I had a hard time as Deputy Editor of Road & Track this month, as we had driven simply too many cool old cars for us to cram into four weeks of publishing. Things were so stacked I had to boot an F40 review to the back of the queue.
I don't know if I'll keep doing this month-to-month, but I do periodically get asked if we do a kind of "Best of R&T" post on the site. Indeed we do run a best-of newsletter, but it is very abridged. August was too jammed up with cool stuff, so I felt obliged to make a little post doing some highlights.
I'll start with our non-review features and news, because, again, there was tons of stuff that you may have missed.
Pebble Beach car week was this month, and typically traveling car writers use it as an excuse to fly into LA, pick up some exotic sports car, and drive the few hours north to Monterey. Our longtime buddy Sean Evans revisited the 2018 wreck when that all went terribly wrong, him riding shotgun to a McLaren 570S flying 300 feet off a cliff. He lived! He caught up with the engineers who helped make sure of it.
Another of my favorite features this month was Alanis King embedding with Alex Bowman's NASCAR team for the Nashville 400. Bowman was untouchable in the 2023 season until he broke his back in a dirt track race. Alanis also has a long interview with Bowman himself, but it's this portrait of his team that sticks with me.
We ran a bunch of breaking news this month, including a lot on the launch of the high-buck Mustang GTD, but my favorite news piece we ran was our editor Aaron Brown noticing that there was a BMW M3 wagon in the States (no it is not sold here) and it was in New York, and it was on video in an illegal street race. It was a lot to unfold.
We also ported a few incredible pieces from the print side over to digital for you readers. I was proud of the work I myself was able to contribute to this long piece from editor Dan Pund, who went to see Volvo's test facilities in northern Sweden. I also happened to be at a different testing facility in northern Sweden around the same time and was able to speak with a Swedish anthropologist working in the region for a bit of a historical sidebar, linking things in with some indigenous issues in that part of the world. I also ate some rather mysterious "coffee cheese," but there wasn't room in the story for it.
And while I had no part in the germination of this story, I love Eldora. If America were to have a single point where you could say "this is the heartland," it'd be there.
I also have to shine a very Californian spotlight on this profile from A.J. Baime, who typically writes for the print side of things. He went out into the foothills to meet the guy you call when you have a venomous snake on your property. Naturally, he drives a Viper. It helps him calm down.
Road & Track also runs a weekly tech column. Our own Chris Perkins puts a huge amount of work into these week after week, and the results are wonderful. I was a huge fan of this article diving into one of the most overlooked yet also revolutionary piece of automotive engineering, the transmission-that's-not-a-transmission at the heart of the Toyota Prius. Why was the Prius able to completely change over the American and then global car market? Why did it burn into our collective consciousness? Some rather clever design.
Here is Chris also on the colossal effort involved in developing your car's brakes.
Chris is also adept at giving you both thoughtful analysis of a certain car technology along with its history. Read his story on the rise and fall of the five-cylinder engine and you'll see what I mean.
The brilliant Victoria Scott has also been jumping in to write some guest columns, and I loved this one on the basics of EV architecture.
And finally, we drove altogether too many cool cars this month. Here we are blowing a not inconsiderable amount of our budget answering the question if BMW makes the best BMW anymore, or if you should get a manual Toyota Supra for track day duty. Incredible photos in here from Syd, who also runs OHOAT!
That same day we also howled around our beloved Lime Rock Park in the Porsche Cayman GT4 RS. Brian Sylvestro drove it back-to-back with a GT3 RS, and said that the smaller car was the one that ruined all other Porsches for him. We flew to Germany to drive the open-topped version of that car, as well.
I must also mention that Matt Farah went abroad to the UK to drive the new AMG-powered Lotus Emira for us. It's an interesting piece on the compromises small manufacturers have to make. Lotus got an outstanding engine, but a horrible transmission came locked into the deal.
OK, now for the unforgettable stuff. Manual-swapped Aston-Martin Vanquish. C'mon.
I wanted us to drive this blue Ferrari 550 Maranello because I thought it was historically interesting. It was Ferrari in an early act of its becoming -- becoming the modern, clean, unblemished, infallible self that it is -- one that involved a step back. Ferrari gave up on the midengine format for its big, 12-cylinder cars and returned to front-engine GTs. I just didn't expect the car to be this good. A great drive.
And finally, that we drove a pink Lamborghini Diablo VT would be enough for me to champion this story, but our reviews editor Mack Hogan turned this into a sharp meditation on supercars themselves. When we want them to do everything well, they lose their real character. I'll be coming back to this one.
Hopefully you enjoyed this little monthly roundup. There is some wild stuff cooking now in September!
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