World’s Best Cars

Back when car magazines had sufficient circulation that they weren’t just corporate shills for car companies, they could do World’s Best Cars lists. Road & Track was no exception, and they did so often.

The reason these lists are risky for magazines isn’t so much that they include some cars. That’s fine: car companies love to be in these. The problem is that, by their very nature, these lists exclude a whole lot more than they include, and since the mags became ever more dependent on manufacturers, this means that you end up with a lot of disgruntled folk of the kind that pay your wages. Ergo… fewer world’s best articles as time went on (I can’t remember seeing any in the 90s or 2000s, though I gather they restarted them after my subscription lapsed, which, if true, is cool).

Apart from the cover article, there was some good stuff on the competition front (the South African Grand Prix) and a Salon on a wonderfully rebuilt Rolls Royce. Good stuff indeed.

This R&T is classical in look and feel – the magazine would look this way until 1989, when it was completely redesigned and became a much cleaner-looking item for a few years (until the designers went bonkers with little dots in the mid-nineties).

And for a 70s issue, this one wasn’t as depressing as most. They managed to avoid harping on the government’s unnecessary interference in things automotive, although, of course, the road tests and articles had to mention the way cars were getting worse.

But that’s okay. If they didn’t, we would forget we’re in the society-and bureaucrats-first seventies!

Gustavo Bondoni is a novelist and short story writer whose latest novel is a fun (albeit dark) romp through ancient Italy in which the Etruscans are fighting off the emerging might of Rome. You can check out The Swords of Rasna, here.

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