Magazine article Folio: the Magazine for Magazine Management

Road & Track

Magazine article Folio: the Magazine for Magazine Management

Road & Track

Article excerpt

THE PATIENT: Road & Track

AGE: 66 years

VITALS: Good post-op pulse

PROGNOSIS: Gradual improvement

Recently, the online investment newsletter 24/7 Wall St. grimly predicted that Road & Track was so deathly ill that it could not survive another year.

True, R&T has pretty much been run over by competitors in the automotive category. With barely half the circ (604,000) of fellow Hearst Magazines monthly Car and Driver--well, one can understand apprehensions about R&T's future as a stand-alone brand.

But the bigs in New York's Hearst Tower swear that our patient, though t-boned by a heartless market, is now on the mend. When it was acquired from Hachette a couple of years ago, everyone at Hearst could see that R&T needed more than a simple nip-tuck. The fix would require the equivalent of a complex multi-organ transplant. No one need wait on the expertise of the Magazine Medic for that insight.

In the immediate aftermath of its surgery, completed just a few months ago, R&T was barely recognizable, so radical was the transformation. There was a palpable Euro-lushness to it; in both its look and language, it had become ... car-porn sexy.

There's clearly a lot of Esquire's mazy DNA in the post-op R&T--no surprise, as Esky too is owned by Hearst. In sum, R&T redux is less focused on gears and torque, more on (high-end) gear and travel.

Not everyone immediately took to the changes. "Some long-time readers were in shock," says Larry Webster, the new editor of R&T. …

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