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I read Car magazine in late to the mid 1970's. In those days I remember it was all about Super cars and industry news and views and promotion. The writers were the best in the business at the time like the late L J K Setright he wrote with such expertise it was impossible to understand him at all.
George Bishop was another style of writer he was permanently commenting on the car launches he went on and the wines he enjoyed drinking and restaurants he enjoyed visiting. The arrival of the magazine was like a best friend dropping by. It had all the latest info on Lamborghini, Ferrari and also to tell how good the German and how bad the UK car industry was.
The average man in the street had no idea about the immense changes which were about to take place in the motor industry at the time and lied about everything to do with cars.
That was a problem as after years of reading Car magazine I had a unique view of the motor industry no one else shared.
The car manufacturers praised by Car magazine in the 1970's are the only ones going today. Porsche were always praised very highly as were all the German companies BMW, Audi, Volkswagen and Mercedes Benz they would always come top of any road test comparison. The comparison road test was invented by this magazine.
The magazine cost 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. Ugly were the British cars good were the German and bad were American or eastern Bloc cars.
"Car" is a monthly UK magazine of about 225 pages that writes about curent production cars through reviews, upcoming products scoops, industry news and various columns. The magazine has a good number of car testers who have their own writing style and are generally well articulated and quite funny. One slight negative is that testers, given their great driving experience, seem only too inclined to write positively about performance cars, such as Ferrari, Porsche, etc and not so thorough when reviewing more down-to-earth cars. In particular, the "Newcomers" section, describing the latest model, has a good number of reviews but all rather short, definitely not enough for someone keen to learn more about a certain car prior to an acquisition. One really good feature of the magazine is its "previews"; they seem to be able to get their hands on a lot of industry news regarding upcoming cars including photos, sketches and early test-drives to make the magazine really useful for car buyers who are looking to buy a new car in the next year or two. The quality of the paper and the photos is very high and there is plenty of eye candy for car ethusiasts though the magazine generally avoids photos larger than half page (which usually just imply scarcity of things to write in a mag), particularly worth a mention are the photos done for their monthly road-trip special, an artcile generally written by one reporter on the road (August 2002 issue has a really interesting article on a US coast-to-coast in a Smart!). The monthly columns are rather useless, except perhaps for the one written by a US-based writer. Finally, a really neat buyer's guide is included at the back, with short and snappy reviews of all the cars currently sold in the UK with an added price list which I found to be usually a few months out of date. On the negative side I can only say that the magazine has plenty of adverts, often irritatingly repea
ted over several issues, and it is quite expensive at £3.50 per issue. However, if you subscribe for a year, you get two issues free (£7 saving) and a gadget (currently an Aston Martin keyring). The reason why I buy this magazine is that it offers readers great reviews (though skewed towards the more racey cars) and is well packaged. In essence, this is not a car magazine for readers looking to find detailed information on cars they may be intrested in buying but one that gives readers plenty of general news on the car industry and latest models.
I like Car magazine, I have been buying it for years. I think it is informative, well written and in the case of Alexei Sayle's column, downright funny. If you want to know all about the latest models, their performance, price and how they compare with existing models from other manufacturers, then this is the magazine you should seriously consider buying. You also get all the low-down on forthcoming models too. They do tend to do a lot of features on the more expensive cars on the market, Porches, Ferraris etc. but this is not necessarily a bad thing, as it does give people like me, who can only dream of owning such exotica, an idea of what they are like to drive. There was a period when Car magazine was very much pro German cars. This seems to have lessened somewhat, probably because other car manufacturers are fast catching up with the Germans in terms of quality. Car magazine does have some interesting articles on second hand cars. In the latest edition, which I bought today, (16/06/01) there was a feature on what you could buy for £1500. Car magazine is probably most famous for its GBU (the Good, the Bad and the Ugly) section. This has been toned down a bit in recent months, but it will still let you know the peaches from the lemons! The only problem with this section is that it is printed on much lower grade paper than the rest of the magazine. Being a monthly magazine means it cannot be the first with all the motoring news. In my opinion, however, it more than makes up for this drawback, with the depth of its coverage and intelligent comment. Apart from the quality of the paper in the GBU section, and its price of £3.50, I have no complaints - if I did I would not keep buying it.
Car was once the most established, and respected, of the motoring mags. Unfortunately, it has gone downhill. While the photography and general design of the mag. is excellent - there doesn't seem to be anything worth reading in it anymore. It has some quite good columnists, and some nice cover storys - but the reviews are all the same, and the news section doesn't compare to AutoExpress or most other mags. You also feel a bit cheated when you pay 3.40 for a reasonable-sized magazine - only when you open it - there is a huge section of car prices and far too many adverts. I think it is trying to pull itself back up, though, and recently there have been some more interesting stories, compared with 2 years ago when it hit rock bottom.
I think this is the best mag out there for people who really love cars. It tells you what you want to know about new models and never pulls any punches when they arn't up to scratch. The features are allways great to read, and the contributors are first rate, including Alexie Sayle and Gordon Murray (McLaren designer). You can tell the whole mag is written by people who love to take fast cars to the limits. When i buy this mag i usualy read it cover to cover because they make reviews on the most boring cars great to read. Also the photos in the mag are all first rate and sometimes quite stunning, no other car mag comes close for style.
If you're a Mini fantatic like myself (I have a '88 Mayfair in Ice Blue which I love to bits), you'll no doubt want somewhere to read about the latest parts and accessories for your car, services available (engine mod places, all sorts of other stuff), days out around the country for Mini freaks etc and most of all to see what other people have done to their cars. This is a well designed, glossy publication printed on nice paper and nicely laid out with a lot of colour and character. There's plenty of information, a news section at the beginning of the mag, telling you all about Mini's, motoring in general, (new motoring laws, petrol prices, how the EU effects us etc) and lots of other relevant snippets of information. It's written nicely with a lot of passion, (they clearly love their Mini's too!) and it's a pleasure to read due to a nice friendly writing style which clearly aims to keep its readers happy. At about £3 it's not a bad price and there are articles on car care, (such as bodywork, engine work etc) sections on DIY, readers questions and letters, and some useful ads. For example, the July 2000 issue has over 110 pages, a special on rolling roads, a drag racing mini, oil pump changing and maintenance and a big feature on seat belt safety. A great mag. More details can be found on their website. It can be bought from all good newsagents, or you can call 01452 307168 for subscriptions. www.minimagazine.co.uk
Car is a monthly magazine covering a wide and varied range of motoring topics. This magazine covers all types of cars from superminis to limos, 4x4s to F1, with the odd motorbike test thrown in. There are regular roadtests of new models giving accurate, anbiased results. The only problems I have is the large number of adverts and the very poor quality of paper of the "Good, the bad and the ugly" rating section at the back of the magazine.
This magazine offers one of the best overall coverage of both performance vehicles and more common machinery. It has intelligently written articles and good photography. Recently the once stand up comic Alexei Sayle has contributed some refreshing articles offering a entertainingly different view of motoring than the usual. A good magazine to keep you abreast of all thats new and interesting in the automotive industry. It also has an excellent car guide section at the rear of the magazine named appropriately 'The Good, The Bad and The ugly' They give a useful synopsis of all that good and bad for each model range currently in production and a comprehensive 'Facts and Figures section' Whilst the weekly publications can offer the news first I can recommend waiting a week or two and getting it all in one in this quality magazine.