Famous automotive journalist David E. Davis Jr. died on Sunday, March 27, 2011 from complications of bladder cancer surgery at the age of 80. Davis, or David E, as his friends called him, was once called by TIME Magazine the ‘Dean of automotive journalism’. The description fit the man whose career in writing about cars spanned decades. Davis shaped the look and tone of car magazines as we know them today. Ã‚Â While Davis will best be remembered for his role as Editor at Car and Driver and foundedr of Automobile, his work at the digital auto magazine Winding Road shows that even late in his career, he was always on the leading edge of automotive journalism.
Back in my college days, I wanted more than anything to be able to write about cars, but had no idea how to break into the business. On a whim, I e-mailed David E. Davis Jr while he was still at Automobile. To my amazement, he actually took the time to respond to me, encouraging me to seek opportunity where I found them, and not to give up. I saw Mr. Davis at a Greenwich Concours d’Elegance a few years ago. He was a judge at the event, and I was speechless at the sight of him-dashing and dressed to the nines. Standing next to this titan of automotive journalism, I froze, but marveled at the man whose beautiful writing I had enjoyed for more than half my life.
Mr. Davis’ work will live on for others to see how automotive journalism was raised to art form. He is survived by his wife and three children. The Garage offers their deepest sympathies to Mr. Davis’ family. I thank him for the indelible mark he made on automotive journalism, and the affect he had on all of us who write about, and read about our shared passion, the automobile.
And finally, I thank him for the advice he offered me.