On The Road With Johnny B ..Remembering David E Davis "Dean Of Automotive Journalists"
At an early age I fell in love with all kinds of cars. As long as I can remember I would wait for the mailman to deliver my monthly auto magazine fix. Road and Track, Motor Trend and mostly Car and Driver magazine. Car and Driver always had a rebel tone to it and my favorite writer was David E Davis Jr. It was his writings in Drivers Seat and other grand automotive adventures that turned me from just a car observer to a car nut. He has a way of making even an oil change seem like an adventure.
During his years with C&D I call “The Golden Age of Car Magazines” C&Ds monthly articles about Cannonball Runs(thanks to Brock Yates also) and other assorted mayhem made for fuel in my teenage mind. David E Davis automotive career spanned from car salesman ,race car driver and an ad writer for Road and Track.
At age 25 he was in a horrible car wreck while racing that required extensive plastic surgery. He has said on many occasions ”I suddenly understood with great clarity that nothing in life — except death itself — was ever going to kill me. No meeting could ever go that badly. No client would ever be that angry. No business error would ever bring me as close to the brink as I had already been.” He often described the incident in speaking engagements and columns as thoroughly life-changing, and says he was “born again.” DED has a way of mixing the adventure of cars with the adventures of life. Fine cars,fine wine and food for me are always on the menu thanks to Davis
He went on to start Automobile Magazine in 1985. Automobile magazine was classy and well writen. Even then his pen made me swoon for all kinds of automotive lust. The years passed and I became more car crazy. Davis wrote more and I read and enjoyed more.
The July 2009 Car and Driver featured a new monthly column by DED. Now DED was back here he belonged. So like a kid I waited for my monthly fix. Thanks in no small part as the New York Times called him “Dean of Automotive Journalists.” David E made me swoon again for all things cars and the grand stories behind them.
He still continued to write till his death in March 2011. One of his last columns was titled "If the original Henry Ford was still alive, he would be building Subaru's" Thought provoking and sure to piss somebody off. He was difficult, smart, funny, all knowing and let it all hang out. Outside his office was a sign that said. "Protest Against the Rising Tide of Conformity" In the style of how he lived his life he would never greet you with a simple hello but with "Is your life a rich tapestry?"
Jean Jennings former editor of Automobile Magazine described Davis as "The most interesting, most difficult, cleverest, darkest, most erudite, dandiest, and most inspirational, charismatic and all-around damnedest human being I will ever meet. I have loved him. I have seriously not loved him."
Sadly on Novenber 27th, 2011 The Dean Of Automotive Journalists passed onto that big Highway in the Sky. I grieved and prayed. I also felt blessed feeling as if I knew him and thankful for him giving me my lifelong romance for cars. Through his writing a teenage boy understood it was more about the people, stories and places not just the cars. Something that has warmed my heart my entire life.
Bravo David E and thank you for a life filled with old cars, great food, amazing people and grand memories. See Ya in the big garage in the sky..