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How Car magazine changed everything

3 years ago

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Mel Nichols | Journalist


27 May 2021

‘A fine time, you may say, to talk about a luxury coupe that seats two people, does 12mpg, costs £12,000 and represents the best part of a ton and a half of otherwise useful raw material. But what’s the harm in talking? If I give you my word that I didn’t get through more than nine gallons of what might otherwise have taken you in a 2CV from London to Liverpool and back, and if I promise not to make you want one too much, won’t you let me tell you about my couple of hours with the Maserati Khamsin?’

Engaging words, don’t you think? They were written by Doug Blain in Car magazine in February 1974 during the ’73-’74 oil crisis and they typify the style that prompts Steve Cropley to dub Blain the father of modern motoring journalism in the UK.

‘Doug had a magnificent way of talking to you directly,’ says Steve, himself a celebrated former editor of Car and now Editor-in-Chief of Autocar. ‘He was the first to talk to readers in the way they wanted. He was the first to get the tone of voice right.’

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