Written on: 16/06/2010 by jonathan kelly (108 reviews written)
Advantages: Intelligent up to dates information
Disadvantages: biased towards German cars
I have been reading Car magazine since the mid 1970's. In those days it was all about Super cars and intelligent industry news and views. The writers were the best in the business L J K Setright wrote with such expertise it was impossible to understand him.
George Bishop was more my style of writer he was permanently out to lunch and spent a lot of time commenting on the car launches he went on and the wines and restaurants he enjoyed. The arrival of the magazine was like a best friend dropping by to give you all the latest info on Lamborghini, Ferrari and also to tell how bad the UK car industry was.
At that time if you talked to the owners of the average Vauxhall or Ford they would speak of there cars as if wearing rose coloured spectacles. The average man in the street had no idea about the immense changes which were about to take place in the motor industry.
That was a problem as after years of reading Car magazine I had a unique view of the motor industry no one else shared. My first car was a Ford Capri 2.8i bought on the magazines recommendation it blew up after 3000 miles as it had no oil in the engine. A problem is this magazine has never gone into the maintenance of cars. So even today I do not know much about car maintenance.
Today the magazine is completely different it is printed on the highest quality paper all the old writers are long gone and it is available on line which is where I prefer to read it.
The car manufacturers praised by Car magazine in the 1970's are the only ones going today. Porsche are always praised very highly as are all the German companies BMW, Audi, Volkswagen and Mercedes Benz they will always come top of any road test comparison. The comparison road test was invented by this magazine.
Ford and Vauxhall would always lose out even though the sales figures were and are the other way around. That is a problem when reading the magazine you are in an upside down world. In the 70's the Ford Cortina was the most popular car but it would never win a road test the least popular model would always win it would usually be a German car. In the 1980's the Ford Sierra took over but it had no chance against an Audi 80, BMW 3 series or Mercedes 190 but the UK sales figures told another story.
The magazine cost £4.20 today it was 30p in the 1970's it is glossy full of advertisements and has a car buyers section at the back called the good, bad and ugly after the Clint Eastwood film of the same name. Not many cars are termed as ugly in it however. There are no maintenance tips but there is industry news where the bosses of the car company get a mention like they do in the financial pages of news papers. There are even articles about these bosses but no about the workers. There are road tests of new models and comparison tests of established models in the magazine so you have to buy rather than just read it all online.
Summary: Overall still an excellent escapist magazine some of it is online