Celebrate CAR's proud heritage
In February 2017, CAR turned 60 years old. Yes, that means South Africa’s leading motoring magazine has now been around for as many as six decades. How has it endured where others have failed? Well, it’s all thanks to an unwavering commitment to its core editorial principles ... and the ongoing support of South Africa’s countless car fans, some of which share their birthday wishes below…
I bought my first issue at the age of 13 in October 1990, the one with that beautiful maroon Daimler 4.0 on the cover, after taking a 1989 example from a doctor's waiting room which featured the Mercedes-Benz 500SE. I still know the top speed and 0 to 100km/h of both those cars and even bought a Merc like that 20 years later. As I enjoyed your article on the top 60 cars tested I could actually remember reading those tests, at least from 1990 onwards, taking me back to my youth and reminding me of the profound influence your magazine has had on me.
One peace of journalistic art was omitted though. In 1983 CAR tested the Vandenplas version of the Daimler Double Six. The summery is something I couldn't forget if I tried: "This magnificent Daimler is lithe, graceful and unruffled on the road. An utter pleasure to drive. It responds instantly and precisely to controls and offers unbeatable quality in its furnishing and equipment. It is a car of rare distinction for top people." You've consistently managed to give balanced and fair reviews while still preserving that little bit of magic attached to the automobile. Your articles are excellent with masterful use of language and thankfully not a trace of the cynicism found in overseas magazines.
Congratulations and thanks from the bottom of my heart.
Name withheld - By email
Congratulations on reaching this milestone. The standard was set from the first edition, which made you a leader amongst car magazines. I was am reader since 1957. The first magazine with the Opel Kapitan on front cover was the one I read. I was eight years old at that time and I have not missed a month since then. I’ve been privileged to grow with changes you have made to the layout and content over the years under different editors, each one building on the heritage but keeping pace with the modern world and new readers. I have always wondered about the identity of "cotter".
What a journey I have had with CAR. My knowledge of cars, motorsport and just building my general knowledge with you the past 60 years has been awesome. Remembering the technical articles, I think it was in a separate magazine, TechniCar or something which was later incorporated into CAR. The knowledge I have obtained over the years plus my interest in cars, has now in my retirement assisted me doing my own servicing of three Mercs I won. So once again, congratulations. Never rest on your laurels and my wish to you all is to keep up the excellent work and make South Africa proud in the eyes of the world's car manufactures and magazines.
RENE SWANEPOEL - Welegemoed
I keenly anticipated delivery of the February issue of CAR. I have been an avid reader since 1969, from the age of 16, and have been a subscriber for over 35 years. Paging through the reflections over the past 60 years was nostalgic. I recall the special subscription offer by CAR in February 1986 (100 issues for R100) to celebrate the centenary of the motor car. This was certainly an astute investment to have made as the price per copy increased from R1,50 to R4,95 in March 1994 some eight years later.
Every decade has witnessed major changes in automotive technology which is passed on from F1 and other forms of motor racing. The current focus is still on performance and safety but with a major shift to reduce carbon emissions. Hybrids, EVs and autonomous mobility will dominate motoring in the next 10 years. The combustion engine may still have a shelf life of between 10 to 15 years before we experience radical change as a result of seamless autonomous mobility systems.
Thank you for a great magazine and a brief review of vehicle tests undertaken over the past 60 years including all the industry related news features. May you continue to produce this great motoring journal and all the best for your 70th birthday.
PARIS FOOLCHAND - Durban
Congratulations on your 60th birthday. I have been an avid reader of your magazine for many years and the discount you give to subscribers makes it great value. The old road test of the DKW 3=6 was fantastic, it brought back many memories. May I suggest that you include an old road test every now and then, it is good to see how far we have advanced, or not, since then.
I remember the first time I came across CAR was in 1958 when I was 10. My dad bought one and what caught his eye was your road test of the Borgward Isabella. Now he had owned, and looked after meticulously, an Austin 10 for 20 years and was in no mood to buy a new car. After all, his car looked as good as new. However this road test made him think twice and he made a trip to the Borgward dealer in Goodwood. He was sold on this car with its Blaupunkt radio, virtually silent engine, white-wall tyres and excellent workmanship.
He sold his old Austin with many a tear in his eye and I remember our family of five piling in for a trip to Rhodesia that same year. With The Purple People Eater and My Old Friend the Witch Doctor blaring from the radio, the Borgward performed flawlessly. He kept the car until 1974 and passed it on to me; it was still brand new. I am so sorry now that I didn’t keep it as there are still a lot of these old classics around.
Please keep up the good work and all the best for the next 60 years.
CLIVE ALEXANDER - Cape Town
As a reader who has read all your editions since the first I have found the 60th anniversary edition most interesting. My late father subscribed to the British title Autocar and when CAR started up he then purchased this as well and from the beginning we found CAR to be of the same standard as Autocar. Looking at the original road test of the DKW really takes me back but I am sure modern readers will note that the actual report is as informative as those today.
I started out with a second hand Volkswagen Beetle but moved on to more performance oriented Fords, first a modified Anglia and later a 3,0-litre Cortina Perana. In 2000 I purchased one of the last 2,0-litre Opel Kadetts which lasted me for 16 years and then the big question: what next? I wanted a car with good fuel economy but a bit more power than the normal B segment hatchback. Once again CAR came to my rescue with the comparative test of the Suzuki Swift Sport and Chev Sonic RS. I heeded your advice that the Chev was better for everyday use and am now a happy owner. It is amazing how cars have developed in that this small car has more power than most of the performance cars of my era and use far less petrol.
I notice that in the Volkswagen advertisement they show a 1957 Beetle with indicators on the front mudguards but as far as I can remember they only came in on the 1961 model, possibly someone with better knowledge can confirm this or show my memory is not as good as I think.
CHRIS MORGAN - By e-mail
I have bought 721 issues of CAR after I bought the very first edition in February 1957. I was only 18 years old when I bought it for 2/6 (25c). Unfortunately I have not stored all the copies but I have about 180 copies at the moment.
I would like to know how many people who started reading the first issue are still reading it. Can we make a test? CAR is, for me, one of the best pieces of reading material available on the shelves today. I also love reading WEG!, WegRy, TopCar and all these. But CAR is number one.
BANIE SMIT - By email
Congratulations on 60 years of production. I am now 82 years old and bought my first CAR in, the then, Southern Rhodesia. I did not get rid of old magazines, so you can imagine the pile of copies I had. When we left Salisbury in 1981 I took a trailer load of them to the SPCA. We then we moved to Rustenburg and I continued to accumulate copies; I retired to the Cape in 2000.
Regrettably with age and a heart bypass we had to down scale; my copies only go back to 2014. I do not open my magazines until the 1st of a month, so my hand delivered copies have to wait to be opened and I savour every page. Keep up the good work, your proof reading is better than one of the opposition magazines I get.
JIM BEGLEY - By email
Congratulations on your 60th year. What an achievement. I purchased a copy of your first issue in February 1957 from the Lounge Tearoom in Mthatha. Today CAR is still delivered to me every month. Unfortunately I lost that first copy in all the moves I have made over the years. Thank you for all the pleasure you have given me over the past 60 years and may you to continue to grow.
GRAHAM HALL - By email
In January 1983 my, now late, mom began buying me CAR. I was 11 years old and for a car-mad kid, CAR was absolute heaven. Every issue was eagerly received and became my escape, more so as I was at boarding school at the time. Every word of new car reports and car tests was read and every photograph devoured.
I still have my magazines from 1983 and treasure the memories of my mom and my, recently deceased, dad who taught me to identify and name all the cars on the road. Thank you CAR, for 60 years of journalistic and technical excellence, and for allowing a young boy, now an almost middle aged dad to create new memories with his own son.
WINSTON MACE - Cape Town
Congratulations on your 60th birthday. I can proudly say that I've been a CAR reader since 1990 and a subscriber since about 1996 with only 2016 where I unfortunately had to skip but since end of 2016 I'm a subscriber again. 2016 felt if something was missing from my life. When I've decided to renew my subscription I thought of going the digital route but when mentioning that to my dad he was a bit disappointed.
So I've decided to go for both, digital for me and the physical magazine for my dad and both my nephews who are also avid CAR readers. They love those cards you've issued with the January issue. See my dad is a pensioner and my nephews are still scholars. I'm 40 years old and wish to be a subscriber until I no longer live as I know with the quality you provide you'll exist until the end of time.
DEWALD GERRIT DU PLESSIS - from Facebook
Happy birthday CAR. Thank you for sixty years of the best and most unbiased journalism in the country. Here's to the next sixty years.
Hey CAR mag, happy birthday. Thanks for an awesome mag.
Happy birthday! I bought my very first CAR magazine in May 1996. I was still in school and since then never missed an issue!
PIERRE DU PLESSIS
Congratulations on a stunning issue. I especially loved the DKW test. I would love more original test reprints during the year.