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PAPERCUTS> Road&Track Magazine Closing?!

Road&Track Road and Track Magazine shuts down shutting closing closes doors last issue

I can’t believe it. I just received word from a reliable source that Road&Track Magazine will be shutting down its Southern California offices. Can this be true?! This is insane. Everyone knows that the print media industry has been hurting for a while, but hearing reliable sources say that Road&Track is shutting down… that’s one piece of auto industry news that’s hard to fathom.

Road&Track Magazine has been a major automotive publishing icon since… before I and many of our readers were born! This is truly a sad day. Not just because another major automotive magazine will be closing its doors, but because if a huge print industry staple like Road&Track is forced with making drastic structural changes, I can only wonder how the enthusiast publications relevant to the automotive aftermarket industry might be faring.

Since everyone must be wondering, let me give you a bit more detail. I just finished a Skype call to France with a good friend and esteemed photojournalist as he sat in the media center at Circuit de la Sarthe. Even though we initially began our  phone call talking about Le Mans, he interrupted our conversation, telling me, “Wait… have you heard the news about Road&Track?!”

He had apparently just heard about Road&Track’s plight from accomplished photographer and road racing icon Peter Brock. Yes, we’re talking about the same Peter Brock from BRE (Brock Racing Enterprises) fame; the man who made the Datsun 510 legendary in the SCCA 2.5 Trans Am Championship.

According to Mr Brock, the legendary Hearst Communications magazine just issued a memo to the magazine’s staff, saying that the publishing offices of the magazine would be relocating out of state, but the Road&Track staff would not be part of the move. Since I haven’t seen an official press release or other news piece about this anywhere else, I thought it might just be a rumor. However, this news was apparently confirmed by Road&Track’s own Tim Considine, who was in France covering Le Mans for the magazine.

This is crazy. Could this be an April Fool’s Day joke? Wait… it’s not April anymore.

Either way, I and the entire MotorMavens Crew wish all the best to the members of the Road&Track editorial staff. As contributors to one of the most highly respected automotive magazines on the planet, it’s not as if those guys should have a difficult time getting scooped up by other major automotive magazines anyway. Hopefully those other magazines have the budget to work with these great writers and photographers! Best of luck to everyone involved.

:: Antonio Alvendia

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10 Responses

  1. Eric

    This was announced last week. Larry Webster will be taking over as editor, and they are moving to Ann Arbor to share office space with sister publication Car & Driver

  2. Hey Eric! Thanks for chiming in. I’m curious as to WHY the editorial staff is changing. Even if the publisher wanted to save money by consolidating offices, I think the strength of a magazine is in its EDITORIAL STAFF!

    The billing folks and everything like that can be consolidated with no ill effects… but when a magazine changes its EIC and editorial contributors, the whole look and feel of the magazine typically changes.

    I’m surprised at this move, but to be honest, I’m not super “in tune” with what goes on at Hearst, R&T, and C&D anyway. Maybe I’m partially to blame for the demise of the Cali office. I haven’t picked up a copy of R&T, C&D or Motor Trend in YEARS. Make that over 6 years. I just look at stuff online nowadays.

    Sad how things are progressing with the print publications that we all looked up to as kids.

  3. From what I understand, they are moving into Detroit offices with Car & Driver but are not closing. I feel your pain, I have been a subscriber for ten years! But as far as I know they will still continue to publish, which is great news.

  4. @Ryan ZumMallen: Yes, I heard that the offices are moving to Detroit, but I was also told that the editorial staff (especially the Editor in Chief) won’t be moving to Detroit with the magazine. It’s a curious situation.

    Hopefully they can keep producing the magazine at the same level, or better!

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  6. Kevin T

    By 2020, magazine publications may just be obsolete. Seriously. I know it’s hard to argue the feeling of holding up your fav mag everytime you want to look/read an article. But at the same time, how many of you are tired of stocking up mags and just taking up space? I know I am. I’ve been subscribing to numerous mags since the early to mid 90’s. I had cut out my fav articles and filed most of them away, but I had to throw most of them out. Sometimes I just wish I can go back and revisit these old mags page by page. Maybe someday, the mags will go online and then you can just like have a membership/online subscription and then you can revisit any mag you want printed throughout the course of the magazines time. That will change the way of print.

  7. @Kevin T: I hear what you’re saying, man. It’s something I’m kinda worried about, honestly. I LOVE MAGAZINES. Not just car magazines, but business magazines, photography magazines, travel magazines, and magazines with photos of hot chicks in it. LOL. Yes, you’re totally right… they take up TONS of space, and I have several big ikea bookshelves full of magazines, but I love them. There’s just something I love about the printed page.

    At the same time, I really love lots of things about online pages and the internet. I hope printed mags are able to figure things out. Those big automotive print mags make a ton of money, compared to most automotive websites, so hopefully they’ll be around for a while.

    So what are YOUR favorite magazines anyway?

    I’ve kept a bunch of mags like Battle Magazine (Jp), Drift Tengoku (Jp), Speed (Aus), Intersection (UK), Garage Life (Jp), Retro Car (Jp), Levin Trueno Magazine (Jp), Nostalgic Hero (Jp), J’s Tipo (Jp), Autoworks (Jp), Grassroots Motorsports, Sport Compact Car, C16, TMR, and the issues of Super Street and Modified Magazine that have my photos in them… I’m curious to see what’s relevant to others.

  8. Kevin T

    Damn Antonio, you got a nice collection there. I got lots of old stuff and more updated ones too when it comes to car related material, Super Street, Modified Mag, Honda Tuning, Sport Compact Car, Turbo, Project Car, TMR, a few C16’s, Lightning Vintage Auto, Nostalgic Hero, G Works, Japanese Nostalgic Car (JNC), VIP Style, VIPCAR, Retro Car, Performance BMW, Euro Tuner, Hyper Rev, VTEC Sports, and plenty more in the garage all boxed up. I have a ton of other ones related to science, mechanics, engine/performance building, home, garden, damn just too much. Like a damn maniac dude!

    Well as for print, and where technology stands today (and changing rapidly as I type this another gadget is either in the works or being produced by someone/company), another decade from now, I think only the most prominent ones with the most subscriber base and publishers with the most money/investors will stay in print. As for the middle level, I think they will start turning to online only not only because of possibly smaller budget, but maybe even to thrive due to lower cost of everything and instant production. No waiting to go through all of this hardcore editing stuff, and moving from camera, computer, etc to final printed magazine/book. Not to mention, by 2020, our world will be flooded with freelance writers, photograpers, etc. You know how they say, practice makes perfect? These days, tons of people blog, learn how to put their stuff up and on the web, take their own photos, edit them a little, and get em up. As this keeps happening, hah, in due time, we will have a ton of amateur, semi-pros out there. Say for you guys to hire a freelance photog, shoot, you guys would have plenty to choose from. Not to mention, freelancers probably do it for free just to get noticed.

    As for the future of automotive print, might be sad if the good ones go away, but then things will look better for many in terms of options and newer and better stuff. Either way, old school heads like me will always enjoy holding the mag in my hand. Use to read it when I’m up, throughout the day, and next to me before I knock out at night. That physical connection between a mag/book and a person is indescribable.

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