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Former Autocar technical editor Michael Scarlett, who worked on the magazine for 20 years, has died

The death has been announced of former Autocar technical editor Michael Scarlett, 72, who worked on the magazine for 20 years between 1966 and 1986 and wrote some of the magazine's most important features and road tests in an era when the British motor industry was building some of the world's most iconic cars.

Scarlett, who began his career as an engineering apprentice at the Hawker aircraft company in 1955, worked for the racing car companies Cooper, Brabham and Hewland during their years of highest achievement in the early to mid-60s, then joined Autocar as a writer and road tester in 1966. He became technical editor in 1978. Scarlett had an abiding interest in and a deep knowledge of automotive technology, which he was ever read and willing to deploy to the benefit of colleagues and especially readers.

Known for his exuberant driving style, Scarlett had a rare ability to assess the best and worst properties of cars, and was admired by all for his fair-mindedness. He had an insatiable desire to try the next new thing - fast or slow, large or small - and served for nearly 20 years on the Car of the Year jury.

The most friendly, most generous of men, Scarlett was active in journalism until recently, and will be much missed by colleagues in the publishing and automotive businesses alike. Autocar's management and staff sends its sincerest sympathy to his wife, Alison, and his three grown-up children.

Michael Scarlett – a tribute from Autocar's Steve Cropley:

"Mike Scarlett was one of those people who, if you encountered him on a car launch or in an airport lounge, just made the day better. He was great company, loved car-borne adventures (and had had quite a few in his time) and was always a good man to talk to if you didn't quite trust your own impressions of a new car. He had enormous knowledge and experience, and always struck me as the natural-born road tester. Unlike most of us, he also had an engineer's eye for design detail, so his stories about new cars usually carried a layer of extra, fascinating content. He was especially nice to me when I was new to this job, and I'll never forget it. We will all miss him very much."

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