Ninety years. That's how long this publication has been road testing cars.
The Autocar was the very first motoring magazine to use a standardised series of tests to deliver a verdict, and over nine decades later, we're still doing it. Things have changed since those early days, of course. Over the next week, we'll be looking at what's changed, and what we can expect from future road tests.
Autocar's early road testers are unfortunately no longer with us, but some of the magazine's more recent alumni have shared their memories to help us celebrate.
“I was a bit surprised to find myself going backwards at 100mph. One moment I was steering the Nissan Maxima gently left onto the wet asphalt apron at the end of Millbrook’s mile straight, the next I was fast reversing towards a steep grass bank, bracing for impact...
“An impact that was thankfully soft. I got right to the top of the 30ft bank, the wipers gave a flick, I breathed a sigh of relief – and then gravity asserted itself and we started back down on the wet grass. The Maxima nosed heavily into a French drain and was stuck but, incredibly, unscathed. The recovery truck driver said as much, before adding ‘we found this on the driver’s seat’ and presenting me with a sizeable turd that was, in fact, part of the soil sample the Maxima’s tailpipes had made on impact and chugged out on the way back down.”
“Tyres tests were an Autocar regular in the early 2000s and as a junior road tester, I was tasked with taking a Transit full of fresh rubber to Michelin’s Ladoux track in the middle of France in preparation.