Car and Driver (CD or C/D) is an American automotive enthusiast magazine. Its total circulation is 1.23 million. It is owned by Hearst Magazines, who purchased prior owner Hachette Filipacchi Media U.S. in 2011. Originally headquartered in New York City, the magazine has been based in Ann Arbor, Michigan for many years.
|Jul 1955 – Feb 1956||Motor Publications|
|Mar 1956 – Apr 1985||Ziff-Davis|
|May 1985 – Dec 1987||CBS Magazines|
|Jan 1988 – Apr 1988||Diamandis Communications|
|Apr 1988 – May 2011||Hachette Filipacchi Media U.S.|
|May 2011 – Present||Hearst Communications|
Car and Driver was founded as Sports Cars Illustrated in 1955. In its early years, the magazine focused primarily on small, imported sports cars. In 1961, editor Karl Ludvigsen renamed the magazine Car and Driver to show a more general automotive focus. 2005 marked the 50th anniversary of Car and Driver.
Car and Driver once featured Bruce McCall, Jean Shepherd, Dick Smothers and Brock Yates as columnists, and P. J. O'Rourke as a frequent contributor. Former editors include William Jeanes and David E. Davis, Jr., the latter of whom led some employees to defect in 1985 to create Automobile Magazine.
Today, Car and Driver is also published in Germany, Switzerland, United Kingdom and Spain. The Spanish version just makes use of the Car and Driver name; no editorial direction is shared. China had an edition called 名车志 Car and Driver. The Middle Eastern edition is issued by ITP Publishing based in Dubai.
|Jul 1955 – Nov 1955||George Parks|
|Dec 1955 – Feb 1956||Arthur Kramer|
|Mar 1956 – Dec 1956||Ken Purdy|
|Jan 1957 – Nov 1959||John Christy|
|Dec 1959 – Jan 1962||Karl Ludvigsen|
|Feb 1962 – Feb 1963||William Pain|
|Mar 1963 – Jan 1966||David E. Davis, Jr.|
|Feb 1966 – Oct 1966||Brock Yates|
|Nov 1966 – Jan 1968||Steve Smith|
|Feb 1968 – Dec 1969||Leon Mandel|
|Jan 1970 – Mar 1971||Gordon Jennings|
|Apr 1971 – Nov 1974||Bob Brown|
|Dec 1974 – Sep 1976||Stephan Wilkinson|
|Oct 1976 – Oct 1985||David E. Davis, Jr.|
|Nov 1985 – Feb 1988||Don Sherman|
|Mar 1988 – May 1993||William Jeanes|
|Jun 1993 – Dec 2008||Csaba Csere|
|Mar 2009 –||Eddie Alterman|
The magazine is notable for its irreverent tone and habit of "telling it like it is," especially with regard to underperforming automobiles ("Saturn folks like to point out that the L200 has little in common with the Opel Vectra from which it borrows some platform architecture, and we have to wonder why. Could the Opel be worse?"—Feb 2003). The magazine also frequently delves into controversial issues, especially in regard to politics. The editorial slant of the magazine is decidedly pro-automobile. However, the intrusion of politics into editorial columns rarely intrudes into reviews of cars themselves or feature articles. For example, the columnists have been highly critical of SUVs on the basis that minivans or car-based utes are almost always better, more drivable choices.
The magazine has been at the center of a few controversies based on this editorial direction, including the following:
- Their instrumented testing is extremely rigorous compared with other automotive magazines. It has twice revealed false power claims by manufacturers: Both the 1999 SVT Mustang Cobra and 2001 Mazda Miata tests showed these vehicles not producing performance equivalents to their claimed power output. In both cases, the manufacturers' claims were proved wrong, forcing buybacks and apologies.
- Their tests of radar detectors often declare the Valentine One detector, a major Car and Driver advertiser, the total point winner. The magazine contends that its tests are accurate, while some question its objectivity. Yet, other major advertisers, such as Escort, the winner of C/D's sister pub radar detector test, usually finishes alongside the V1 in the same test.
Car and Driver and Road & Track are sister publications at Hearst and have for many years shared the same advertising, sales, marketing, and circulation departments. However, their editorial operations are distinct and they have separate publishers.
Car and Driver operates a website that features articles (both original and from print), a blog, an automotive buyer's guide (with AccuPayment, a price-calculating tool), and a social networking site called Backfires.
Car and Driver Television
Car And Driver Television was the television counterpart that formerly aired on SpikeTV's Powerblock weekend lineup from 1999 to 2005. It was produced by RTM Productions and usually hosted by Larry Webster, one of the magazine's editors, with Csaba Csere adding occasional commentary and news.
Car and Driver computer game
In 1993, Car and Driver licensed its name for a PC game to Electronic Arts entitled Car and Driver: The Ten Best. The game was in 3D, and the courses included twisty racing circuits, an oval, automobile route racing with traffic, a dragstrip, and an autocross circuit.
The "Cannonball Run"
In the 1970s, to celebrate the Interstate Highway System and to protest speed limits, reporter Brock Yates and editor Steve Smith conceived the idea of an unsanctioned, informal race across the country, replicating the 53.5 hour transcontinental drive made by car and bike pilot Erwin George "Cannonball" Baker in 1933. The New York to Los Angeles Cannonball Baker Sea-To-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash, later shortened to the "Cannonball Run", was staged in 1971, 1972, 1975 and 1979 with the race entries including both amateur drivers and professional racers, such as Dan Gurney (who with Brock Yates "won" the 1972 event driving a Ferrari 365 GTB/4, making the 2,860 mile journey in under 36 hours). The stunt served as the inspiration for several Hollywood movies, such as "The Gumball Rally", The Cannonball Run, Cannonball Run II, Cannonball Run III, Gone in 60 Seconds and The Fast and the Furious franchise.