Thursday, May 31, 2012

Pour One Out For Road & Track

It's the end of an era, as perhaps the best of the remaining American color car rags moves from Newport Beach to Ann Arbor. As the slightly snobby California counterpart to Motor Trend's unhappy mediocrity and Car and Driver's wild swings between brilliance and boorishness, Road & Track has always provided pleasant, well-illustrated automotive content with a motorsports focus. No doubt part of that was due to the magazine's distance from the Detroit manufacturers and its proximity to West Coast racetracks and the car-club culture.

No longer. Hearst Corporation is choosing to geographically merge R&T with C/D, and just in case there's someone out there who isn't getting the memo about what's expected, they're changing leadership as well.

According to the Hearst press release, former C/D editor Larry Webster will be calling the shots are the newly relocated magazine. Mr. Webster's resume includes several impressive results in manufacturer-funded race appearances as well as a variety of legitimately interesting columns and features over his career. He is a legitimate "car guy", not a "lifestyle guy" or a marketroid who endlessly bounces between both sides of the PR/journo buffet table.

Even with Mr. Webster's legitimate qualifications taken into account, it's hard to see this as anything other than the same sort of broken thinking that has over-promoted the current leadership at the other American magazines. Combine that with a move back into the sordid orbits of the PR machine, and it's easy to conclude that Hearst is simply preparing everyone for the inevitable merger of their two automotive properties.

I will miss the old R&T. There was always a quiet dignity to their leafy photography and painstaking specification sheets. Let's hope Mr. Webster makes this slide into oblivion as painless as possible.

from The Truth About Cars

ifttt puts the internet to work for you. via task 680102

No comments:

Post a Comment