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See also Autocar Company and Autocars Co., American and Israeli automobile manufacturers, respectively
see Otokar for the Turkish automobile manufacturer
Autocar Magazine's current logo
The cover of a 1986 issue of Autocar featuring the Ford RS200 rally car

Autocar is a weekly British automobile magazine published by Haymarket Motoring Publications Ltd. It is the oldest surviving car magazine in the world.[citation needed]



The publication was launched as The Autocar "in the interests of the mechanically propelled road carriage" on 2 November 1895 when, it is believed, there were only six or seven cars in the United Kingdom. L. J. K. Setright suggests in his book,[1] on the social history of the motor car, that the magazine was set up as an organ of propaganda for Harry J. Lawson, who was an early journalist on the magazine, and the founder of the Daimler Motor Company. It claims to have invented the road test in 1928 when it analysed the Austin 7 Gordon England Sunshine Saloon. It continues publishing weekly. Only strikes in the 1970s have interrupted its frequency. In 1988, it absorbed its long-time rival The Motor magazine, founded on 28 January 1903, briefly calling itself Autocar & Motor afterwards, before reverting to Autocar. In its Christmas issues, it has tested exotic, fictional vehicles such as Santa's Sleigh as well as real 'vehicles' such as the aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal and Concorde supersonic aircraft. 2009's Christmas issue reviewed the Royal Navy's HMS Diamond. [1]


In the 2000s, it has further licensed its name to other countries' publishers and now has 19 editions worldwide, including Japan, India, Malaysia, Indonesia and China. The Indian edition has proved very popular and has established a good reputation. It also has a new updated website [2] It is edited by Hormazd Sorabjee who is the only Indian who serves on the jury of the International Engine Of The Year award.


Autocar is often seen as the most respected and influential magazine in the automotive industry. For example:

  • Autocar followed the development of the McLaren F1 and was the first magazine allowed to carry out a full road test on the car, producing the first official performance figures along the way.
  • First authorised road test on the Jaguar XJ220 and road-going Porsche 911 GT1, again producing the first official performance figures.
  • First magazine to produce authorised performance figures for the Bugatti Veyron, these being published in the 31 May 2006 issue.


In 1952 The Autocar retailed for one shilling, equivalent to five pence in post decimalization British currency. In 1968, with currency depreciation again an increasingly prominent feature of UK government policy, the cover price of Autocar was increased from two shillings to two shillings and six pence[2] (equivalent to a post decimalisation increase from ten pence to twelve and a half pence). By 1972 the price had increased fivefold in the two decades since 1952, to 25p.[3]


  • Maurice A Smith - 1968
  • Peter Garnier 1968 - 1974[4]
  • Ray Hutton - 1974 - [4]


Current Top Gear presenter James May was fired from the magazine in 1992 for putting a hidden message in a supplement that hinted at the tedium he had felt during his work on its compilation. [5].

External links


  1. ^ Setright, L. J. K. (2004). Drive On!: A Social History of the Motor Car. Granta Books. ISBN 1-86207-698-7. 
  2. ^ "News and Views: Autocar 2s 6d". Autocar vol 128 (nbr 3752): page 59. date 11 January 1968. 
  3. ^ Autocar vol 146 (nbr 4203): pages 58 - 61. date 28 May 1977. 
  4. ^ a b "New senior appointments". Autocar vol 141 nbr 4077: pages 19. 14 December 1974. 
  5. ^


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