Road & Track September 2017

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

2 min

THE EXPRESSIVE CAR CULTURE OF JAPAN Japan has one of the most diverse, creative car cultures in the world. Origins partly trace to biker gangs known as bōsōzoku, which emerged in the 1950s. The term roughly translates to “violent speed gangs.” Regarded as deviants and delinquents, the bōsōzoku rebelled against conformity, and, subsequently, their outlandish motorcycles helped spark a car-customization craze that continues to this day. Some niches are blatantly cool, others bewildering. They’re all inspired, obsessive, and distinctly Japanese Kaido racers take cues from Japanese competition cars of the 1970s. This 1972 Nissan Skyline Hakosuka (Boxy Skyline) wears some of the trademarks, including an external radiator, chin spoiler, and flared fenders. It rides on extremely low suspension with significant negative camber, an aggressive stance known as shakotan. COMPETITION Street racer Keiichi Tsuchiya perfected…

4 min

Dear R&T, I don’t always welcome the road-trip articles in R&T. Maybe it’s envy or reality-show fatigue. But by the time I finished “The Loneliest Ferrari” [June], I could almost feel the warm asphalt on my back, as if I were lying in the middle of U.S. 50 somewhere in the Nevada desert. Big thanks to Sam Smith for allowing a slightly reluctant passenger to ride along in the fourth seat of the Lusso. JAMES W. RUEB, POULSBO, WASHINGTON Respect to your art, Sam Smith. Today I was lost on U.S. 50 with Sam, Colin, and a photographer, who presumably hitched to avoid upsetting the balance of the car, or the words. Simply the best adventure story that I remember reading. Hope you made it back. STEVE DOUGLAS CROSBY, ISLE OF MAN Smith’s U.S. 50…

2 min
editor’s letter

AS WE BRAINSTORMED A JAPAN-FOCUSED issue, it suddenly occurred to me that despite growing up in a household that seemed to be very European-car-focused, some of my fondest automotive memories actually skewed heavily Japanese. A casual tally of our family cars over the years backed up this revelation: two early Datsun Z cars, an Acura Integra GS-R, an Acura NSX, a Nissan Maxima SE, a Mitsubishi Eclipse GSX, a Subaru WRX, a Lexus IS F, a Toyota Land Cruiser. Also, lots of little trucks—Datsuns, Nissans, Toyotas, and several Mazda (rotary!) pickups. Quite an assortment of Japanese machinery. Each had its own special character, and none spent a single unnecessary day in the shop. So, while I may have learned to drive behind the wheel of an Alfa Romeo Alfetta GT and…

5 min
borrowed time

LAST YEAR, WE NAMED the Acura NSX the Road & Track Performance Car of the Year. This year, as follow-up, Acura gave us one as a present. No, that’s a lie. It just felt like a present. What else do you call a 573-hp aluminum supercar that appears on your doorstep? The NSX is a long-term test loan, owned by its maker but with R&T for several months as a postscript to our award. The car is silver and currently spattered with dead insects, because it gets used a lot, at the sort of speed that causes airborne things to spatter. It’s good that journalists are not simply given test vehicles outright. Productivity would evanesce, and systemic abuse would reign. The possibilities are legion. If I woke up tomorrow, for example,…

8 min
hands of time

AT 10:45 P.M. ON NOVEMBER 9, 1989, the gates of the Bornholmer Strasse border crossing were thrown open and East Germans began flooding into West Berlin. It was the surprise first salvo of a revolution that would see more than 400 million people freed from the yoke of Communism in the two years that followed. None of the pundits or politicians had anticipated the speed or immediacy with which the Eastern Bloc would fall, but that’s the thing about the future: It tends to arrive sooner than you expect. Earlier that same year, Americans and Germans had been treated to a considerably less pleasant surprise when the Lexus LS 400 made its international debut at the Detroit auto show. Mere weeks later, the Acura NSX and Mazda Miata appeared at the…

13 min
clash of clans

SASHIMONO: THE BANNERS WORN BY WARRIORS. In the maelstrom of battle in feudal Japan, foot soldiers would bear the mark of the clan, while an elite samurai might carry his own insignia. So it is, centuries later, that three ronin arrived at a lonely back road branded with symbols of legend: Z, STI, and Type R. It’s the last that called for this showdown. Forbidden fruit in America for 20 years, the Civic Type R has finally landed, carrying not only a burden of expectation for Honda fans, but the pride of a nation. With the Lancer Evolution defunct, a new Toyota Supra still potentially years away, and the RX-9 little more than a fervent wish, the Type R is the most exciting new affordable performance car to come out of…