Monday, June 24, 2013

Hot Rod to Road & Track

We probably miss the more important and influential events in our lives simply because they do not announce themselves with fanfare. Think about it, did trumpets sound or doves arrive when you chose which college to attend or asked that girl to marry you? Probably not. You can only look back and try to recognize the twisted past that got you to today.

Sometime around 1974 or '75 I spent the night at the house of my middle school friend Chris. I missed the trumpets that night, but in retrospect they were loud. Chris's father Roger was a car guy in the way my Dad was not. He drove a BMW and had a vintage HRG and a Jaguar XKE project car. He was in the car industry (Roger hooked Dad up with a good deal on the Falcon station wagon) and it was from Chris that I first heard of Bob Lutz; Roger had worked for him in Europe at some point. Anyway, for some reason that night we slept on the floor in Roger's home office, sharing space with a desk, a television (probably why we were in there) and a bookshelf full of... Road & Track magazines.

I had actually been reading car magazines for a few years and had a subscription to Hot Rod. I poured over them from cover to cover and names like Snake and Mongoose, Big Daddy, and Grumpy were well-known to me. But at some point Hot Rod went through a custom van phase that just put me off. And then along came R&T.

The cars were exotic and unfamiliar: Lamborghinis and Porsches and Lotuses and Ferraris. And there was detailed race coverage from Le Mans, Monaco, and The Nurburgring. Some of the names I had heard of, but now I had contextand pictures! I was hooked and remember staying up most of the night going through issue after issue.

I doubt I've missed more than a handful of Road & Track issues over the years, mostly when the Army sent me to places with only vague mail delivery. I still read every issueand will until Peter Egan retires. Best automobile writer working today.

If Chris's dad had been a bus driver, I might have saved a whole lot of money over the next 40 years. Maybe I would have learned the trumpet.

No comments:

Post a Comment