially thankful that TTAC is on line as I know I will never be nearly buried by it in an earthquake like I was with my MT & C&D collection in the LA quake of 92.]

  • avatar
    golden2husky

    The redesign of the format a few years ago was the last straw for C/D. We the readers howled that we didn’t like it and the editor’s response was “too bad. We spent a lot on the re-do and it is here to stay”. Seems to me that they got more from GM than just advertising dollars…

  • avatar

    Speaking of pimping, this was my take on C/D prior to the Alterman hiring:

    http://www.speedsportlife.com/2008/12/23/avoidable-contact-22-the-rise-and-sad-fall-of-car-and-driver/

  • avatar
    SunnyvaleCA

    How about a “Car and Driver Deathwatch” series?

  • avatar
    SherbornSean

    On another note, “Lola” is just about the coolest name a carnut could give a daughter.

    I was hoping to name our girl ‘Ascari” when she was born, but my wife vetoed that idea. I guess an Asian looking girl named Ascari Goldstein probably crosses too many cultural lines.

    Anyhow, how about a contest asking the B&B for the best car enthusiast names for babies?

  • avatar
    speedboatsteve1

    I hate paying $10-$12/issue but I love EVO, Top Gear, Car, and Classic&Sports car. The variety of cars tested and the exotic location shoots are wonderful in England/Europe. It seems to me that if somebody did a US version of EVO and located the whole mag staff in Southern California they would have a pretty good product.

    I find the classified section in C&SC more interesting than any domestic rag. Some of those classified ads are better written than domestic rags.

  • avatar
    John R

    Jesus Christ, the Gotta have it score. What a load of crap.

    When I read C&D had to give the V6 Camaro nearly 16 points in this category just to barely beat the Genesis coupe in a comparo, I literally burned the magazine. I was so livid. GOOD LORD, just call a spade a spade and admit the Koreans won one, xenophobes!

    “…middle-aged white guy elitism,” indeed.

  • avatar

    @John R:

    The “Gotta Have It” score is, really, the only usable thing in those ratings. Why, again, are we assigning statistically equivalent ratings to rear-seat room and handling? What’s the point of tallying up a bizarre cacophony of subjective (ride) and objective (quarter-mile time) ratings, giving them all equal weight, and letting that determine the winner?

    C/D should shitcan the ratings system and return to simply picking the appropriate BMW or Honda to win each comparo.

    And I’d be careful with the “white guy” stuff in general. C/D has never lacked for Jews or ethnic minorities on-staff. Alterman, I believe, is Jewish, and Jews are not “white guys”. Ask any concentration-camp guard.

  • avatar
    agenthex

    Alterman, I believe, is Jewish, and Jews are not “white guys”. Ask any concentration-camp guard.

    You would have a point if we lived in wartime germany.

  • avatar
    Runfromcheney

    I must admit, I can vouch for what RF said about source Interlink media upping the quality of their mags. I have seen Automobile take a dramatic leap in quality since I turned my back on them two years ago. They called the new Camaro the car that will save GM, so they are not quite there yet. But they are making good progress.

  • avatar
    rudiger

    During its heyday (1970-1990), where Motor Trend and its ilk were written like Reader’s Digest, C&D was the Esquire of car enthusiast magazines.

    The earlier link to Baruth’s article hits the nail on the head succinctly. Car and Driver sold-out decades ago when they tired of questioning the status quo and became part of it.

  • avatar
    riko

    I used to read C&D religiously back in the ‘70’s. It was whimsical and extremely well written. What was funny was that I lived in Manhattan and did not own a car much less wanted one. I think they changed once they moved away from New York City to Michigan. Of course NY was a dumb place to test drive cars but it was a great location for hiring good writers. Oh well.

  • avatar

    I agree with two or three of your points. The rest I really do not care about because most magazines have repetitive content and style that is boring, no matter what you do.

    First, I completely agree about their BMW bias and their tendency to ignore scoring results. The M3 Vs. Corvette is another shining example.

    Second, I only read their website articles to get statistics like 0-60mph, 1/4 mile, HP, etc. I have been doing apple to apple comparisons using C&D for so long that using anyone else’s numbers in comparison is fruitless.

    I agree with the others, magazines are relegated to doctor’s office duty! Hell, I can even get on the internet at my car dealership for no extra charge and I do not even have to drag in my laptop.

  • avatar
    rx8totheendoftime

    I don’t agree that print media is over…just bad print media and print media that delivers the latest news. What will continue is print media that delivers lasting value with meaningful content. Those that do not understand this simply do not grasp the value of holding paper and reading print, just as most do not like art, opera and other less accessible forms of information and entertainment.

    I could point out that a lot of really ‘old’ print media is still printed, like Shakespeare, Joyce and Hemingway, as well as all the other classics.

    Print media will be much smaller and be a kind of elite method of delivering information. The CD thing was always low quality, despite what has been written here; by the way, a strong minority of print media has an increasing circulation. You just have to be discerning and educated about what you read and how to look for it.

    Much of what is written on the net is just noise and nonsense, but people pay attention to it. What percentage of people interested in cars actually read TTAC or even know it exists? The vast majority read and love the car noise on the net and in print, just like the millions of illiterates and semi-literates that watch and love reality TV, wrestling, game shows, graphic novels and the rest of the junk that is so popular.

  • avatar

    The problem with the “just give up and go online, already” argument is that what you get at that point is something like this:

    http://www.nextautos.com/Winding-Road-Magazine/

    (which I think was started by David E. Davis, though he’s no longer involved.)

    Winding Road is, in the modern vernacular, made of fail. It’s possibly the worst e-magazine I’ve ever seen. I have no idea whether its content is worth reading, because its interface is so amazingly cumbersome I can never get that far before deciding that it couldn’t possibly be worth the hassle. It’s a benighted effort to cram the design sensibility of print magazines into a web format, and it becomes the worst of both worlds.

  • avatar
    Accords

    Man…
    I have to say Mr Farago has it balls on.

    Only way I get C & D is if my father-in-law drops off a free sub every so often.

    I used to read it.. like I used to like the Camry v Accord debate. But even that is has gone so horribly wrong.

    Two days ago I turned around and cancelled my R & T.. because…
    Im just sick and tired of reading about how they test SUVs / CUVs and pretend they can actually do the job as required.. when the average dumbass cant operate them properly on paved roads.

    Im sick of the 0-60 times.. and the endless track discussions.

    Im also sick and tired of getting one page bios on the latest car, on some smooth and blocked off road somewhere.. where they had a press car to drive around for 2 days.

    But it finally occured to me.. when I did up it a coupla years ago.. that instead of paying 40 for 2yrs.. I could get 12 for 2yrs, PLUS a yr free of C & D.

    Then it clicked hard.. how they both run almost the same articles, the same content, the same blather.. month after month.

    Its just not interesting.. anymore.

    Funny..
    I used to pick up each and every car mag for almost 6-12mo straight… till It clicked that they are virtual copies of each other.

  • avatar
    Morea

    There are a lot of titles out there if you are a true car guy (aka, gear head or petrol head). CD, R&T, MT are just the pop-hits of car mags. I got bored with those decades ago now I go to the newsstand and buy something (almost) randomly. If you REALLY love cars try Car Craft, Hot Rod, Octane, Vintage Motosports, Grassroots Motorsports. You can see that these editors/writers really love cars. You’ll pay more but you’ll get a better product.

  • avatar
    joeaverage

    Am approaching 40 and don’t really see the point of 0-60 times anymore. Don’t race my cars these days. I commute. Even on the weekends while I might explore the upper reaches of the tachometer – I still am not out to race. Just enjoying the curvy roads around here.

    These days I want to know how much torque the engine makes. One of our four cylinder daily drivers makes alot more torque than the other four cylinder daily driver. Much easier and more satisfying to drive day after day.

    Yes braking and slalom are still important to me but I no longer care which fraction of a second one car does compared to another. Just put their performance in a class. Turns like the Weinermobile or stops like the Titanic means I won’t own it no way – no how. However if it stops similar to a modern sporty sedan (even a heavy one) then I’ll be happy.

    Not going to spend much time worrying over whether this brand is .35 of a second faster or better than the other. Let’s talk about how reliable and trouble free they’ll be after 150,000 miles… And yes I’ll put up with some “character” (repairs) for something that is more satisfying to drive. Completely describes life with any one of our three VWs – new and old.

  • avatar
    panzerfaust

    Pippa whats-her/his-name’s excruciatingly unamusing sketches, Franz Kafka’s garage, and now David E. Davis is back. Who needs any of this? I’d rather watch re-runs of Top Gear.

  • avatar
    aamj50

    The Jaguar review was particularly terrible. An extended cricket metaphor? In a car magazine? In America? Really?


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