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Car and Driver

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Car and Driver
July 2015 issue highlighting the magazine's 60th anniversary
PublisherHearst Communications
Total circulation
First issueJuly 1955; 69 years ago (1955-07) (as Sports Cars Illustrated)
CountryUnited States, Switzerland, Italy, United Kingdom, France, Spain
Based inAnn Arbor, Michigan
LanguageEnglish (US, Middle East), Chinese (China), Portuguese (Brazil), Greek (Greece) and Spanish (Spain)

Car and Driver (CD or C/D) is an American automotive enthusiast magazine first published in 1955. In 2006 its total circulation was 1.23 million.[2] It is owned by Hearst Magazines, who purchased it from its prior owner Hachette Filipacchi Media U.S. in 2011. It was founded as Sports Cars Illustrated. [3] The magazine is based in Ann Arbor, Michigan.[4]


Issues Owner
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.[5] 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.[6]

Car and Driver once featured Bruce McCall,[7] Jean Shepherd,[8] and Brock Yates[9] as columnists, and P. J. O'Rourke as a frequent contributor.[10] Former editors include William Jeanes and David E. Davis, Jr., the latter of whom led some employees to defect in 1985 to create Automobile.

Rather than electing a Car of the Year, Car and Driver publishes its top ten picks each year in its Car and Driver 10Best.

Car and Driver is home to the John Lingenfelter Memorial Trophy. This award is given annually at their Supercar Challenge.

Currently,[when?] Car and Driver is also published in Germany, Switzerland, the 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 (transl. Quality Automotive Magazine "Car and Driver").[11] The Middle Eastern edition is issued by ITP Publishing based in Dubai.

Editorial direction[edit]

Issues Editor
Editors[clarification needed]
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 – April 2019 Eddie Alterman
April 2019 – Jan 2022 Sharon Silke Carty
Feb 2022 – Tony Quiroga

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 was one of the first to be unabashedly critical of the American automakers. However, it has been quick to praise noteworthy efforts like the Ford Focus and Chevrolet Corvette.

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.[citation needed] 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.

Sometimes the magazine might go a little out of the boundaries and (in the Sept. 1990 issue of C/D on page 83) had the nerves of steel to operate an GM-EMD SD60 and saw how a locomotive was made and test one out before it was delivered to the Kansas City Southern Railway.

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.[citation needed] Car and Driver started to include lateral acceleration figures in their road tests decades later than Road & Track.


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. As had occurred with other online auto magazines, Car and Driver first suspended its popular Backfires column in 2020; then, did make a partial effort in 2021 to continue with readers' comments, but eventually found, like the other magazines, the effort was too costly and often too divisive.

Car and Driver Television[edit]

Car and Driver Television was the television counterpart that formerly aired on TNN/SpikeTV's Powerblock weekend lineup from 1999 to 2005. It was produced by RTM Productions and hosted by Jim Scoutten—who also hosted American Shooter, another RTM production—until 2003.[12]

Thereafter the usual host was Larry Webster, one of the magazine's editors, with Csaba Csere adding occasional commentary and news.

Car and Driver computer game[edit]

In 1993, Car and Driver licensed its name for a PC game to Electronic Arts entitled Car and Driver. The game was in 3D, and the courses included racing circuits, an oval track, automobile route racing with traffic, a dragstrip, and an autocross circuit.

The ten vehicles included the Porsche 959, Ferrari F40, Lotus Esprit, Eagle Talon, and the Ferrari 512.

The "Cannonball Run"[edit]

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 1971 event driving a Ferrari 365 GTB/4, making the 2,860 miles (4,600 km) journey in under 36 hours).

The stunt served as the inspiration for several Hollywood blockbusters, 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.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "AAM: Total Circ for Consumer Magazines". Audit Bureau of Circulations. Archived from the original on 2022-09-19. Retrieved 2022-09-19.
  2. ^ Circulation Trends Handbook Archived July 14, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Weber, Bruce (29 May 2010). "Gerald Roush, 68, Fount of Ferrari Knowledge - Obituary (Obit) - NYTimes.com". The New York Times. Retrieved 2020-02-21.
  4. ^ Alexander J. Drukas (March 6, 2008). "Car and Driver cruising to new Ann Arbor offices". Booth Newspapers.
  5. ^ "Top 100 U.S. Magazines by Circulation" (PDF). PSA Research Center. Archived from the original (PDF) on November 15, 2016. Retrieved February 6, 2016.
  6. ^ Mark J. McCourt (January 2019). "Karl Ludvigsen". Hemmings Classic Car.
  7. ^ "Bruce McCall". Car and Driver.
  8. ^ Bergmann, Eugene (November 1, 2004). Excelsior, You Fathead!: The Art and Enigma of Jean Shepherd. Winona, Minnesota: Hal Leonard Corporation. ISBN 978-1-55783-600-7.
  9. ^ "Brock Yates". Car and Driver.
  10. ^ P.J. O'Rourke (February 16, 2022). "Ferrari Reinvents Manifest Destiny: P.J. O'Rourke Drives Cross-Country in a Ferrari 308GTS". Car and Driver.
  11. ^ "Car and Driver名车志 - 赫斯特集团网站".
  12. ^ Csere, Csaba (1 February 2003). "Radio, TV, Changes, Yates: The Steering Column". caranddriver.com. Heart Autos, Inc. Retrieved 5 July 2021.

External links[edit]