Call us crazy, but we have just changed our logo for the eighth time in eighteen years. Emboldened by the broad and sure strokes of new creative director Richard Eccleston (sticking out of the sunroof below), we decided to let our newest resident Brit (whose Sunbeam Tiger came adrift in its container crossing the Atlantic and smacked itself stupid) make our former wispy sweep of a nameplate into a crisp, bold billboard for what we feel is the sharpest-looking, smartest-written car magazine on the newsstand. Did you see us on the newsstand from a mile away? I'm thinking we might ought to just stick with this one for the next eighteen years and build a little brand awareness. It's a thought, though our founder, David E. Davis, Jr., did like to quote with some regularity, "Consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds." He believed in a yearly freshening of our style (especially when he didn't like his column photo) and a ground-up redesign every few years or so.
That "so" has come.
We had our last big overhaul in 2002. This time, though, we've skipped the freshening and moved directly into a full-blown introduction of new typefaces and a dramatic rethinking of News, now called Ignition, to signal our freewheeling coverage of news and newsmakers, spy photos, breaking trends, cool gear, and such. We've moved Driven, our collection of short drive stories, to the front, while David E. Davis, Jr.'s American Driver, Robert Cumberford's By Design, and Jamie Kitman's Noise, Vibration & Harshness join Auctions, Great Drives, and the nutty Bruce McCall's Exit Ramp to close the magazine with a wallop.
We stylistically massaged our road tests and features a bit but still believe in delivering the most scoops, the hottest metal, and the most intriguing comparisons in the most artful and entertaining fashion. We still believe that telling stories in which we take interesting cars to interesting places and meet interesting people is what we do better than anyone out there.
Meanwhile, we have never had such a full-body infusion of new blood across the entire editorial spectrum. A clockwise swing around the Nissan (right) is in order. Hood ornament Kelley Coleman still answers the phone after five years as if she loves you for calling. Mike Dushane thought we should at least pretend we dress up every day and wore a suit. Next is the elusive Joe Lorio, but don't tell anyone. Jason Bradley drove all night from Oklahoma. Brit number 2, Eccleston. The Art Divas: Nicole Lazarus, righthand talent to art director Molly Jean. New copy editor Bill Hanson ironed his shirt. "And shaved," he added. Joe DeMatio does dress up every day but by late afternoon pads around here in socks. Amy Skogstrom runs our world. Brit number 1, Mark Gillies, whose twins are developing a Midwest accent, much to his horror. Flanking me are new assistant editors and car freaks Erik Johnson (who used to sell me fat-toed hippie shoes) and Rusty Blackwell (fresh from Mopar Magazine). Kim Ewing (at the wheel) and Jen Misaros leave each day with completely clean desktops. Wendy Keebler finished second on Jeopardy! Absent from the photo are our motor gophers, Chris Conwell, Jon McCreary, and Sean Sonneveldt, who were all studying for University of Michigan midterms. We certainly didn't want to disturb them.
Welcome to Automobile Magazine, Volume 19, Number 9. Think of us as a Porsche 911. They were all great, but the newest one is always the best one.
You may wish to fish that pesky subscription card from the trash, brush off the coffee grinds, fill it in, and mail it off. We think you'll enjoy the ride. And please let us know what you think of our efforts. As if you wouldn't.