Last week, we looked at the beginning of Road & Track‘s Exotic Car Specials. As you’ve probably surmised from our long-running project to watch the 1001 films you must see before you die, in order, we don’t do things halfway here at Classically Educated. So today, we continue the Exotic Cars series with numbers 3 and 4.
Our main criticism of 1 and 2, read so close together was that the editors seemed to be severely limited in the menu of cars they could choose from, which caused some repetition.
This is also true, to a much lesser extent in volume 3, although it’s clear that the editors made a conscious effort to minimize the effect. They began to add German tuner cars, which I suppose is reasonable, but also included a couple of sedans that, even though they were a Mercedes and a BMW, I’m not entirely convinced qualify as exotic.
A lot of what is good about this issue has more to do with the fact that they had two new Ferraris to discuss, which is always a boon to people putting together a magazine dealing with exotica, than to the efforts of the staff…
Nevertheless, a hat must be doffed to whoever decided to include the Morgan (probably Simanaitis) and especially to the lunatic who decided to road test a Lola race car modified for street use.
The result, though still not quite mature, showed signs of steering the series in the direction that I remembered from my youth.
In volume 4, the process extends even further. Despite the inexplicable fact that the Maserati Biturbo, a car that was later reviled by almost everyone (I like it, but I think I’m the only one) was included again, making it a perfect four-for-four in these magazines and the head-scratching decision to include a Ford Scorpio, this one is the best yet.
Even though they didn’t have any major launches, the editors managed to juggle the usual suspects, mixed in with tuners and obscurities like Marcos and TVR to create a well balanced issue that is the best of the lot so far. Another good decision was to drop the Road Test section.
But beyond the critical discussion of what is good and bad about these magazines, the fact that, just after the fuel crisis of the late seventies, and in the midst of regulatory upheaval that was making cars worse each year instead of better, Road & Track had the balls to launch a magazine celebrating cars whose only purpose was to go fast, look good and be enjoyed is laudable.
And among todays rash of humorless responsibility where any display of excess or wealth is frowned upon, these magazines are a joyful reminder that life exists to be enjoyed. These cars are an expression of that fact, and should be celebrated, even if only by reading magazines devoted to them more than thirty years ago.
Gustavo Bondoni is an Argentine writer best known for his far future science fiction novel Siege. You can check it out here.