Davis, David E., 1930-2011

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From the description of Passacaglio and fugue for brass quintet, 1974. (University of Virginia). WorldCat record id: 122465555

David E. Davis, Jr. changed the nature of automotive journalism with his role as the editor of Car and Driver and Automobile Magazine. When he collected some of his writing into a book, it was subtitled, "The collected wit and wisdom of the most influential automotive journalist of our time" ( Thus Spake David E., Troy, MI: Momentum Books, 1999).

Born in 1930 Davis became interested in cars as a young boy. After graduating from high school, he went to college but soon dropped out. He worked several different jobs, including a car salesman, and started racing sports cars in 1953. In 1955 however, he crashed during a race and suffered serious injuries to the left side of his face. After recovery and reconstructive surgery, he became involved in writing about rather than racing cars. He worked in advertising management for Road & Track from 1957 to 1960 when he was fired. He soon got a job working for the marketing agency Campbell-Ewald on their Corvette account.

In 1962 Davis left Campbell-Ewald for a position at Car and Driver . He served as editor and then publisher of the magazine until the backlash over a review he wrote of the BMW 2002 led to his resignation in 1967.

After leaving Car and Driver, Davis went back to Campbell-Ewald. In 1969 he was named Senior Vice-President and in 1971 Executive Vice President. In 1976 he returned to Car and Driver as the editor and publisher. He remained at Car and Driver for almost nine years until CBS acquired it from Ziff-Davis Publishing. Davis resigned from Car and Driver in 1985 over disagreements with CBS leadership decisions.

Shortly after resigning, Davis founded a new publication, Automobile Magazine, with a capital investment from Rupert Murdoch. The magazine was launched in 1986 and Davis led the magazine until the year 2000.

He continued to be involved in writing, however, for Automobile Magazine, Car and Driver, and other publications. In 2006 he became the Editor-in-chief of Winding Road, a new digital online automotive magazine. Throughout his career, he also gave speeches to groups ranging from industry leaders to sports car club members. In 2004 he delivered the commencement address at the University of Michigan and received an honorary doctorate in humane letters.

David E. Davis died in March 2011.

From the guide to the David E. Davis papers, 1960-2009., (Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Campbell-Ewald Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Chamberlain, Robert, b. 1607 person
associatedWith Fangio, Juan Manuel, 1911- person
associatedWith Jonson, Ben, 1573?-1637 person
associatedWith Matsuo, Bashō, 1644-1694 person
associatedWith Page, Curtis Hidden, 1870-1946. person
correspondedWith Provine, William B. person
associatedWith Shirley, James, 1596-1666 person
associatedWith Spectorsky, A. C. (Auguste C.), 1910-1972 person
associatedWith United States Sanitary Commission corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
Antique and classic cars
Automobile magazine
Automobile racing
Automotive journalists
Car and Driver
Choruses, Secular (Mixed voices, 4 parts) with piano
Quintets (Trumpets (2), horn, trombone, tuba)
Songs (Medium voice) with piano


Birth 1930-11-07

Death 2011-03-27



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