Friday, August 30, 2013


Peter Egan says farewell to Side Glances (but he's not going anywhere)

It's Friday the 30th. I thought Friday the 13th was supposed to be the bad one. Apparently I was wrong, as today Road & Track announced that Peter Egan was stepping away from Side Glances, the monthly column he has written for... well, forever.

It was just two months ago I wrote this prophetic paragraph, in a blog post about how I turned from a Hot Rod kid to a Road & Track adult:

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.

What happened? Did I tempt the automotive gods once too often? Is this somehow my fault?

Yes, it's autographed... What's your point?

Peter Egan began writing Side Glances in 1983 and his life and mine have been curiously intertwined ever since. At times our core automotive directions coincided in an almost bizarre fashion. Just after I bought my Mustang GT in 1988, he bought a 5.0 LX. A few years later as I bought a Miata, Peter bought a Miata. And then around 2001, as I returned to Porsche ownership... yup, you guessed it, Peter bought a Boxster S.

I relate this not to imply any cosmic oneness of souls (I voted for Reagan for goodness' sake), but to put into perspective how Peter Egan's observations and musing so directly affected me. It felt at times as if he was writing just for me. A column he wrote in the early '90s about maps, "Charts," spoke to me in ways that only a kid who spent hours pouring over the pages of an atlas and then later found himself on the East German border with a British Army of the Rhine 1:100,000 map tucked in the .50 caliber machine gun mount of his M1 tank could understand.

But I suppose all good things must come to an end. And though Peter will continue to contribute to Road & Track and Cycle magazines, I will truly miss that moment 12 times a year when I eagerly opened a familiar magazine to see what my friend was thinking about this month.

You can read his final Side Glances column here. You should do this now.

Post script:

Peter's column titled, "The Right Tool for the Job" is another classic. Here is an excerpt.

Hammer: Originally employed as a weapon of war, the hammer nowadays is used as a kind of divining rod to locate expensive car parts not far from the object we are trying to hit.

Mechanic's Knife: Used to open and slice through the contents of cardboard cartons delivered to your front door; works particularly well on boxes containing convertible tops or tonneau covers.

Electric Hand Drill: Normally used for spinning steel Pop rivets in their holes until you die of old age, but it also works great for drilling rollbar mounting holes in the floor of a sports car just above the brake line that goes to the rear axle.

Hacksaw: One of a family of cutting tools built on the Ouija board principle. It transforms human energy into a crooked, unpredictable motion, and the more you attempt to influence its course, the more dismal your future becomes. 

Vise-Grips: Used to round off bolt heads. If nothing else is available, they can also be used to transfer intense welding heat to the palm of your hand.

1 comment:

  1. He was the only reason I subscribed to the magazine and I'm sure I'm not the only one who felt that way. Sadly,this may be the last nail in the R&T coffin.