By on May 30, 2010

In the basement are boxes of historic newspapers and old car magazines that I’ve saved since the late 1960s. The oldest items date to the Detroit Tigers’ 1968 World Series victory and the Armstrong/Aldrin moon landing the following year. The automotive publications are mostly from the early 1970s through the late 1980s, primarily Road & Track and Car and Driver from the US and CAR from the UK, plus a few odds and ends.

While looking for the newspapers on the moon landing I came across the November 1969 issue of Sports Car Graphic. SCG’s content was aimed more at the string-back glove set and road racing fans than Robert Peteresen’s other titles like Hot Rod & Motor Trend. I guess SCG was staking out a niche between C&D and Autoweek. I believe that TTAC contributor, Stephan Wilkinson was an editor at Sports Car Graphic during the 1970s so perhaps he can give us some historical background on the publication.

Picking up and reading a 40 year old car magazine evokes a range of thoughts and feelings. The physical object is both an artifact as well as historical source material. Certainly there’s a sense of nostalgia, as well as curiosity to look at the table of contents for cool cars. You read an old magazine differently than you’d read one that came through your mail chute today. If you still subscribe to C&D or R&T, you flip past the TireRack ads as fast as you can. With an old magazine you savor even the advertising copy, wondering if IECO still makes Corvair parts or even exists. Thinking Francophonically, there is an enduring sense not of déjà vu but rather of plus que change.

The cover reflects the perpetual dilemma faced by editors and publishers, trying to have broad interest without offending the hard core of enthusiasts: muscle or finesse, domestic or foreign, appliance or enthusiast? At the top of the cover is “New Volkswagen-Porsche Sports Car” with a photo of the 914, and below the title is ’70 Dodge Challenger Road Test. It would be hard to find two cars more different than the 914 with a glorified Beetle engine and the 440 Magnum powered Challenger. In the letters to the editor, one reader complained, “I… watched in horror as you succumbed to the onslaught of the pseudo sports car hordes… Leave the ponycars for the straight line drag boys and bring back the MGs, Triumphs, Jaguars, Healeys, etc.”

The issue also has a test of the Rover 3500S with the Buick/Rover aluminum V8. It’s interesting that the “pseudo sports car” Challenger, carrying around that cast iron big block V8 over the front wheels, actually cornered flatter and faster than the aluminum engined Rover, 0.68g on the skid pad vs. 0.65, with significantly less understeer and body roll.

In hindsight we know that the Porsche faithful did not exactly embrace the 914 (the 914/6 was so rare in the US that it practically didn’t exist), but the feature article on the 914s introduction didn’t even consider that as a possibility. SGC’s view of the car, though, was mixed. It was seen as an improvement over the “underpowered, overpriced, sheep in wolfskin” four cylinder 912, but the 914’s nondescript styling was considered “a pleasant eyesore” and compared to “lavishly equipped shoebox”.

The article also reveals a forgotten historical fact – the 914 was introduced as part of VW’s newly formed Porsche-Audi Division, just then about to introduce the Audi 100LS, which was pretty much the start of Audi as a serious player in the US.

The first one of those the-more-things-change moments occurred while going through the monthly columns. Bob Thomas’ column described General Motors committing a PR blunder by insisting (remember, this was 1969) that the worst part of the automotive smog problem was “behind us”. With a few edits, the column could have been published a few times over the past 40 years, though today the reference would more likely be to CARB making the car companies and other Americans dance to their tune, rather than Los Angeles Air Pollution Control District. For what it’s worth, GM was probably correct in terms of photochemical smog, as early crankcase and tailpipe emissions controls had already started reducing the amount of hydrocarbons released. We forget just how much stuff vaporized off of a car before even simple things like PCV valves and contained fuel systems were implemented. A modern Mustang emits few hydrocarbons while driving than a vintage ‘Stang does just sitting there shut off. In any case, GM’s public relations ineptitude is not just a modern phenomenon.

What also is timeless is auto show coverage. Lots of new production and concept cars and pretty pictures. In this case it was the Frankfurt Auto Show, whose star was the great Mercedes-Benz C111 in all of its three rotor Wankel powered record setting glory. If you ask me, there’s a little bit of C111 in a lot of supercars.

In terms of automotive writing, this issue contains some gems. Esteemed automotive writer Karl Ludvigsen chronicled what were some of the final days of the BRM F1 team. The incomparable LJK Setright not only explains how turbocharging and supercharging work but also points out how the logical development of recovering exhaust energy is eliminating the piston engine entirely, i.e. build a turbine. I’m not much of a fan of off-road racing, so I almost missed “Survive Baja’s True Grit” until I noticed it was written by some guy named Bob Bondurant.

One of SGC’s selling features was motorsports coverage and the late 60s was a golden era for auto racing. Jackie Stewart’s win at Monza securing his first F1 driver’s championship was featured. Starting on the grid with Stewart were drivers named Hulme, McLaren, Surtees, Brabham and Hill. The magazine is filled with legendary race drivers in the prime of their careers. Mark Donohue makes an appearance in an ad using a Sears DieHard battery in the Indy 500. Other drivers still then in active competition mentioned in the issue are Peter Revson, David Hobbs, Sam Posey, Parnelli Jones and Dan Gurney. The magazine is an embarrassment of riches in terms of legendary drivers.

Legendary drivers and legendary cars. Can Am may still be the wildest racing series ever, with virtually unlimited restraints on vehicle design. It was Can Am that gave us aerodynamic (literally) Chaparrals with slushboxes, wings (moveable and fixed) and big block Chevys. This issue of Sports Car Graphic covers two of the Can Am races in 1969, at two of America’s great road courses, Mid Ohio and Road America. Both races were dominated by Bruce McLaren and Denny Hulme in their orange M8Bs McLarens, with Hulme winning in Ohio and McLaren winning in Wisconsin, swapping the top two podium spots. Along with the McLarens were other iconic race cars like the Lola T70, Porsche 908 and Jim Hall’s radical streamlined Chaparral 2H. John Surtees, who drove the 2H, and never got comfortable with it, said that it was more suited for high speed European tracks like LeMans, than the Can Am series’ tracks. The fact that McLaren, Hulme and Surtees drove in both F1 and CanAm shows how specialized driving has become today. Back then, if you were offered a competitive ride, you took it. F1 drivers raced in CanAm while greats like Gurney and Jones had rides in TransAm.

Along with the featured articles the magazine has smaller sections for late breaking (by mid 20th century monthly magazine standards) competition and industry news. One item that caught my eye was datelined Pennsylvania, where Malcolm Bricklin had set up shop importing Subarus. Subaru was still selling “the most dangerous car” in America, the 360, but they had just introduced the Star, which had front wheel drive powered by a water cooled horizontally opposed 4 cyl, the layout that provided the basis for Subarus growth over the next 40 years.

So that’s the content. Well, not all of it. I still haven’t told you about the ads. As cool as the editorial content is, old advertisements have their own appeal. The first two ads you see are for the 1970 Chevelle SS 396 on one page, and for Torq Thrust wheels from American Racing Equipment and you know you are back in the muscle car era. Alfa Romeo brags that they can’t get enough 1750 GT Veloces to meet demand and STP is “New car insurance only $1.35”. As expected, there are ads from oil and spark plug companies. Shell’s ad features the Chaparral. Among his innovations, Jim Hall was one of the first team owners to recognize the value of corporate sponsorship. Quaker State saluted Bob Tullius and Group 44. Lucas advertised those classic squared quartz halogen fog lamps, popularized by the Shelby Mustangs.

Not only was it the golden age of muscle cars, it was also a time when kit cars became popular. There are ads for the Empi Imp dune buggy along with a full page spread of The Girls of Fiberfab, featuring their clerical staff dressed up in hip purple clothes with fringes hanging around an Avenger or Valkyrie.

Lot’s of performance parts. One small ad offers Weber carb conversions for your VW Bug and another is selling the same (well, with more carbs) for the Jaguar XKE. You had your choice of camshafts from Crower, Crain or Isky. MG Mitten is no longer in business, but their original supplier, Covercraft will gladly still sell you a cover for your TC from the original patterns. An official Datsun racing jacket was only $19.95, unofficial Ford & Chevy jackets, $9.95. There are ads for companies like IECO and Crown, who made performance accessories that are still desired by Corvair and VW Bug collectors, plus at least a couple of small ads from companies building the then new Formula Ford racer.

Air horns. Back then every company that sold stuff to sports car guys sold air horns. In this case, Continental of Santa Monica was selling Italian air horns with three chrome trumpets for $34.95, two trumpets five dollars cheaper. Wood rim steering wheels were $55.00. I think the steering wheels have held their value better than air horns. Autobooks had an ad, but mostly for technical and repair manuals, not coffee table books. Panasonic has an ad for a portable cassette player, but 8-tracks were your thing, you could join the Stereo Tape Club of America and get a free tape player if you enrolled and bought only 6 tapes @ $6.98 each.

As one would expect in a “sports car” magazine of the era, many of the ads are for foreign cars. Along with Alfa Romeo, there are full page ads from Volvo, Fiat (124 Spider – $3240 p.o.e. NY), and Peugeot (504). Buoyed by the reception to the 1600 and 2002, BMW was introducing the 2500/2800 models to America with what would come to be recognized as one of the great inline sixes.

Much as they may have offended the sports car purists then, two of the ads draw particular interest today because they are for fairly rare muscle cars. There’s a full page color ad for the 1970 American Motors AMX, featuring their new 360ci V8, with 65 more ponies for the littlest pony car that could. Also in full color is the center spread for the GS455 Buick, perhaps the rarest of the A-body muscle cars, in Stage I form, with 360 HP, dual exhausts and positraction. You could still order it with a four-speed, most likely one of the last Buicks with a clutch. For real oldtimers, the ad even has the Body By Fisher logo too.

On just about every page, there is something that is sure to delight a car enthusiast. One ad, though, pretty much sums up what cool about old car magazines. In the front of the magazine, in a sidebar ad next to one of the monthly columns is an ad titled “Yenko’s Best Sellers!” from Yenko Chevrolet in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania. Yeah, that Yenko. Don Yenko knew a thing or two about promotion. This ad gives some perspective on those who turn their noses up at “Yenko recreations”. Most of the items offered by Yenko were legitimate speed parts: cams, racing blocks, roll bars, velocity stacks, pistons, exhausts etc. Along with the go-fast stuff, though, you could also buy a “Yenko Stinger Kit” for the grand sum of $10.00. The Stinger “kit” included: Full-color “Stinger” T-shirt (size large); Stinger bumper sticker; “Stage III” decals; Tri-Color Stinger aluminum car emblem; Tri-Color YENKO metal car emblem; Matching YENKO Tri-Color jacket patch; Mini YENKO stick-ons; Birth of the Stinger (Corvair Comunique); Stinger Parts Manual, by Don Yenko; YENKO TUNED decal; Stinger pin – BE-A-SWINGER-IN-A-STINGER! In other words, the Stinger “kit” included everything you needed to make your Chevy into a Yenko Stinger except the go-fast parts. My guess is that when a recreated “Yenko” goes across the block at Barrett-Jackson or Russo-Steele, as long as his family is getting a cut, somewhere Don is smiling

So that wraps up our little trip into the past. If you enjoyed it, let Ed know and I’ll see what else I can dig up. What era should I look at next?

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33 Comments on “Magazine Memories: Sports Car Graphic, November 1969...”

  • avatar

    I really enjoyed reading SCG while it lasted. Their last issue had a picture of an old British sports car in a barn with the headline “Our Final Triumph”. Ted West used to write a very funny column as did Paul Van Valkenburgh. I got hooked on Can Am racing reading this publication.

    • 0 avatar

      I too loved SCG back in the 70s… held on to my collection for a long time but they disappeared, maybe that basement flood did them in can’t remember. Van Valkenburgh, Ted West were great writers and had a way with wit and satire. Remember off the wall road test with plenty of pithy commentary. I recall one where they test drove 2 Fiats in a ‘race’ on the streets where you couldn’t go faster than the speed limit… brilliant.
      Always hoping someone will PDF some or those old issues… anybody?

  • avatar

    A couple of years ago I bought a bunch of bound versions of Road & Track from the late 80s…It took me back to Jr. High. It seems like old magazines take us back to a time when we thought life had promise to be great.

  • avatar

    Fascinating stuff. Too bad I lost all my old magazines through multiple moves over the years.

    I’d like to see something from the late 70s, when I started reading car magazines. A review of a UK car mag from that era for comparison would be especially interesting.

  • avatar

    What strikes me when I dig out my late 60’s car mags is the amount text they have. (and less photos) Modern car mags have comparatively much less content. The writing is generally more literary as well compared to contemporary magazines. I don’t know if this is evidence of dumbing down of the general population, or an evolution towards a briefer flash bang pace fostered by the electronic media, or both.

    • 0 avatar

      I noticed that too, but a comment about the content/advertising ratio got edited out before the final draft.

      Time was you could savor a magazine. Read it at your leisure. Now you’re barely sitting down on the can and you’re already into the classifieds.

  • avatar
    Jerry Sutherland

    Automotive magazine trips down memory lane are a really good source of historical perspective-you can’t help but compare the overall philosophy that permeates these windows to the past to today’s world.
    I found a 50 year old Mechanix Illustrated and yes, the ads were as interesting as the text-the large exception of course,was the stuff written by the legendary Tom McCahill.

    • 0 avatar

      Hah! I loved this quote from that article:

      This old MI has page after page full of options-their ads pushed training in areas like locksmiths, mechanics and TV repair. Recession-proof jobs because that’s how things were in late 1958 America-you always had opportunities to improve in life, not bask in the warm glow of pity.

      Rose-colored glasses much? You’ve got to hand it to someone who can see a magazine stuffed with scam ads and see warm and fuzzy days of opportunity. I’ve spent quite a while looking at old Popular Mechanics and Popular Science mags on Google Books, and trust me, the only people doubling their income were the ones soaking credulous readers.

      Maybe in 50 years that mystarcollectorcar writer’s offspring will be ruing the loss of the early 2000s glory years, when anyone could get a leg up by being a mystery shopper, being a ‘Payment Processor’ resending cash via Western Union, or stuffing envelopes at home.

  • avatar

    Thank you for taking me back to my college days. At the time, I didn’t have a car, my personal motosport was limited to navigating in a dorm mate’s decambered and slightly massaged VW Beetle, and my transportation was whatever Raleigh was available at the bicycle shop where I worked (part-time).

    I always enjoyed Sports Car Graphic. It was Road and Track minus the elitism, Car and Driver minus the snark. Being your usual straightforward auto-junkie acid-head, I always preferred it to the other two – even if there was a bit too much of big block pony cars.

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    Thanks Ronnie. You are lucky, my mother pitched all that stuff.

    One question. My memory was that Car & Driver was a reboot of SCG. Am I completely delusional?

    • 0 avatar

      Car and Driver started out as Sports Car Illustrated. It was renamed Car and Driver in 1961 by Karl Ludvigsen. While writing the article I tried to get info on the history of Sports Car Graphic but there really isn’t much online, that’s why I was hoping Stephan would offer his capsule history of the publication.

  • avatar

    Scans! Scans! Scans! Scans!

    Give us scans!

  • avatar

    Thanks for the trip down memory lane. I had a Dad who wasn’t really a car freak, but indulged my freakdom to the extent of driving me around to dealers on new-model intro day to collect the catalogs that would keep me occupied for quite a while and going to the occasional race (the three Trenton Indy Car races every year, mostly).

    He also funded my subscription addiction to R&T, SCG, C/D, Car Life (the Bond equivalent of Motor Trend), and MT (only the greasers – mostly Italian in my South Jersey town – read Hot Rod). And that ended up being the order of my preference of the mags, reflecting my belief that sports cars and imports were cooler than domestic and the kind of upper class snobbishness of Bond was way cooler than the San Fernando Valley/Inland LA atmosphere of Petersen. C/D in those days was okay based on the contrariness of having a car mag headquartered on Park Ave and its New York wise ass atmosphere.

    My collection got culled numerous times because it threatened to overrun my bedroom and my Mom insisted (5 mags times 12 per year times the number of years all five were published, then the years when there were four, then three, added up to a lot of damned issues), then mysteriously vanished when I was away at college (along with my Lionel trains and my extensive Matchbox car collection – yes, I wish I had all three). So it’s fun hearing from someone who still has one of the issues I would have owned at one point in my life (this would have been fall of 10th grade for me).

  • avatar

    I can not recall if it was Penthouse or Playboy but in the letters to the editor section during the summer of 1975 (believe is was either June, July or August) a letter appeared with the origination given as “somewhere in the Pacific Ocean” or akin to that.

    Discussed was the loneliness of extensive at-sea periods aboard a USA warship and how one method to alleviate the monotony was dressing up our pillows in dainty feminine lingerie.

    The captain of the ship was able to identify through various “clues” that it was our ship being described. For the record it was a made-up story.

    He ranted and raved and ordered an investigation for the culprits (a couple guys in my division, the anti-submarine folks of the ship).

    Of course, the “offenders” were never outed.

    But, we were mighty proud of that letter appearing.

    And many of us did look at our pillows a wee bit differently afterwards. Just glances, though. Never did hear any gooey sentiments vocalized or extensive hugging of pillows.

    Take a peek if you have any old issues of those mags from the summer of ’75. Might be good for a giggle.

  • avatar

    Old mags are the best mags! After several decades, they really show their age. From the literary style (lots of words) to the typography to the paper they’re printed on, they say much more now than the day they were published. Whenever I find certain vintage magazines, it’s a treasure. There was a box of old “Trains” magazines from the fifties and sixties, when the industry was gigantic, but shrinking. Old photography magazines from the 50s-80’s pull my chain, too, when I find some.

    One good online source I know is, for even older samples of mid-Twentieth Century futurism.

    Sometimes a few of the “Popular…” titles come my way, like old post-WWII Popular Mechanics. Leafing through them, I’m astonished by the high level of craftsmanship they assume of their readers, especially the few who took on their various jigsawn and filigreed wood shop projects. It was a time when science experiments in bidding fields like radar and astrophysics would be described in impressive detail, making the science seem almost comprehensible to they layman. And we fixed things, because “mending was better than ending”. I tip my hat to those times.

    As for car mags, there’s a shop in town that had stacks of “Car” from the ’80s and ’90s, with columns by the likes of the many-initialed Setright and the now-more-famous James May (who was lambasting slower drivers, back in that day). I try to limit myself to no more than $10 a visit. Wonder if they have and Sports Car Graphics?

  • avatar
    John Horner

    It just goes to show you how lame today’s auto rags are. The same thing has happened to newspapers, by the way. Years of cost cutting have ripped so much content out that they are hardly worth spending time on any more.

  • avatar

    I still have my C&Ds, R&Ts, and such dating back from the early 70s.

    Anytime I want a good example of how they were nothing more than paid shills for their advertisers, I just read one, knowing what I know now.

    Good riddance to bad rubbish.

  • avatar

    Interesting article–I have some old issues of Life magazine from the early 60’s and it’s fun to leaf through them periodically, especially for the advertising which offer a fascinating window to the era. My favorite automobile magazine of that era was Car Life-it was a sister publication of Road & Track dealing primarily with domestic automobiles. It didn’t have the elitism of Road & Track or the irreverence of Car & Driver; unfortunately it ceased publication in 1971 because of declining circulation. Maybe I’m looking at the past through rose colored glasses, but I seem to remeber that the articles were longer, the writing better and there was much less advertising.

  • avatar

    Thanks for the trip down memory lane. Back in the late ’60’s SCG along with the weekly Competition Press was the lifeblood of sports car (i.e. Euro-car) nuts. Absent the Internet and coverage on TV, their reporting was as fresh as it was well written. Eventually CP merged with Autoweek and SCG merged with C&D, but it was fun while it lasted. Sigh.

    Good catch on the multi-faceted nature of drivers “back in the day” versus today’s dominant one-trick pony model. That was probably easier to pull off when racing was more of a semi-pro venture financed by well heeled patrons who were car nuts themselves as opposed to the big money corporate deals needed today.

  • avatar

    Car Life was sucked up by Motor Trend and Sports Car Graphic folded in with MT as well.

    Thanks for the great article. I still have most of my old car rags. I bought my first MT in 1967, the one with the Firebird on the cover,when I was just a kid. I found a bunch from the 50s at a used book store that I scooped up at the rate of 4 for a $1.00 and still have them.

    My little brother found a 50th anniversary Popular Mechanics for my birthday. From January 1952.It is as you say: more than just an old magazine. They’re mini time capsules.

    Still wondering what happened to Road Test magazine, which started out as a Consumer Reports type magaize in the mid 60s then started taking advertising, threw in with the APO Vapor Injector, lauding the device’s so called “advantages” through their independent “tests” and followed every detail of the rotary engine. It seemed to hurt their credibility as their editorial raves were more like bought and paid for press releases. Quite the opposite of their stated purpose when just starting out.

    I think it would do their customers some good if the rags today re-examined some of their past products to find out how to do it. Perhaps if they had C&D’s readers might not have been subjected to one of their so called “journalists” describing Saab’s then new 900[?] as a “hardtop” because it wasn’t a hatchback like the previous model. A little fact checking, some investigation, would have cleared up any confusion. And where was ED ?

    That showed the overall quality decline in the same way that MT devolved,referring to it’s thumb nail skteches as “road tests” where you got EPA #s for mileage and the wheelbase and weight for stats. Talk about phoning it in.

    The old rags were far more than just press release arms of the manufacturers,pointing out poor steering, workmanship, brakes, underpowered engines and poor fuel economy.

    Of course, C&D went on for years never mentioning [or warning] to readers their darling Vega’s shortcomings [C&D’s top ten reader’s choice for the 3rd year in a row!!!!.] so take it all with a pound of salt. Yes, they did try to walk the line when trying to not piss off their major ad contributors, but no worse than is done today. Though I am still waiting to see who gets MT’s “Bumper Of The Year” Award for 2010……..

    Old car magazines are a treasure trove of information, nostalgia and historical perspective. While I’m divesting of my stacks of rags from the 90s and the 00s,where the industry lost the plot,the titles from the 50s-80s are all keepers.

    Excellent work, Mr. Schreiber. When I read one of these old car magazines, I truly can go home again.My subs to MT were a constant in a childhood where my family moved every two years.

    Thanks for the reminder of the value of appreciating our past.

  • avatar

    Thanks for the memories, For those interested there are sellers on ebay that have copies of some of the old magazines. I also kept some of my favorite ads from a set of National Geographic dating to 1929. Another reference for those so inclined is You can find some really nice ones there.

  • avatar

    Hah! I loved this quote from that article:

    This old MI has page after page full of options-their ads pushed training in areas like locksmiths, mechanics and TV repair. Recession-proof jobs because that’s how things were in late 1958 America-you always had opportunities to improve in life, not bask in the warm glow of pity.

    Rose-colored glasses much? You’ve got to hand it to someone who can see a magazine stuffed with scam ads and see warm and fuzzy days of opportunity. I’ve spent quite a while looking at old Popular Mechanics and Popular Science mags on Google Books, and trust me, the only people doubling their income were the ones soaking credulous readers.

    Actually, the ads he mentioned were about real jobs in 1958, locksmithing, auto repair and tv repair. Nothing about envelope stuffing scams.

    The reference to “recession proof jobs” is probably related to the deep recession the US experienced in the late 1950s, partly caused by a marathon UAW strike at GM.

    • 0 avatar

      Yeah, I know, and I’m about 100% sure they were scams. They promise too much, like all scams – here’s a single page from a 1954 issue of popular science:

      EARN BIG MONEY in custom furniture UPHOLSTERY
      Grow ORCHIDS at home – BIG PROFITS
      Make Money 90 Ways In PHOTOGRAPHY
      INVESTIGATOR TRAINING – Experience unnecessary.

      One column. Big money, fast, guaranteed, and no experience necessary – if you think those were legitimate, I’ve got a bridge, etc etc.

      …and on the facing page? A full-page ad for a “become an inventor” company, a scam that’s still running essentially unaltered.

      Real jobs, maybe – but the ads themselves were the envelope stuffing, money-muling, work-at-home scams of their day. Pretending they were legitimate in order to wax nostalgic about the ‘good old days’ is absurd.

  • avatar

    I have a bunch of old Playboys from the late 60s thru the early 80s that are as enjoyable for their ads and articles as they are for the beautiful women.

    I see ads like ‘Datsun introduces a new kind of economy car – the 240Z, Goodyear’s Wide Boots GT tires ‘track tested at 130 mph’, BSA’s Rocket 3 motorcycle, an unfair comparison between the M-60A1 tank and the AMC Javelin SST with a 315 hp V-8, gray market auto importer Nemet International, an ad for VW’s Karmann Ghia calling it ‘the sports car that’s just as reliable as a Volkswagen’, FIAT’s 124 Spider for $3240, the Triumph GT6+, the Ford XL Sportsroof, and most wonderfully, an ad for the ’69 Shelby 350 & 500 GT!

    There’s an article on the perfect 2 seat urban car griping about pollution and traffic deadlock that still rings, true. If you are drunk and nearsighted, their drawing looks like the Smart Car.

    Loads of ads for booze, clothes, aftershave and incredibly obsolete electronics like Sony reel-to-reel stereo tape systems.

    I’m filled with nostalgia for a time that was actually 10 years before my time, this magazine would have been published when I was 5 or 6.

  • avatar

    the thing I remember most from car mags in the mid ’60s (which was when I read them far more than later until the ’90s) was a car mag–might have been C/D–mocking GM for its ad, “who will be the big one at Milford?” (The GM proving grounds.) I–then a GM worshipper, was extremely offended.

    Then there was the satyrical romp on bucket seats–invention of the church ladies or something like that–which I read long enough before puberty to not have a clue. And I remember the piece on the Peugeot 404 in Popular Imported Car (which had a feature, “Popular Imported Girl,” but I digress), the car we were going to take delivery of in Paris (first new car since I was 4) probably six months in the future at the time I read it.

    Oh, and the artcile somewhere, about which were better, American or foreign. Someone really liked his Dodge 440. Started every time, he said. I believe it.

  • avatar

    Road and Track had a full test (in the late 60’s – 1970) of a “Mercedes-Benz GT” splashed on the front page – I eagerly purchased the issue on the way home from school, and when I got my chance after homework, quickly paged back to the article to find a full road test for a euro-spec Mercedes-Benz GT — “Garbage Truck”.
    At least it was a well-written, tongue-in-cheek parody of their standard review, complete with their famous spec page.

  • avatar

    Loved the IECO reference. I used to spend hours paging through their catalog, dreaming of how I would trick out Dad’s Pinto if it were mine!

  • avatar

    Ted West used to write a very funny column as did Paul Van Valkenburgh. Pretending they were legitimate in order to wax nostalgic about the ‘good old days’ is absurd.
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  • avatar

    Found this page by Googling for Ted West Sports Car Graphic.

    What a blast from the past! I too lost my old SCG issues during a move. So sad, because the writing was really superb. And Paul van Valkenberg’s test setup put SCG way ahead of the pack.

    And the columns these guys wrote! And Paul V vs Bob Kovacik in their Ford vs Chevy modes .. especially rich given that Paul was a research engineer at Chevy during their secret [non-]racing years.

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