Stephan Wilkinson: Car and Driver Sinks to a New Low
When I was at Car and Driver and for a long time thereafter, the label 'Preview' was applied solely to quasi-road tests that involved driving a preproduction car, driving a car that we weren't allowed to instrument and test, sneaking into a mule, or some other actual experience in an existing vehicle. (The "You can drive it but you can't instrument it" situation was probably the most common one. The last Preview I ever wrote described the original Maybach; I put 400 miles on the beast.) And now, only a few paragraphs into C/D's current cover story on the new Cadillac CTS-V ("Cadillac's 550-hp M5 Beater") we learn that the buff book's "months away from a first drive" of the supposed Bimmer beater. It's a blatant admission that the piece is a rewritten press release. The CTS-V, they say, "should be worth the price of admission." How on earth does Tony Swan know that? And then there's Steve Smith's column on Carroll Shelby's legal hysteria. Who owns a computer, even a TRS-80, and didn't already know all that shit two months ago? I'm stunned by how far C/D has sunk.
Nice to see you posting to TTAC, Stephan. I thought I was getting a decent value paying $5. Guess not. Anyway, it's hard for me to cancel my C&D sub, since I've had it since 1983. Still have all of those old issues--the ones from the 1980s are so much better than today's. But would I start a new sub now? Highly unlikely. As soon as a saw the redesign, I posted on C&D's forum. Many other people chimed in to say that I wasn't just an old crank overly used to the old style, that the new design was that bad. And they arrogantly responded that they didn't care what we thought about it, they were keeping it. Even the redesign isn't as bad as the increasing emphasis on special advertising sections (with the C&D logo on them), the manufacturer-sponsored video road tests, and so forth. The publisher seems to put the most effort into developing new ways to sell out.
I became a car nut at a very young age when I picked up a Car & Driver in the waiting room of the hospital where my dad was a patient. Nobody else in my family was interested in cars. But at age 10, I was hooked. I became a subscriber to C&D and R&T ... I had to "buy a check" from my mom by giving her cash in return for a check to mail in. But, I don't bother with them anymore. The interesting stories, the great writers ... they are gone. RIP C&D/R&T/MT.
My 35 year old CD subscription will lapse in a couple months. I will not miss it. They went from the penthouse to the shithouse in about a year. I've been waiting for the end of my subscription for a while.
Hey Michael: any chance you want to dust off the C&D that had a review of the Yugo? I think BY may have written it. Regardless, it was the funniest car review I've ever read, at least in my head. It would be interesting to have another read and see if it holds up.