Farewell then, regional magazines with car ads in them. It is now official that Auto Trader will cease to be printed as from next month. It is of course the end of an era when we would look carefully at the smudgy little pictures to try and discern whether it was worth going to have a closer look at a particular car.
Of course for the last decade or so we have been perfectly happy to look on the worldwide interweb for all our used car requirements. Often very specific requirements whereby you can list number of doors, transmission and price range.
I haven’t seen an, ‘I feel lucky’ button which could conjure up an oddball used car that you would never have considered. That’s the beauty of a magazine. It invites you to look at alternative purchases as you thumb through the other sections and find that Dennis fire engine that you always promised yourself.
What was the best car you ever bought out of the classifieds? I snagged a BMW E30 320i Touring, which I still miss and three years later unloaded it through the same magazine. A bloke rode 100 miles on a motorbike to see it and while he was thinking about it someone from five miles away came and paid me the full asking price.
As distracting and interactive as the worldwide web is, I do think that the printed page still has a future. Maybe not for adverts, but for thoughtful pieces, lovely colour pictures and actually the newsy stuff and features make far more sense on a printed page than scrolling through a screen until your thumb falls off. I do like to pore over a mag and re-read things and maybe file them away, because I am funny that way.
All I would like to know is whether you will miss shuffling through the inky pages? Or don’t you care? Will everything be online by this time next year? Or perhaps not?