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Road & Track

Road & Track December 2013 - January 2014

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

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in this issue

3 min.
editor's letter

As soon as I hit the brakes, I knew I'd be leaving the pavement. A field lay beyond the concrete, and I hoped the greenery wasn't wet, because nothing accelerates faster than a car sliding on wet grass. A hundred yards away, a dirt wall loomed. Four hours earlier, as the entire staff prepared to hit the track for our first-ever Performance Car of the Year test, I reminded everyone that if they put four wheels on the grass, they'd have to cool off for a while and possibly sit out the entire thing. I was about to become not only That Guy, but also the killjoy for what was shaping up to be an epic day. You can read a detailed account of our adventure—one day at the track, two days…

6 min.
your turn: letters from readers

Letters to ROAD & TRACK IT'S TIME TO SAY FAREWELL TO SIDE GLANCES AND "SEE YOU SOON" TO PETER EGAN. Editor's Note: The announcement that Peter Egan would be retiring from his Side Glances column prompted so much mail, we'd hate to see what would happen if he retired altogether. Which, we emphasize, he hasn't. But that didn't stop the deluge of appreciation. We printed the letters we had room for and excerpted some of the best of the rest. Peter Egan's stories of repairing old British sports cars and vintage race cars are modern classics. —GAYNE M. UNDERWOOD, Chicago, Illinois His personal warmth, wit, and eloquence is without parallel. —NEVILLE TAYLOR (Via email) Peter Egan deserves a big retirement party with Guinness stout and dancing girls. —JIM FLEMING, Twin Falls, Idaho Peter, you…

4 min.
sports cars, unite!

HOW DID WE GET HERE? In a nutshell: favorable market conditions. American sports-car racing has always resembled a baton pass, with the big players trading hands at somewhat regular intervals. The fan-favorite ALMS, founded in 1999 by Georgia motorsport impresario Don Panoz, has seen financial ups and downs since its birth; the stage has long been set for a sale. On the buy side, NASCAR already had its competing Grand-Am Rolex series, which premiered in 2000. Grand-Am produced excellent racing but struggled to gain anything near the interest or passion engendered by the ALMS. So the association jumped at the chance to buy its rival, along with Road Atlanta, lease rights to Sebring, and Panoz's Château Élan resort in Georgia. All for a reported $22 million. WHAT STAYS THE SAME? The ALMS's popular…

3 min.

NOISE THE MERCEDES PICKUP THAT ALMOST WAS Say it with us: Mercedes. Benz. Pickup. According to R& sources, Mercedes planned to rebadge a pair of workhorses from its ally Renault-Nissan—the full-size Titan and mid-size Frontier—to compete with the Euro-market Volkswagen Amarok. The premium-pickup idea was apparently too weird to live, with Daimler officials scrapping the project ahead of this year's Frankfurt auto show. Mercedes planned to offer short-, extended-, crew-, and chassis-cab iterations with reworked front fascia and interiors; the chassis, all-wheel-drive system, and suspension would have remained intact save for tuning tweaks. But Renault-Nissan balked at reengineering its platforms to accept multiple engine variants for multiple markets. While the long-rumored tristar truck is once again off into the ether, Nissan sources say the idea didn't go unnoticed by its Infiniti division.…

3 min.
test track lunacy

Name: Nissan Technical Center North America's Arizona Testing Center (ATC), the company's premier test facility for the Americas. Location: A barren, five-square-mile census-designated place in Stanfield, Arizona. Capabilities: Hot- and cold-weather sim-ulation; high altitude; high speed (using a six-mile oval); crash; powertrain; durability. According to ATC director Steve Monk, the site focuses on "comfort and ride-and-handling events that are important for the North American region." That means scouring the continent for challenging, aggravating, and crappy roads, hiring a civil engineering firm for surveying purposes, then precisely replicating those roads on the grounds of the 3050-acre facility. "We have wavy asphalt roads from Florida, broken concrete from Michigan, turns and elevation changes from the San Gabriel Mountains, and two turns that replicate racetracks," Monk says. Recent bonkers project: Nissan's Taxi of Tomorrow In late October, 13,000 yellow…

2 min.
time stoppers

Stuff We Love Autodromo is now about more than watches, recently introducing a handsome pair of stringback driving gloves ($110) and its Stelvio line of polarized sunglasses ($325) that are handmade in Japan from high-quality acetates and stainless-steel detailing. Two of the greatest inventions of the 20th century grew up together, with the early years of the mass-produced car coinciding with the introduction of the affordable, wearable clock. And as motorsport developed in the years before World War II, so did the mechanical chronograph, which integrates a stopwatch function into its face and features a small scale printed in the dial, called a tachymeter, to calculate speed over a fixed distance. By the late 1950s, these chronos were being worn by racers all over the world. And while it now seems that…