is a weekly British automobile magazine
An automobile magazine is a magazine with news and reports on automobiles and the automobile industry. Automobile magazines may feature new car tests and comparisons, which describe advantages and disadvantages of similar models; future models speculations, confidential information and "spyshots"...
published by Haymarket Motoring Publications Ltd
Haymarket Media Group is a privately owned media company headquartered in London, United Kingdom. It has offices in Australia, Belgium, China, Germany, India, Japan, Singapore and the United States....
. It refers to itself as "The World's oldest car magazine".
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! L. J. K. Setright
Leonard John Kensell Setright was an English motoring journalist and author.Born of Australian parents in London, his father Henry Roy Setright, was an engineer who invented the Setright ticket machine used on buses and trams. Setright studied Law at the University of London and practised for a...
suggests that the magazine was set up as an organ of propaganda for Harry J. Lawson, founder of the Daimler Motor Company
The Daimler Motor Company Limited was an independent British motor vehicle manufacturer founded in London by H J Lawson in 1896, which set up its manufacturing base in Coventry. The right to the use of the name Daimler had been purchased simultaneously from Gottlieb Daimler and Daimler Motoren...
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
The Austin 7 was a car produced from 1922 through to 1939 in the United Kingdom by the Austin Motor Company. Nicknamed the "Baby Austin", it was one of the most popular cars ever produced for the British market, and sold well abroad...
Gordon England was a British coachbuilding company based in Putney, South West London and Wembley, North London..E. C. Gordon England started work as an apprentice in the railway industry and went on to work in aircraft manufacture rising to works manager at Bristol during World War I.After the war...
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
The Motor was a British weekly car magazine founded on 28 January 1903....
, 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
The Jaguar XJ220 is a mid-engined supercar produced by Jaguar in collaboration with Tom Walkinshaw Racing as Jaguar Sport between 1992 and 1994. It held the record for the highest top speed of a production car , until the arrival of the McLaren F1 in 1994...
, McLaren F1
The McLaren F1 is a supercar designed and manufactured by McLaren Automotive. Originally a concept conceived by Gordon Murray, he convinced Ron Dennis to back the project and engaged Peter Stevens to design the exterior of the car...
, and the Porsche 911 GT1
The Porsche 911 GT1 was a car designed for competition in the GT1 class of sportscar racing, which also required a street legal version for homologation purposes...
. It was also the first magazine to produce independently recorded performance figures for the Bugatti Veyron
The Bugatti Veyron EB 16.4 is a mid-engined grand touring car. The Super Sport version is the fastest road-legal production car in the world, with a top speed of . The original version has a top speed of...
, which were published in the 31 May 2006 issue.
- 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
HMS Ark Royal is a decommissioned light aircraft carrier and former flagship of the Royal Navy. She was the third and final vessel of Invincible-class...
Aérospatiale-BAC Concorde was a turbojet-powered supersonic passenger airliner, a supersonic transport . It was a product of an Anglo-French government treaty, combining the manufacturing efforts of Aérospatiale and the British Aircraft Corporation...
, and HMS Diamond
HMS Diamond is the third ship of the Type 45 or 'D' class of air defence destroyer built for the Royal Navy. She was launched in 2007, completed her contractor's sea trials in July 2010 and arrived at her base port on 22 September 2010...
- Used car news
- Long term car tests
In the 1950s, the magazine's Sport Editor, John Cooper, used Cooper T11
The Cooper Mark IV was a Formula Three and Formula Two racing car designed and built by the Cooper Car Company at Surbiton, Surrey, England, in 1950.Following the adoption of the 500cc formula for F3 in 1949, Cooper evolved the Mark III to use a JAP single....
parts to create the Cooper-Alta.
writers have included Russell Bulgin
Russell Bulgin was an automotive journalist.He worked for many of the world's leading magazines including Evo, Car, Autocar, Cars and Car Conversions, Motor Sport and also newspapers such as the Daily Telegraph...
, Chris Harris and Top Gear
Top Gear is a British television series about motor vehicles, primarily cars. It began in 1977 as a conventional motoring magazine show. Over time, and especially since a relaunch in 2002, it has developed a quirky, humorous style...
presenter James May
James Daniel May is an English television presenter, journalist and writer. He is best known for his role as co-presenter of the award-winning motoring programme Top Gear alongside Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond....
who was fired from the magazine in 1992 for putting a hidden message
A hidden message is information that is not immediately noticeable, and that must be discovered or uncovered and interpreted before it can be known...
in a supplement hinting at the tedium he had experienced whilst compiling it.
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 Jim Holder.
has been licensed to publishers around the world and is now published in, amongst others, Japan, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, and China.
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 (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. In 1992, the price was £1.25. As of 2010 the magazine sells for £2.80.