Road & Track September/October 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

3 min

IT WAS 27 YEARS AGO this month that the cover of Road & Track first featured the McLaren F1, a sneak peek into what was to come from the world of cars in 1994. It shared the cover with the Dodge Neon, the new Mustang, a modified Corvette, and what we imagined the Z3, BMW’s brand-new roadster, would look like. All of these cars were important (okay, maybe not the modified Corvette), but none of them became part of the R&T fabric like the F1. The McLaren became our gold standard, particularly after we again featured it on our December 1997 cover, this time with a full instrumented test. It obliterated most of our metrics, our own Peter Egan saying the F1 was “a real driver’s car that does exactly what…

3 min
turn by turn

THE HISTORY of the screw, and by inevitable implication, the screwdriver, is complicated. In One Good Turn: A Natural History of the Screwdriver and the Screw, Witold Rybczynski, professor of urbanism at the University of Pennsylvania, traces the metal fasteners to the 15th century, though it wasn’t until the early 18th century that the screw became common. Around then, gunsmiths developed purpose-built tournevis (French for “screwdriver”) for use in the intricate workings of early firearms. A century later, when screws could be mass-produced, factories cranked out accompanying screwdrivers. According to the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, toolmaker Joseph Whitworth devised Britain’s first standardized screw in 1841. American engineer William Sellers did the same for his country in 1864. Standardized screw heads and screwdrivers emerged later. Early screws used either a slotted…

3 min

LEXUS LC500 CONVERTIBLE ENGINE 5.0-liter V-8 PEAK OUTPUT 471 HP @ 7100 rpm, 398 lb-ft @ 4800 rpm TRANSMISSION 10-speed automatic WEIGHT 4540 lb (mfr) PRICE $101,000 (base)/$111,920 (as tested) LEXUS SAYS IT takes 15 seconds to put the top down on the new LC500 Convertible. Please note, however: The first time you do it, it will take ten minutes. Most convertibles locate the button controlling the electric top in an obvious place. Lexus chose to hide it underneath a trim piece near the infotainment controller. This same piece is fixed in the LC500 coupe. We eventually found it by accident. That’s an unusually frustrating detail for a company born of sensible design. Confounding details continue through the infotainment system, the UI of which is a fool’s gambit that turns everyday actions, like changing menus, into laborious…

3 min
the anywhere machine

YAMAHA’S TÉNÉRÉ 700 promised to fix the issues that make big adventure bikes a bear, starting with weight. Fueled and ready to ride, it lands at 452 pounds. Not light by dirt-bike standards, but featherweight compared to the 575-pound Super Ténéré. The smaller bike feels manageable and unintimidating by contrast. The factory seat lands at 34.6 inches; the cockpit and controls are set up for off-road use. YAMAHA BUILT THIS THING TO SPEND ITS TIME IN THE DIRT. At 5'11", I had no problem flat-footing it. The bars are wide, with a good rise and bend to accommodate a standing rider, and the machine is surprisingly narrow for a parallel twin. Close your eyes and your mind says, “dirt bike.” Thumbing the starter fires up the excellent 689-cc cross-plane motor from Yamaha’s MT-07…

3 min
baller hauler

THE TYPICAL ENCLOSED car trailer is a thoughtless thing. A box on wheels, built like a shed and equally well-suited to high-speed travel. This is no such item. Witness the Aerovault, a clever, unconventional car hauler. The perfect way to get our project Caterham around. The Aerovault is designed like a sports car. Aluminum semi-monocoque construction makes it lightweight and stout, with no protruding braces inside to scrape mirrors. The slippery shape has aerodynamics the typical trailer can only dream of, with minimized frontal area, a roof beveled to shrug off crosswinds, and a belly skinned in aluminum, tricks most trailer manufacturers never bother with. This is a trailer with pedigree. It was created by Peter Brock, the genius designer behind the Corvette Sting Ray and the Shelby Daytona Coupe, whose BRE…

2 min
the ultimate car camper

FOR REASONS BOTH obvious and numerous, Americans are reexamining escape. More than any other time in recent history, they’re choosing the road trip. And with hotels and Airbnbs off limits, that means many are camping along the way. Airstream sales are soaring, #vanlife posts dominate Instagram, and campgrounds are busier than ever. Enter the roof tent, a particularly clever segment of the car-camping space. True to its name, this tent lives on the roof of your vehicle. Simply park at a campsite, undo a couple latches, pop up the tent, and get busy roasting weenies. In the spirit of comfy car-bound adventure, we borrowed Roofnest’s Falcon roof tent, an aluminum A-frame two-person model with panoramic windows and a versatile channel accessory system. We strapped the Falcon atop a 2020 Kia Telluride…