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See also Autocar Company and Autocars Co., American and Israeli automobile manufacturers, respectively
see Otokar for the Turkish automobile manufacturer

Autocar magazine logo
Categories Automobile
Frequency Weekly
Circulation 47,646 (ABC Jan–Jun 2010)[1]
Publisher Haymarket Group
First issue 1895
Country United Kingdom
Language English

Autocar is a weekly British automobile magazine published by Haymarket Motoring Publications Ltd. It refers to itself as "The World's oldest car magazine".[2]


The publication was launched as The Autocar "in the interests of the mechanically propelled road carriage" on 2 November 1895 when, it is believed, there were only six or seven cars in the United Kingdom. In his book Drive On![3] L. J. K. Setright suggests that the magazine was set up as an organ of propaganda for Harry J. Lawson, founder of the Daimler Motor Company and a journalist on the magazine in its early days. Autocar claims to have invented the road test in 1928 when it analysed the Austin 7 Gordon England Sunshine Saloon. Autocar has been published weekly throughout its life with only strikes in the 1970s interrupting its frequency. In 1988, it absorbed its long-time rival The Motor magazine, founded on 28 January 1903, briefly calling itself Autocar & Motor afterwards, before reverting to Autocar. The magazine has scored many firsts in its history including the first full road tests and independent performance tests of the Jaguar XJ220, McLaren F1, and the Porsche 911 GT1. It was also the first magazine to produce independently recorded performance figures for the Bugatti Veyron, which were published in the 31 May 2006 issue.

Regular features

  • News – includes "scoop" photographs and information about still-secret future models.
  • First drives – brief road tests of new models.
  • Motorsport – summaries of current racing news, predominantly in Formula 1 and rallying.
  • Road tests – Thorough test and analysis of one new model per issue. In the issue closest to Christmas, Autocar traditionally publishes a "road test" of a more unusual vehicle. These have included tests of HMS Ark Royal, Concorde, and HMS Diamond.
  • Used car news
  • Long term car tests


Former Autocar writers have included Russell Bulgin, Chris Harris and Top Gear presenter James May who was fired from the magazine in 1992 for putting a hidden message in a supplement hinting at the tedium he had experienced whilst compiling it.[4]

Current Autocar writers include Steve Sutcliffe, Richard Bremner, Formula 1 journalist Alan Henry, used-car expert James Ruppert, and Editor-in-Chief Steve Cropley.

The current editor is Chas Hallett.

International editions

Autocar has been licensed to publishers around the world and is now published in, amongst others, Japan, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, and China.[1]


In 1952 The Autocar retailed for one shilling, equivalent to five pence in post decimalization British currency. In 1968 the cover price of Autocar was increased from two shillings to two shillings and six pence[5] (equivalent to a post decimalisation increase from ten pence to twelve and a half pence). By 1972 the price had increased fivefold in the two decades since 1952, to 25p.[6] As of 2010 the magazine sells for £2.80.


  1. 1.0 1.1
  3. Setright, L. J. K. (2004). Drive On!: A Social History of the Motor Car. Granta Books. ISBN 1-86207-698-7. 
  5. "News and Views: Autocar 2s 6d", Autocar. 128 (nbr 3752): page 59. date 11 January 1968. 
  6. Autocar. 146 (nbr 4203): pages 58–61. date 28 May 1977. 

External links

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