David E. Davis Gone at 80

Noted automotive writer, editor, and publisher David E. Davis Jr. died yesterday from complications resulting from bladder cancer. He was 80.

Davis pioneered a number of editorial techniques that elevated automotive journalism beyond the garage crowd and help place Car & Driver on the publishing map. Who can forget that timeless March 1964 cover story comparing the Pontiac GTO with the “equivalent” Ferrari, an industry game changer.

In 1985, thanks to Rupert Murdoch’s gilded cage of financial backing, Davis launched  Automobile under the mantra “No More Boring Cars!” Davis also introduced iconic pop writers such as P.J. O’Rourke and Tom Wolfe to scores of car enthusiasts.

Passionate about cars and its personalities, Davis was equally at home at center stage, part diplomat and every bit the showman. He was brash, opinionated, and loved wine and expensive firearms not to mention Buicks and anything Italian. 

Davis later helped establish eBay’s Winding Road then eventually returned to C&D as contributor.

Thus Spake David E. no more.

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  1. David E. was crazy in a good sort of way. He really shook things up and god knows the market responded by purchasing more magazines and many new car freaks jumped on board.

  2. One of a kind. I met DED, or I should say introduced myself in the Detroit airport. He at one point had a Kougar (or is it Kouger) Jag. I have always been enamored with the hotrod aspect of the car as was DED. He was very engaging and quite generous with his time. A very nice msn.

  3. He had his moments and maybe what it took to get things done.

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