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Road & Track

Road & Track February 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

It's been 13 years, but I clearly remember the day Dale Earnhardt died. I was in my car, listening to the race on the radio, driving home after being interviewed about—of all things—racing safety. When no one came on air to say that the driver was walking to the ambulance, I knew it was bad. The sun was unusually bright that day, and although I'd just explained how outdated and dangerous superspeedways like Daytona had become, I didn't expect the coming darkness. Earnhardt had hit the wall on the last lap of the Daytona 500, a hard but not unusual impact. Earnhardt succumbed to a basal skull fracture, an injury that occurs when a driver's belted-in body stays put but his unrestrained head keeps moving. The tragedy ushered in a new era…

4 min.
your turn: letters from readers

Dear R&T, I am sure there will be a lot of speculation about what kind of effect the movie Rush will have on bringing new fans into the fold. It may be a tough sell. I am reminded of a conversation at work in the break room with regular NASCAR fans in attendance. I was telling everyone how dangerous F1 was in the past and how Jackie Stewart, who had seen 50 of his friends die over the years, did so much to raise awareness of safety. I mentioned how he's responsible for the greater safety enjoyed by today's stock-car racers. One woman—a big Dale Jr. fan—seemed truly interested and convinced. Then she asked me, "Was he Tony Stewart's father?" BRAD WELLS, Wethersfield, Connecticut Good automotive design is the balanced blending of both…

14 min.

Fuel for the Driven Life When scoping out vintage cars, it helps to know the little cues. Like, if the seatbelt push buttons are still really red, that car hasn't seen much sun. 5 QUESTIONS ABOUT FORMULA E Gentlemen, Start Your Batteries! POKING AROUND UNDER THE HOOD OF THE FIA'S NEW ELECTRIC-RACING CHAMPIONSHIP. THE FIA HAS A NEW ALL-ELECTRON SERIES ON THE HORIZON. If that news glided by, it's just because the engines lack the familiar high-pitched F1 scream. Formula E, the upcoming electric-only series, promises venues in some of the world's most enticing cities, involvement from the likes of F1 legend Alain Prost and IndyCar champ Michael Andretti, and name-brand sponsors in Qualcomm and DHL. But there's plenty of work to be done before its September 20th debut in Beijing. MARSHALL PRUETT and CRAIG…

4 min.
european beat: parking spot of bother

We have a new neighbor. Nice guy. But nicer car: an immaculate 997 Turbo with three pedals and carbon-ceramic brakes. In the interest of cross-boundary harmony, and sensing a kindred spirit, I thought I'd drop round with a bottle of red and a welcome. Entirely unwittingly, he gave me something in return: a serious case of garage envy. His freshly remodeled and generously proportioned three-car man cave is nothing like your average (read: pokey) British garage. It reminds me more of the garages I've seen on trips to your side of the Atlantic, where even ordinary houses seem to put great store in parking and workshop space. You even pronounce the word garage to suit, holding that ah sound to bring to mind a vista of concrete, workbenches, Snap-on tool chests, lathes,…

4 min.
smithology: free kitten

"All good things are wild and free," Thoreau said. Wikipedia reminds me he is known for writing Walden, which I have read, and Civil Disobedience, which I have not. The article on his life barely mentions the 1862 essay "Walking," which holds the wild-and-free bit. And this: "As a man grows older, his ability to sit still and follow in-door occupations increases." I thought about those words last month while cranking through the desert at 110 mph in a 14-year-old, 105,000-mile Jaguar and listening to a band called the Darkness sing "I Believe in a Thing Called Love" at hair-melting volume. The song—the purposely overblown video for which contains both a hot tub and a giant squid—turned 10 years old in 2013. Senior Editor John Krewson, riding passenger, reminded me of…

18 min.

The new, the offbeat, and the just plain cool Chevrolet SS 30 Donkervoort D8 GTO 31 Audi SQ5 35 Acura ILX vs. Honda Civic Si 36 Aston Martin V12 Vantage S 37 Mercedes CLA-class 38 "There's not just performance here, but refinement to rival the Europeans. It feels like an American BMW M5." [ 2014 ] Chevrolet SS THE REAR-DRIVE, MOONLIGHTS-AS-A-COP-CAR, ZOMBIE-PONTIAC ROCK STAR. THE NEW CHEVY SS IS SHARP, TACTILE, a joy to abuse, and the most rewarding Chevy sedan we've ever driven. It's also a bit of an oddball, a performance car doing its best not to look like one. We've been waiting for the SS ever since GM killed Pontiac in 2009 and, with it, the wonderful G8. That car, a big, rear-drivesedan with a V-8 and a crotch-kick demeanor, was a made-for-the-U.S.A. version of the Australian-designed-and-built Holden…