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Cars & Motorcycles
Road & Track

Road & Track

November/December 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

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Country:
United States
Language:
English
Publisher:
Hearst
Frequency:
One-off

in this issue

3 min.
hero worship

WHEN I SOLD my cars earlier this year, it was to fulfill a fantasy. See, I’ve long wanted a Lotus Esprit, the wedge-shaped four-cylinder lightweight cobbled together in an English shed. It’s been a dream since I first sat in an S4 Esprit when I was eight years old. I didn’t have any logical reason for wanting one beyond that, and I recently realized that if I didn’t buy one soon, I never would. Work, family, life, and finances would see it become unreachable. Over the summer, I found one. A higher-mileage 1995 S4 with extensive service records. It’s, shall we say, lacking, cosmetically. Not that it matters. I wanted a driver, and I got one. In many ways, it’s horrible. I can’t see out of it, the steering wheel blocks the gauges,…

1 min.
empty 500

IN 2001, HÉLIO CASTRONEVES broke tradition and veered right as he approached the turn towards Victory Lane. Overwhelmed with emotion after capturing his first of three wins at the Indianapolis 500, the Brazilian sprang from the cockpit, scaled the fence overlooking the grandstands, and brought the celebration to hundreds of thousands of adoring fans. The intimate gesture—a symbolic affirmation of the bond between drivers and audience that exemplifies the world’s largest single-day sporting event—was among the many benefits we surrendered in the wake of COVID-19. This year, racing in front of an empty house, Castroneves found the experience unsettling. “It was mixed feelings obviously, because it was my last Indy 500 with Team Penske and because of the fans not being there,” he says. “The big cheers and everyone screaming when we…

6 min.
reflections on 1499 monrovia

WHEN MY WIFE, Barbara, and I moved back to Wisconsin in 1990, after 10 years in California, the Mayflower estimator looked around our home and gave us some advice. “You have a lot of books and a whole wall of magazines,” she said, “and they are very heavy. I would get rid of those you don’t want and then ship the rest by parcel post. It’ll actually be cheaper than hauling them in the moving van.” Well, we did get rid of many books and magazines, but no copies of Road & Track were left behind. Nor any issues of Cycle World. That same wall of mags now resides in my home office. And, after 30 years, the collection is more than twice as large. Yes, I know, R&T is 73 years…

2 min.
better than the best

CURSE OUR NAMES at the fortune of it. The blind absurdity of these cars gathered together for two days of driving, 48 blissful hours on the edge of autumn at Lime Rock Park. Our own personal legends at our disposal, keys in hand. We invited the machines that made us. Icons that have defined Road & Track across the breadth of this magazine’s 73-year history to answer one impossible question: What is the Road & Track car? There aren’t words for it, but we’ll try anyhow. The sheer fantasy of them all. The sight of a genuine 289 Cobra lurking in its trailer. The heart-stuttering sound of a McLaren F1 firing to life a few feet away, as lethal as anything and proud of it. The impossible yellow of a 5000-mile…

5 min.
the hornet

BLAME EDITOR-AT-LARGE PETER EGAN. When we came up with the original list of cars for this test, the MG TC wasn’t on it. Not that the MG isn’t significant. It debuted around the same time as this magazine. Legions of TCs crossed the Atlantic after World War II, following servicemembers who bought them on the cheap. The scrappy little MG was long part of the Road & Track fabric, the car responsible for America’s sports-car infatuation. But I’ve never understood the appeal. The TC has featured prominently at every vintage race I’ve attended, and I always wondered why anyone would want to drive one. It just seemed like a slow, loud, bad choice. Especially since that period saw cars develop at an astonishing rate, going from rudimentary carts with cycle fenders to…

8 min.
the gentleman

FIRST PRINCIPLES FIRST: This car is exceptionally, fundamentally, absolutely beautiful. That was, naturally, the whole idea. The W198 300SL came into being in 1953, when Max Hoffman, Austrian-American maverick auto importer and bon vivant, declared that Mercedes needed a marquee car, based in racing yet drivable on the road, to compete in the cosmopolitan American market. Hoffman also declared that this presumptive world-beater would need to be ready in six months for the ‘54 New York Auto Show. Then he ordered 1000 of them. Engineer Rudolf Uhlenhaut and his team optimistically figured the insanely short deadline meant they could build whatever breathtakingly ambitious car they wanted and no one would have time to stop them. They took the Le Mansand Carrera Panamericana-winning W194 race car and—forgive some oversimplification—replaced enough race-car parts…