Road & Track February 2020

Road & Track includes technical features on automotive subjects, wide-ranging feature stories, spectacular automotive art and standard-setting new-car photography, humor, fiction, travel stories, book reviews and the most comprehensive racing coverage offered by a monthly magazine.Bonus: iPad Interactive

United States

in this issue

4 min
shop-class truant

MOST DAYS IN HIGH SCHOOL, I came home to an empty house. That didn’t mean no one was home. It meant my dad was in the garage working on the go-kart. It was made clear that the kart was not mine. Dad always said he was the team owner, I was the hired driver. That’s a good thing, as my mechanical ability is… limited. Just the way I’m wired. I’ve read books and attempted projects, but my confidence erodes with a complicated maneuver. Oil change? No problem. Switching out wheels? A cinch. Brake job? Anything major under the hood? I’d rather pay someone to fix it than drive a car I attempted to repair. That’s why it was so much fun to spend those afternoons in the garage, watching someone do what…

4 min
this is a car. (honest.)

JOSH ROBBINS WANTS YOU to buy a Caterham Seven. He is not unlike the staff of this magazine in this regard, because we also want you to buy a Caterham Seven. Robbins runs Denver’s Rocky Mountain Caterham, one of the British marque’s North American distributors. He loves the cars he sells, and so do we. There’s nothing quite like them. The Seven has been around in one form or another since the 1950s—one of the first bare-bones, build-it-yourself sports cars. Modern examples weigh around 1200 pounds and are roughly as serious as a puppy. Old-school devices with modern performance, they’re designed for people who like bugs in their teeth, wind in their shorts, and a total lack of doors. NATURALLY, everyone at R&T wants one of these buggers, because if you know…

5 min
olives & oil

SOME OF THE BEST restorers are a bit off the beaten track. Take David Cooper’s shop, Cooper Technica, in Bristol, Wisconsin, about 65 miles northwest of Chicago. Cooper focuses on pre-World War II French and Italian custom coachwork, and is probably the only American restorer with a second restoration shop in France. Cooper Technica has three distinct specialties: custom metal shaping, vintage paint work, and Cotal electro-magnetic and Wilson pre-selector gearboxes. The shop has been in business for 30 years, and Cooper comes from a line of machine builders—his family’s business was a machine shop that focused on custom work. When Cooper started racing vintage cars, he bought a Porsche 356 that required restoration work; that work became his personal project. “When it needed parts that were no longer available,” he…

3 min
cutting away

TECHNICAL ILLUSTRATIONS give us a glimpse at the bones of our favorite machines. It’s why we feature such drawings on these pages, and why Jim Hatch has spent 30 years creating similar illustrations for clients in the automotive and motorcycle industries. The New Jersey native attended the Otis-Parsons School of Design in Los Angeles (now the Otis College of Art and Design). A professor there introduced him to Kevin Hulsey, a titan of technical automotive illustration. “[Hulsey] gave me a test to take home. He said, ‘Copy this and bring it back,’ so I did. I didn’t know it at the time, but that was actually a job interview.” During his senior year, Hatch worked as Hulsey’s assistant, going full-time when he graduated in 1991. “Everything was done by hand. There were no…

4 min
i mowed down a lady.

THERE WAS NO impact sound. There wasn’t even a smudge in the uniform layer of dirt on the back of my filthy car, so there couldn’t have been much of an impact in the first place. But there was no denying the body bleeding onto the scalding-hot pavement less than a foot from my right rear tire. I hit a woman. Granted, the car was barely moving. Had I not decided to stop and proceed forward, rather than continuing in reverse, the situation would have been far worse for both of us. For the record, this wasn’t one of those instances where a car backs out of a parking spot at full throttle, music blaring while the driver is reading an email, eating a fish sandwich, and applying makeup. The radio was…

4 min
how bad do you want it?

“I’VE ALWAYS WANTED to be a race-car driver.” I’ve heard this comment more times than I’ve raced a car myself, usually from the person sitting next to me on a plane, after they find out what I do for a living. And each time, the first thing through my mind is, “No you haven’t.” (I don’t actually say that—I try to be polite.) See, if they really did want to be a racer, they would have become one. But they didn’t want it bad enough. To race, at any level, requires sacrifice and commitment. A friend recently commented that he could have been a good club racer, but didn’t want it bad enough. Let’s hear it for honesty! Racing is more accessible than many sports. If you’re five-eight and 150 pounds, I…