We just received a copy of the first editorial from Car&Driver's new Editor-In-Chief, Eddie Alterman. They've even given us the OK to run it, in its entirety, below. How magnanimous, right?
As to My Bona Fides: Standing on the shoulders of giants.
With those first tentative whacks at my new iMac, I officially begin my tenure as Car and Driver's 18th editor-in-chief. I also officially paraphrase the opening lines of David E. Davis Jr.'s column for the inaugural issue of Automobile, the magazine he started in 1986 after his second run as editor here. I got into the business of writing about cars, and into cars themselves, largely because of David E. When I went to work for him at Automobile in 1991 as a college intern, it was the fulfillment of my fevered, 19-year-old dreams. The first day on the job, I stepped into his office wallpapered with framed photos of him with Jackie Stewart, Carroll Shelby, and Jim Clark and felt as if I had entered the nerve center of American automotive enthusiasm. There he sat-large as a bear, dressed like a billionaire, and surrounded by the evidence of a life well lived. Now I step into his indelible footprints, laid down in the '60s, as I write in the same space.
DED Jr. inspired generations of car enthusiasts with his ability to depict cars as somehow more than just machines. When David E. sets his fingers to a keyboard, the whole history of the automobile comes flooding out-short, self-contained stories of human achievement and conflict and passion. His writing made me see man's best ambitions reflected in cars' bodywork.
I started reading him at the urging of my father, Mickey. I believe that car enthusiasm is largely hereditary, and my dad's automotive syllabus went from ABCs to DEDs. His enthusiasm was catholic. Our detached garage, sited three miles north of the Detroit city limits, may have actually had revolving doors. The old man went swiftly from a Porsche 356B convertible to a Series I Jag E-type to a toothpaste-green 1950 Buick to a big-block Vette to a Model T to a smattering of lesser Ferraris. One of my fondest memories of our driving together was back in the '80s, prowling richer Connecticut for pre-boom, front-engine V-12 Ferraris. I think he demonstrated far too much impulse control by not plunking down for that ratty, $55,000 275GTS. Had he bought it, I'd probably be writing this from my parents' vacation compound on Alterman Island.
This perch, I'd argue, is better still. I enter an office previously held by Csaba Csere, a man with a brilliant and agile mind, a deep passion for automobiles, and a breathtaking knowledge of automotive engineering. The long run of his editorship coincided with what is arguably the finest era in automotive history, and he presented it with the depth, insight, and fearlessness that are at the heart of this magazine. Like all of Car and Driver's great editors-garagehold names such as Davis, Purdy, Brown, Mandel, Sherman, Yates, Jeanes, and Ludvigsen-Csaba told us what to think, and we listened.
It's humbling to think of my name alongside those. I'm not quite sure what I did to deserve this, the greatest job in the known universe. Car and Driver has the best content, the best heritage, and the best future of any car magazine. It's bigger than its category-it's an American icon, a brand whose name has become shorthand for car magazines in general, in the way that Coke stands for cola. I promise not to turn C/D into New Coke. My job is to keep this great institution thriving and true to itself, and to bring you all the authority, independence, and general outrageousness of Car and Driver wherever and however you may want it-in paper form, online, on your phone, or in ways that haven't been invented yet.
As for my bona fides, I'm going to let one of my mentors say it for me. Here's David E., from his first Automobile column:
"I am a car enthusiast. I love automobiles, especially the great ones. I have chosen this line of work because it keeps me in intimate, hourly contact with automobiles, along with people who drive them and the people who design and build them. I am not an automotive expert, nor a pundit, nor an analyst. I am a car nut, better informed than some, perhaps, because I've been able to eat, sleep, and drink cars for the past 35 years, but a car nut nonetheless." - Eddie Alterman