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Author Topic: Check out "Is the Magic Gone?" on saac.com  (Read 6412 times)
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Computerworks
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« on: April 08, 2009, 05:50:17 PM »

Be sure to read the latest SAACgacity (the semi-regular column on www.saac.com).

"Is the Magic Gone?"

We all remember anxiously awaiting the next issue of our favorite car magazine to hit the newsstand. In this edition, Rick Kopec remembers those days and ponders if, in today's economic climate, the magic is gone from motorsports magazines.

>Click here to read the latest SAACgacity<

Use this thread to discuss the article.

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ve4mm
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« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2009, 06:04:55 PM »

Very nice article.

Pretty much bang-on!

About the US economy.....

I live in Canada and I purchased an almost new home in Gilbert, AZ last month for $105,000.00 cash.

The owner paid $240,000.00 in 2005 and still owes $176,000.00 and had 2 mortgages.

Their second mortage was for toys.

I visited 20 homes for sale in Arizona in March and I remember one home I placed offer on in Surprise, AZ and the owners (30 years old) had 2 brand new top of the line Harleys........and they didn't care about losing their home.  Guess the bikes will be repossed next.

Looks like toy purchases will be reduced in the good old USA.

25 people from Winnipeg bought homes in February from my agent with hundreds more to come.




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rkm
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« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2009, 07:15:36 PM »

Rick, I had the same experience only I was a Road & Track guy. Bought every issue since 1968. It was once a magazine written by "sporty car" types who favoured light weight and 50/50 weight distribution over flash and hyperbole.

But as the years went by, those guys all died (Tony Hogg,Innes Ireland, Paul Frere, John R Bond) or lost their nerve to piss off the advertisers,  until the whole magazine became nothing more than a marketing tool for the big manufacturers. Finally, only Peter Egan was left and I decided it would just be easier to buy his books (collections of his columns) every few years, rather than continuing to buy a magazine with rave reviews of econoboxes and barges.

Kind of the difference between George Barris and Vic Edelbrock.

Now I buy Octane. They still get it.

And of course my bootleg glossy copies of the SAAC mag.

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GT200 Pinto
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« Reply #3 on: April 09, 2009, 04:42:24 AM »

I freelanced for Petersen for awhile. Just for the perks we looked up to those who were able to be most creative with their expense accounts. I can't count the number of times I was someone famous on a dinner check nor did we ever figure out how one editor was able to slip his aircraft fuel bill into the expense account. I was great fun at the time but when the big corporations started buying up all the small publishers they took the fun out of it. More stories reworked by the same author for similar magazines they owned in the same market etc. Now we have Road & Truck - Motor Trash (with their advertiser of the year awards) etc.
Rick should go back and read the drifting article - it may bring back memories of the original precision drifter - Davie McDonald

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markko67
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« Reply #4 on: April 09, 2009, 06:11:01 AM »

Yup, Jean Shepherd and Brock Yates. Used to read their columns religiously. Now I just thumb thru my back issues from time to time.

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« Reply #5 on: April 09, 2009, 06:33:19 AM »

Rick:
Spot on regarding all points.

The two mags that I read cover to cover are Vintage Motorsport & Vintage Racecar.

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« Reply #6 on: April 09, 2009, 09:43:51 AM »

It's fuuny how time changes perspectives.

When I was 16 muscle cars were a dime a dozen. Yankee Championships were annual events and I didn't worry if I broke up with a girl. They were like a bus. There was always another one along in fifteen minutes.

Now jobs are a rarity. Muscle cars are back but now they are $50,000 instead of $3,200, and the only women that are around every fifteen minutes are the ones that sell themselves on Craigs List.

One signifigant change that I see with the cars is that back in the day, race cars were "given"  to competative race teams. Sure they were just race cars and not street legal even then, but now manufactures sell these cars to the want to be "racers". I'm not really sure that they even care who's hand they fall into now. If they really wanted the cars to race they would be placed into the proper hands.

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get it now...pay later...maybe?
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« Reply #7 on: April 09, 2009, 10:12:27 AM »

Rick,

You got the order of the economy falling apart a bit wrong.

The financial industry repackaged mortgages into investments called commercial paper which included sub-prime mortgages.  These investments were considered low risk as long as the housing market continued to go up.  Well the housing market bubble burst turning the repackaged sub-prime mortgage investments into toxic assets.  Now the banks are stuck with these things and cannot lend out money as freely as they used to.  Then the people who buy (or perhaps more likely lease) cars every few years find out the banks aren't lending money if their credit is not spotless.  They want a new car, but have to stick with the old one.  Car sales tank.  Banks start falling apart.  The stock market goes down.  Ford luckily refinanced their lines of credit prior to the financial mess, but GM and Chrysler come up to refinance theirs at a time that banks are afraid to loan money and guess what, the banks will not do it.  Well where does that leave GM and Chrysler to go?  To the government to borrow money... and then you get a bunch of politicians involved.

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C5HM
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« Reply #8 on: April 09, 2009, 04:32:49 PM »

Rick,
Too right. I used to scribble a bit myself. I relapse only occasionally these days (look for something in the mail in the near future, BTW). Sadly, most of the modern newsstand publications hold little interest for me (either). They are all geared towards the advertiser du jour and not the enthusiast.  What is left of Peterson is teatering on the brink and will go down soon. C&D is only a shadow of what it once was in Don Sherman's day. AW hasn't really been as much fun since Satch Carlson was canned and Peter E is the only reason to read R&T. DED Jr.'s title is also a quick read and Lindamood is not nearly as amusing as she once was (and PJ O' is but a memory).  Worse yet, the magazine format doesn't translate well into cyber-space. There is something a little awkward about balancing a lap top while in the WC, isn't there? So, if and when someone elects to re-invent the wheel and write for car guys again, it is unclear just exactly what form it will take. But I hope it comes soon.

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Rick Kopec
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« Reply #9 on: April 09, 2009, 08:41:48 PM »

Rick,

You got the order of the economy falling apart a bit wrong.


I was using a little journalistic shorthand. It wasn't my intention to present an economic white paperójust provide a little context.

I sure wouldn't want to be a new car dealer about now.

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The people in the cheap seats always boo the loudest.
Rick Kopec
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« Reply #10 on: April 09, 2009, 09:16:49 PM »

C5HM:

All of your points are well taken. The major publications are all slowly sinking ships. In the 1960s, Brock Yates' nickname was "The Assassin" and I'm sure the suits on the floor above him chewed the inside of their cheeks when they read his stuff. But he had a following and thatís what sold magazines in those days. I canít say for sure, but Iím willing to bet that C and D regularly received more letters to the editor than any of the other major car magazines.

I remember when C and D tested the Ferrari 330 GTC against the Pontiac Bonneville 421 2+2 with Walt Hansgen driving both at Bridgehampton. It gave the purists absolute fits. So what did they do? They followed it up with a Ferrari GTO vs a Pontiac GTO. That kind of audacity was unheard of in magazines.

I think there is a way to make a magazine work in cyberspaceóweíre trying it with The Shelby American. I think the trick is not to dump the whole issue at once but to release articles a few each week to give readers time to absorb them. Not many people want to sit at their computers for two hours or more at a time to read a whole magazine at once. But if they can go back once a week and read two new articles it doesnít take a bite out of their time schedule. I think itís just a matter of getting used to it. A club magazine like SAACís has a greater following than a general automotive magazine so Iím not sure this concept will work with a C and D or R&T. Anyway, weíll see how it works with the Shelby American. Itís still too new to judge.

Rick



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The people in the cheap seats always boo the loudest.
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« Reply #11 on: April 20, 2009, 06:04:00 PM »

Brock was the only reason I continued.  It's all about unreachable stuff or rice burners.  Remember Pearl Harbor, sayonara C & D.

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Tom Honegger
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« Reply #12 on: April 21, 2009, 09:25:08 AM »

Great thoughts, Rick. I feel pretty much the same. I used to lust for my Autoweek...back when it was printed on newsprint. Very little color or slick photography, but one heckuva lot more information. The competition stuff was at the front, too. When they moved all that to the back and started doing articles on minivans, SUV's and all the other vehicles that were already being written about in other rags...they lost me.
Now I'm ready to drop Road & Track, Automobile and Car and Driver. They all run pieces on the same cars.
My biggest beef is all the green/global warming hoax stuff. I'm sick of seeing all the pages in the magazines cluttered with hybrids and electric cars!!
There is still a great magazine for real car enthusiasts...Grassroots Motorsports. This magazine is written for and about regular guys who enjoy working on and driving their cars. If you're tired of reading about $850,000 exotics that probably won't even be available in the USA, try Grassroots. Their sister publicatuion is actually my favorite... Classic Motorsports. It deals primarily with vintage racing, restoration and do it yourself projects.

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Rick Kopec
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« Reply #13 on: April 21, 2009, 09:36:45 AM »

Grassroots Motorsports is like Sports Car Graphic used to be.And editor Tim Suddard is a SAAC member. He owned a '65 GT350 which he sold and used the money to start the magazine.

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The people in the cheap seats always boo the loudest.
shelbydoug
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« Reply #14 on: April 21, 2009, 11:07:32 AM »

There really aren't many magazines that I look forward to these days. There was a time when a magazine was going to be the only place that I was ever going to see a certain car. Even the Cobra fell into that catagory for me.

There are still cars to this day that the only place I've even heard mention of are in a magazine. I saw Trump magazine recently with the $2.5 million Bugatti Cabriolet. Fat chance I'll ever see one of those. Chances are I'll never even see Trump magazine again. Does that car really exist?

I remember Automobile Quarterly with the Hemi Monteverdi and the 440 Jensens.  Not to mention the custom Italian cars and semi-customs like the Italia.

Maybe the demise of the printed magazine is because they ran out of exclusivity on fantasy cars or people
just grew up and realized that they could find more practical fantasy in special effects of feature length motion pictures? Heck, that's where the Eleanor came from right?  Someones fantasy of what a '67 Shelby is?

Maybe Yates could go back to writing scripts for the movies? Maybe he could convince someone to do a documentary on the real Cannonball and leave Captain Chaos out? Nah. Forget it. Nobody would ever believe that Sunoco 260 was just $.35 a gallon. Wait a minute, no one would ever even believe that there was a real 260. That stuff would all just seem like a fantasy. It kind of does to me already.

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