By on July 7, 2009

There are many great reasons to be happy to be a Baby Boomer. We may be getting old but we misspent our youth in some great decades. We had the iconic cars and lots of drive-ins for a custom fit with an increasingly relaxed moral code. We only had AM radio, but it played some of the best music ever heard in a car. But mostly we (or at least I) had Tom McCahill.

Tom McCahill was a god to me; the guy who made me glad that I’d learned how to read. Tom appeared in my home every month as a feature writer and test pilot for Mechanix Illustrated. He drove every car like he just stole Don Corleone’s personal ride. Very little was off limits to Uncle Tom. He put test cars through a hellacious torture sessions, proving the engineering mettle of over 600 vehicles, over the course of several decades. And he lived to talk about it.

A lot of his test vehicles were only a few decades removed from Model T technology. A Tom McCahill hell-drive put these dinosaurs at the very edge of extinction. Or, in some Uncle Tom tests, over the abyss.

One of the funnier McCahill tests involved a 1966 Dodge Coronet 426 Hemi convertible. Uncle Tom coaxed the beast to 144 mph on an oval track. He pinned the car despite a promise to keep his foot out of the test. At the “pedal meets floorboard” pinnacle of his test flight, the Dodge’s fabric roof looked like a pup tent during prime time Katrina. McCahill’s only regret: the roof kept him from achieving even more insane speeds. The man had brass and balls in no particular order.

McCahill’s prose sparkled. In fact, he never met a metaphor or simile he didn’t like. The AC Cobra was “hairier than a Borneo gorilla in a raccoon suit.” The 1957 Pontiac’s ride quality was as “smooth as a prom queen’s thighs.” The ’59 Chrysler Imperial was “as loaded as an opium peddler during a tong war.” The ’57 Buicks handled “like a fat matron trying to get out of a slippery bathtub.” His writing style made him famous, but testing cars made him a decent living, and McCahill liked to live large.

One of my favorite McCahillisms: “idiot lights.” He used the term for Detroit’s cheap-ass replacement for gauges to show high water temperature and low oil pressure. A lot of them had plenty of both problems, and idiot lights usually came on shortly before the patient died.

The zero to sixty sprint was the most famous Tom McCahill automobile test feature. Some of the dogs he tested (not including his beloved Labrador) required an hourglass. We still measure performance by the McCahill meter.

Tom wrote during an era of big cars which became even bigger cars. I always liked his measurements for roominess, which included sticking his large hunting dogs or his trusty photographer in the trunk for a photo shoot.

His November 1959 MI preview of the 1960 cars illustrated his belief in the big boys, despite the birth of Big Three compacts in that model year. Uncle Tom felt that “America is basically a big car country with big car needs.” His personal favorites included a series of late 50s and early 60s Chrysler Imperials which presumably provided a few acres of room for Uncle Tom and the mutts.

Uncle Tom had an obvious affinity for Mopar, particularly in the torsion bar period, where Chrysler’s legendary letter cars moved muscle and mass with surprising agility for the era.

As a journalist, McCahill was a force to be reckoned with. After testing the first post-war Oldsmobile (the 1948 Futuramic 98), Uncle Tom said that hitting the gas pedal “was like stepping on a wet sponge.” Olds dealers were livid. History has it that McCahill’s review “inspired” Olds to fit the 88 with the legendary Rocket V-8 .

Eventually every Mechanix Illustrated came equipped with an added feature called “Mail for McCahill.” It was an information Q and A hosted by the always quotable Uncle Tom. Every now and then some bozo would poke the lion with a sharp stick with a cheap shot. The net result was always the same: Tom would take the guy apart, immortalizing his antagonist as another idiot run over by a fast moving McCahill one-liner.

As a car guy, Tom McCahill will always be my favorite non-related Uncle Tom. Detroit didn’t really love the guy, but they had to listen to him when he complained about handling and performance issues. Why? Because the man preached from a very big pulpit in car world. And we loved the sermons.

[Note: TTAC is now the only car site with both father and son writers (Paul and Edward Niedermeyer) and identical twin writers (Jim and Jerry Sutherland). For more of the latter’s work please visit]

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48 Comments on “Editorial: In Praise of . . . Tom McCahill...”

  • avatar

    I had forgotten… thanks for the memory jog.

    I got my Dad to spring for a subscription to MI when I was about 9, and the only reason I was interested was McCahill’s road tests.

  • avatar

    I was way young during the Tom era, but my first foray into autodom was with an old issue of MI in hand. While his crass style would never fly today, he fit the era that he was in perfectly. Much of my interest in cars started with his writing. Talk about flashback! I was 8 years old when I first read his words!! Keep this stuff coming!!

    Sad to see what happened to MI…when they lost Tom, the magazine became rudderless. A name change to “Home Mecnhanix” and articles on how to change your oil. A disgruntled reader wrote in “Congratulations…You’ve ruined the magazine that Tom made great.” MI, and all its permutations, now lie in the great magazine dumpster…

  • avatar

    I loved Uncle Tom’s tests. One of my favorite “McCahillisms” was saying a car (I think it was a Shelby GT 350, but my memory may be foggy) “sticks [to the road] like a leech on a shaved bulldog.”

    A bit more trivia: He was the first automotive journalist who actually road-tested cars for reviews and wrote his own findings. IIRC, the first two were a ’46 Ford and a ’46 Plymouth (reprinted in an anniversary edition of Mechanix Illustrated some years later). Both were tested without the manufacturer’s knowledge, which created quite a stink. Prior to that, magazines and newspapers just published whatever the manufacturers gave them.

    Hmmm… seems we’ve come full circle, doesn’t it?

  • avatar

    Great read! I always loved Tom’s reviews and his sense of humor. I recall a woman from Michigan wrote him and stated she had a neighbor that looked just like him. He replied “Yep…Dad sure got around on that motorcycle”. Tom’s unique style and drive like you stole it road tests will be missed…

  • avatar

    You’re right, Tom’s metaphors and similies were priceless during an age free of political correctness, and he definitely had an affinity for Chrysler’s torsion bar suspensions. One of my favorite comments about “Torsion-Air” was made during a filmed comparison of 1958 cars: “…corners as flat as a bookkeeper’s chest.” This film used to be on YouTube, but alas, it seems to be no longer available.

  • avatar

    Cudos on the Uncle Tom piece. I too was about 8 or 9 when I became a car guy. The combination of Tom and my cousin who was 8 years really burnt out. Still not a collector nor even a buyer of exotica on 4 wheels all the same I just love the experience of reading, admiring and dreaming of things automobilia. I still spend the odd Sunday prowling dealerships stalking and lusting after my passion of the day. (Currently Lexi)

    Uncle Tom and his trunk tests started it all.

  • avatar

    Also memorable were his descriptions of the color of the Cobra as “black as the inside of a pony,” and the Corvette Stingray’s ability to “corner like a snake in a gopher hole.” He couldn’t get any dogs in their trunks, though…

  • avatar
    Daniel J. Stern

    How ’bout that, I didn’t know idiot light was a McCahill coinage, but it stands to reason. Not long ago I read his test of the Tucker, written at the height of GM’s propaganda-and-lawsuit war on Preston Tucker.

  • avatar

    I had no clue who this McCahill person was until older folks on the GM fanboi forums said my reviews were like his. They weren’t trying to praise me, but I certainly took it that way. And that’s an understatement. WIN.

  • avatar
    Daniel J. Stern


    It’s not gone, it’s right here. The “corners flat as a bookkeeper’s chest” remark is at 9:18.

  • avatar

    I too enjoyed reading his reviews.

    One of my favorite McCahill-isms about a 60’s Cadillac.
    “rolled like a Dixie cup in a typhoon”

    McCahill was very fond of the Imperial and practiced what he preached by using them for his personal car.

    And that photo was probably not staged. McCahill hunted, fished, and had dogs.

  • avatar
    Cerbera LM

    Some of Tom McCahill’s reviews are posted at the Modern Mechanix blog.

  • avatar

    RIP Mr. McCahill. Like you, I treasured his road tests and laughed through his outrageous similes. He seemed to pretty much call them as he saw them and no one around today reminds me so much of him as Dan Neil with the LA Times. Neil is even more elegant in his use of words, but has shown himself to be absolutely fearless when blasting a car and is quite creative with the comparisons.

  • avatar

    While his crass style would never fly today, he fit the era that he was in perfectly.

    It seems to work well here.

  • avatar

    I also have very fond memories of “Uncle Tom McCahill” and pretty well went out of my way to dig out my dad’s old Mechanix Illustrated magazines from the basement just to read his words, back when I was a kid. I also bought every issue, then started looking for the missing decade in old book stores, antique shops, etc.

    He seemed to love Lincolns in the early 1950’s then once the torison bar era at Chrysler came along, he took to them like a Labrador to water…

    I’ll never forget some of the hilarity of reading his wit and ability to tear pounds of flesh off of the automotive companies and engineers.

    One time, when he was testing a 1967 Ford Torino with a big stonking FE block 390 at the Ford testing grounds (obviously before the car was introduced to the public), he requested that he be allowed to drive the car alone to get accurate performance numbers and the minder refused.

    He commented in the story about the car that the performance numbers were suspect “because Ford engineers run to fat”. Heh heh. Makes me smile just thinking about it…

  • avatar
    Martin Schwoerer

    This is swell, thanks!

    As a kid, I happened to be more of a Popular Science reader, due to my ignorance and also because that’s all there was to be found at the public library. So I say: bring on the Smokey Yunick Editorial, please praise Norbye & Dunne!

  • avatar
    Paul Niedermeyer

    I have had a draft of an editorial about Uncle Tom for over a year, but I’m glad you beat me to it. As ruthless as he could be, he was also on the Chrysler payroll for years, and made some memorable movie shorts of comparing luxury cars in the desert, showing the Chrysler’s superiority (they’re on You Tube). So he not only pioneered testing and independent reviews, he also did the first pimpatorials too. Ahead of his time indeed. And he made quite a good living out of it all.

  • avatar
    Daniel J. Stern

    @Martin Schwoerer: praise Norbye & Dunne

    …Or not. For my taste they were far too often far too full of poo to merit praise much beyond “they were certainly very prolific auto writers”. I’m not talking about opinions; everyone’s got one of those (at least) and as long as it’s reasonably informed and justifiable, s/he’s entitled to it. But N&D frequently held forth with baseless opinions, made-up factoids, and sloppy fact-checking, none of which merit any praise.

  • avatar
    Billy Bobb 2

    Cerbera LM…great link. Thank You.

  • avatar

    My buddies dad had a massive collection of old MI’s. It was like a library he would let us take three of them home,but we had to bring them back.

    As a boomer we did have it all,we just didn’t know it.

  • avatar
    Paul Niedermeyer

    Here’s an Edsel “test” (he was paid for it by Ford):

    A real period piece. But I can’t find the 1957 comparison of luxury cars; some pretty amazing footage.

  • avatar

    Love the Edsel test. Thanks Paul

  • avatar

    If he’s the fat dude in the Chrysler ad he’s a blowhard and a corporate shill.

    • 0 avatar

      Read his articles, Gunit, and you will get a far better idea of who Tom McCahill was. I have read 99.9% of his stuff and know for a fact he would never lend his name out to anything without believing in the product. He respected Chrysler products beginning in ’57 because they introduced suspension systems that rivaled anything being produced. For years he campaigned for better suspension/handling from American cars and Chrysler stepped up to the plate. Read my comments to argentla 3 spaces below your comment.


  • avatar

    Get this! Just pulled off the shelf “Tom McCahill’s Car Owner Handbook”—a 75-cent Fawcett ‘How-to-Book’—#310–Second Printing, 1957 that I bought in ’57 right after acquiring my first (used) car. I must have read and reread it a gazillion times, not only for its myriad insights and advice, but also for ‘Uncle’ Tom’s colourful linguistic witticisms.
    Re: ‘Testing Your Car’ on page 38 we see T.M. with his friend Jim McMichael laying out a half-mile test course in Florida—using a tape measure no less. In the background is a Studebaker Hawk. Other advice on the same subject: “An abandoned airport strip is a wonderful place for testing, so are empty parking lots.”
    On the subject of “What Does Your Guarantee Mean? T.M. “sez”—“Read it all, three times. The dealer knows it by heart and you two may have deep discussions.”
    Here’s another tip: “Light crankcase oil and barefooted drivers make company tests real good.”
    As a bonus to the reader, the book is laced with Tom’s way-with-words such as “—more guts than a mother gorilla.” or “Today every driver in America, especially those who live in our crowded centres, is living the life of a clay pigeon in a National Championship Shoot-off.”
    In the preface he states candidly: “—if you paid fifty dollars a copy (for this book) I still couldn’t have written a better one.”

    Wonderful stuff, and thanks for the initial posting.

  • avatar

    Some British magazines did road tests in the 30s — although they were more polite than modern British magazines — so Uncle Tom wasn’t entirely without precedent.

    I’ve always found McCahill too corny for my tastes, but if you compare his contemporaries, his appeal is pretty clear. He was kind of the poor man’s Ken Purdy. (Ken W. Purdy, author of The Kings of the Road and many other books, was the flowery dean of automotive writers, and a strong influence on an entire generation them.)

    My favorite testers were those of Car Life in the sixties. Car Life was founded by the publisher of Road & Track, as I recall, to talk about the domestic cars R&T normally disdained. In the fifties, it was a thoroughly ordinary Motor Trend knockoff, but in the sixties, John R. Bond and Roger Huntington made it perhaps the most lucid of the American magazines — technically savvy, unmoved by PR hype, and with a dry sense of humor that would fit well into the heyday of CAR or other snotty British magazines. It was not as irreverent or audacious as Car and Driver, but it also resisted David E. Davis’s flair for self-serving hyperbole. Sadly, Car Life didn’t sell, and it perished around 1970.

    • 0 avatar

      Good afternoon argentla. I read with interest your comments regarding some noteworthy automotive editors of the past, particularly in regards to Tom McCahill. He didn’t have to rely on elegant diction to get his point across. He wrote his impressions as he saw them and just happened to use humor to great effect. How many magazines today have one writer who carries the entire magazine? Once McCahill died, MECHANIX ILLUSTRATED diminished (albeit a slow death). This”poor mans Ken Purdy”, in no small way, was responsible for the safer handling, better performing automobiles we have today. He campaigned for improvements in automobiles,(among other things),several times in his nearly 30 years with MECHANIX ILLUSTRATED. He wrote numerous articles outlining safe driving techniques(he was an accomplished driver, having logged literally millions of miles of experience behind the wheel), and worked closely with racing teams, sanctioned and otherwise. He was also on a first name basis with the top mechanics of the day in both the U.S. and Europe. He wrote articles that were aids to long distance travelers(tips on accommodations, car maintenance etc.), shady, small town police practices, utilization of 0-60 and 1/4 mile test measurements and many, many more. By the way, the word “roadability”, was first coined by Tom McCahill. He knew everybody who was anybody in the auto world and let them know his thoughts and ideas, not only in his screeds, but in personal, face to face meetings with executives etc. You are entitled to your opinion, argentla, but keep an open mind and READ McCahills’ work,(I’ve read all except 2 issues. He wrote from Feb.46-75), or re-read them, whatever the case may be. His style may not be your “cup of tea”, but you cannot deny the impact he had on millions of readers. Tom McCahill was the true “dean” of automotive journalists who would rather get things done than simply rely on “flowery” prose. He accomplished!

      But you perplex me, argentla. You find McCahill and his contemporaries of the time gauche,yet you googled his name. How many other “corny” writers do you not respect? Your haughty tone seems to be better suited to “ROAD &TRACK”, and I can’t think of anything any of their editors is writing today that will be discussed with fond memories 50 years from now.


    • 0 avatar

      Please don’t take my comments too personally, argenta. Sometimes my sarcasm can get away from me when I feel personal about something. It’s just that McCahill doesn’t get the credit he deserves. I can’t tell from your photo whether you are a man or a woman, but regardless, you’re knowledge of these writers/magazines is very impressive. Being the car geek that I am, I usually have to explain to people my vague references to long defunct magazines which I sometimes refer to in my collection. Not just car magazines either, but LIFE, TIME, LOOK etc. etc. etc.

      I fully agree with your assessment of CAR LIFE. They never had any personal agendas and gave the good, the bad, and the ugly lowdown on all of the cars they tested. I always felt that MOTOR TREND, specifically in the early to mid 60s, was somewhat soft-handed when it came to reporting the negatives of several cars. And the “CAR OF THE YEAR” issue was always inundated with the winning cars advertisements, hmmmm. But they always had plenty of great pictures!

      No hard feelings

      bye bye

  • avatar

    That brings back memories. I was a devoted reader, too.

    Tom tested some spectacular cars in addition to the mundane Detroit stuff. Two of them were the original 260 inch Cobra and the Lotus Elan. I remember his comment that few drivers had the skills to properly appreciate the Elan’s handling.

    A GTO owner wrote to him asking why Pontiac would put a $5 jack in a $4,000 car. (Remember, this was the ’60s.) Tom replied that they must have run out of $2 ones.

    Another reader asked what would happen if a full-size ’60s sedan, with 6 passengers, going 60 mph, hit a cow square on. Tom replied that it would total the car and kill all the passengers. Then, as an afterthought, “Be tough on the cow, too.”

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    Good memories of good times.

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    I thought the Rocket V8 came out in 1954.

  • avatar

    die boomer scum.

  • avatar

    The comparison of 1958 Mopars with their Ford and GM counterparts is quite interesting. Tom McCahill narrates the video.

    The video compares that year’s Chrysler and Imperial with their GM and Ford competition (thus, no Plymouths, Dodges or DeSotos).

    If you enter “Comparison of 1958 cars” into the search feature, the video segments (the video is divided into three parts) should come up.

    I recall reading one story about Tom McCahill – a new car was dropped off at his Florida home for him to review. When the car was collected, it turned out that it hadn’t been moved the entire time it was at his house. But his review was written and ready to be published!

  • avatar
    Paul Niedermeyer

    Here’s the ’58 comparo link; great stuff; highly recommend it!

    And part 2:

    About 10 minutes each, but worth every vintage second (wasted) watching it.

    The Mopars would be my choice too in ’58, but this is so not credible; given all the variables and driving techniques when you’re getting paid to make one car look better than the other.

  • avatar

    Those Mopars look good…until we realize that they would have rusted and fallen apart much faster than their Ford and GM competition.

  • avatar

    Thanks for bringing back some wonderful memories. I was just 16 years old in 1957. Uncle Tom McCahill is one of my all time favorite car testers.

    These ‘paraphrases’ of familiar sayings by Uncle Tom are from memory, so if they don’t hold together, blame me not Tom. :)

    The early bird catches pneumonia.

    A penny saved is a penny saved.

    Early to bed and early to rise and you won’t meet anyone I know.

    Frank B

  • avatar

    I used to love Uncle Tom. As a middle-schooler around 1970 I used to go to the library and read microfilms of Mechanix Illustrated to see his reviews of older cars. He really did have a preference for Mopar and was politically incorrect even for then.

    I also read Popular Science and remember the Norbye and Dunne reviews and Smokey Yunick’s repair advice, but Uncle Tom was my favorite.

  • avatar

    I enjoyed the video.
    One small problem.
    The Windsor weighed 200 to 600 lbs less than the competition.
    All of them Fat Ladies on Parade.

  • avatar

    Great to be reminded of this! It was a different world back then, but McCahill was always worth reading, and often prompted a chuckle. It must be at least three decades since I last thought of him.

  • avatar

    Is my memory correct regarding MI… included in articles about vehicles was a small list of the price of various replacement parts such as an alternator, water pump, etc.

    One of those 60’s mags did it.

    Can’t remember if McCahill had that info in his reviews.

  • avatar

    In my opinion in the 1950s Wilbur Shaw in Popular Science had the most informative car tests, Floyd Clymer in Popular Mechanics was also very good, but Uncle Tom was by far the most entertaining to read, he certainly had his way with words. As a pipe-smoker, he was asked in a letter if he thought that smoking is dangerous, his answer was: “That depends on what is smoking. If it is a stick of dynamite, then yes, it is very dangerous to your health!”

  • avatar

    @geeber: Those Mopars look good…until we realize that they would have rusted and fallen apart much faster than their Ford and GM competition.

    Very true…in 1958, Chrysler was practically forced by the government to purchase a quantity of imported steel, as part of a trade agreement with a small Asian country. Unfortunately, this steel was far inferior to what was produced in the U.S. at the time.

    Oh, and the name of that small Asian country? It was Japan.

  • avatar

    There was a steel shortage in the late 1950’s, I recall reading about it, but I don’t think it was until 1959. The 1957 Chrysler products could practially be “heard” rusting (much like 1970’s Fiats).

    I actually doubt that the gummint would have directly “forced” any company to buy anyting from anywhere back in the 1950’s unless it related directly to a military vehicle contract (I know that when Studebaker-Packard were “given” a contract for 2 1/2 ton Studebaker trucks, they were forced by contract to purchase Reo engines for said trucks instead of casting/manufacturing them in-house, which they still had the capabilities to do at the time).

    Put another way, we’ve fallen a long way since the 1950’s. I COULD see the current government forcing a company to buy steel from somewhere in particular nowadays… especially since the imbeciles in DC now control GM and Chrysler through partial nationalization.

    Who would have thought even 10 years ago that US automakers would be owned and run by socialists in Washington DC while the Russian Lada car company would be owned by private industry?! Not I.

  • avatar

    I found the quote. The steel shortage wasn’t until the last quarter of 1959. The quote is in the “Cars of the Fabulous ’59’s” on page 391, the 1959 Imperial page.

    “Had it not been for the steel scarcity, we would have had the best fourth quarter in Imperial history.” Chrysler and Imperial general manager C.E. Briggs, December 1959.

    I have to wonder about whether Chrysler did have any “japanese steel” in 1957 or 1958 cars, and I doubt it. Mostly because I recall reading Nissan’s history in which it was noted that even through the early 1960’s, Japanese steel mills really were not rolling sufficiently thin steel for auto production; it was actually TOO THICK and heavy for car use but they had to use it anyway. It made the cars too heavy and sluggish, not rust-prone.

    Perhaps the better reasoning for Chrysler’s 1957 and 1958 “quality fiasco” was the fact that the all-new, super-low 1957 cars were rushed into production – and that all US produced cars had abysmal production quality control in this era, as well as virtually no rustproofing.

    Seems to me that had Chrysler bought Japanese steel in 1957 and 1958, the cars would have actually been BETTER than they were in reality.

  • avatar

    BuzzDog and menno,

    The 1957 Mopars were rushed into production, and, as a result, panel fit and body integrity were terrible. The windshields and rear windows, in particular, leaked. Much of this water found its way into various nooks and crannies, which meant that rust would appear within a year or two after purchase. Chrysler also cut corners in body construction – the front fender peaks on those sleek new Plymouths, for example, had no protection, so mud and dirt would accumulate, hold water and cause rust.

    Chrysler never really corrected these problems. Instead of making sure that the windows didn’t leak, the corporation installed a complicated series of rubber tubes that were supposed to funnel the water away from the interior to a metal tray. Unfortunately, the tubes became clogged or deteriorated.

    Chrysler plants were also poorly managed. At a car show, the proud owner of a 1957 Dodge Coronet told of speaking to a man who toured a Chrysler plant when the 1957 models were being built. He noticed a worker who was supposed to be applying undercoating to the cars.

    The worker was waving the machine wand under each car as it came down the assembly line, but no undercoating was coming out of the machine! When asked about this, the worker replied that the union contract required him to make 12 sweeps per car with the undercoating machine. If there wasn’t any undercoating material in the machine, that wasn’t his problem!

    I don’t know about Japanese steel, but the bottom line is that the 1957 Mopars were rushed to market, corners were cut to save money, and quality control in the plants was very lax…all of which resulted in a quality disaster that sent Chrysler sales into a nosedive for years.

    GM cars were built like a Lexus compared to a Chrysler product…and it showed in the used car market. By 1961, a 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air was worth twice as much as a comparable 1957 Plymouth Belvedere!

  • avatar

    Love the McCahill comparo tests of ’58 cars.

    Even though their objectivity is seriously in question, I can believe the way the Buick, Olds and Caddie wallowed and bounced, as did Lincoln. Fat ladies on parade, indeed! I laughed out loud seeing the Cadillac’s rear door and trunk lid pop open on the rough road test. It wouldn’t have passed back in the 20’s, when cars were driven across plowed fields to see if the doors would stay shut.

  • avatar


    I laughed at that one, too.

    But I have a very hard time believing that ANY Chrysler product built in 1957-58 had a stronger, more robust body than a competitive GM product. Something is fishy about that test.

  • avatar
    G. O. Mann

    Notwithstanding Uncle Tom’s personal biases, he certainly entertained and informed me back in those days. I agree that Norbye and Dunn, Clymer, Shaw, et al. provided good solid information, but for a kid who wouldn’t own a new car in his lifetime, Uncle Tom was the man for me. His background information shaped my ideas of why things were as they were in the automotive industry in a way none of the other writers did. As I grew into adulthood, the truth of what he said became more and more apparrent, especially in the bloated era in the mid-sixties just before the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. I owe a good amount of my automotive cynicism to him, as well as my high regard for import (especially Oriental) engineering expertise and quality control. Mechanix Illustrated had nothing on Popular Science, Popular Mechanics, or Science and Mechanix (mostly) except that MI had Tom McCahill. When he was gone, not even Denise McCluggage (ugh) could pick up the baton. Oh for the good old days!

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