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David E. Davis, Jr. has died at age 80. The longtime Car and Driver editor, Automobile Magazine founder and man with his fingerprints all over this great business of ours passed away unexpectedly after complications from bladder surgery at 5:15pm Eastern on Sunday. A hugely witty man with a talent for honing a magazine's voice and recognizing and refining talent in those around him, Davis stands among the founding fathers of modern automotive journalism.
In recent years, Davis had returned to C/D as a columnist after helping to get pioneering digital auto magazine, Winding Road, off the ground. He has held sway over nearly every great print title in the American auto journalism world at one point or another, including Road & Track and Motor Trend, and earlier in his professional life, he cultivated a distinguished career in the automotive ad business, where he was instrumental in the creation of General Motors' seminal "Baseball, Hot Dogs, Apple Pie and Chevrolet" campaign, among others.

As an editor, publisher, ad man, racer, mentor and raconteur extraordinaire, Davis leaves an indelible mark on the industry. As a family man, he leaves behind his beloved wife, Jeannie, a daughter and two sons, including our own European Editor, Matt Davis.

Ever eloquent, where others might simply inquire "How are you?", Davis was known for asking colleagues and friends "Is your life a rich tapestry?" Davis' own life was certainly a vibrant and detailed work of art. Everyone in auto world owes this icon a debt of gratitude... and some of us even owe him our careers.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      Oh my! Oh my......my hero! How long have we read David E. Davis? I go back to the early days in the 60's. Thank you David E. for sharing your knowledge, insights and wit about cars, and about life. You made this world, and our world of automotive enthusiasm, a better place. You will be missed. RIP David E. Davis.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I started reading him about 1964-65 when I was 7 or so. His words have shaped so much of my life, loving cars and working in publishing my entire career. I'm at a loss for words.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I usually feel miserable on Mondays not because of the Monday morning blues, but because bad news seem to occur. This is terrible.

      You can't always change the course of life, but still, death is always hard to accept. Having read everything David was been involved with throughout his career makes you feel like he was more than just a journalist, but also a close friend and part of the family. I extend prayers and condolences to the family and all whose lives David has influenced.

      Farewell, good friend.

      • 4 Years Ago

      To your friends, family and readers will remember you, your words and most of all, your stories.


      David Harris
      • 4 Years Ago
      Watch this video?

      RIP - but was holding in a big grudge, angry feelings... he talks about not being bothered by someone meeting an untimely death...


        • 4 Years Ago
        Have a little respect, muckraker. Voted down.

        Jean Jennings, as of late sounds like she would sell her soul to hawk a product she didn't believe in. So I'm thinking a little "Et tu, Brute?" isn't out of the realm of possibility with that girl and DED.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Jean Jennings has publicly forgiven those words. They hugged at Amelia Island two weeks ago. They moved on. You should too. It's almost inappropriate to mention such things at the announcement of someone's passing.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Here is a similar story

      While he seldom wrote about pickups, Davis had this to say about the 1953 Ford F-100: "Every comfortable, driver-friendly pickup on the road today owes its existence to the original Ford F-100," wrote Davis in 1996 when Automobile named its "24 Most Important Automobiles of the Century." "Until the appearance of the restyled F-100 pickup, trucks were thought suitable only for commercial uses. But this was the first truck planned, styled, and engineered by a corporate management team, and suddenly pickups became an alternative for personal transportation."
      • 4 Years Ago
      Very sad! My favorite automotive writer since I first started reading Car and Driver back while in high school in the late 70's. I had two opportunities to meet Mr. Davis during the 80's and he was a true gentlemen. The first time was in the early 80's while at college. Mr. Davis was speaking at Central Michigan University at a journalism seminar and it was open to anyone so I decided to attend. I distinctly remember he picked up the name card that faced the audience and took out a marker and added “Jr.” to his name. To this day I have always made sure I include “Jr.” at the end of my name. Something I had never done to that point in time! The second time was at the University of Michigan where Mr. Davis was a guest speaker at an SAE student event. I was able to speak with him again and was able to get my first issue of Automobile magazine autographed!

      Reading David E. Davis, Jr. was always an adventure, educational, humorous, and a reminder of just how poor my writing skills have always been.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Rest in peace, David E. You will be missed. And condolences to his family.
      • 4 Years Ago
      He wrote such great articles and I always loved his mustache...

        • 4 Years Ago
        Man. I really enjoyed his articles.

        • 4 Years Ago
        Ah, that sucks. I grew up reading him in Automobile, and followed him to Winding Road. He was one of the all time greats, much love & respect DED.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I started checking out C&D magazines from the library of my high school in the mid 70's. David E. kept a staff of scribes that not only drove, but could write as well. I kept a dictionary handy while reading. Necessary since these guys used words gearheads would not normally use. I swear, I learned more about sentence structure in C&D than in english class. And the project cars, they were alway modifying or racing something!
        David had an influence on every major american magazine, and created a few along the way. He also had an influence on a young boy in high school. And for that, he will be sorely missed.
        • 4 Years Ago
        A true pioneer in automotive journalism. He and his contributions will certainly be missed.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Definitely one of my favorite car magazine contributors, appreciated his style and perspective. He will be missed.
      • 4 Years Ago
      RIP Mr. Davis. Thanks for showing me that you can get paid for writing about cars all day long. If it weren't for the inspiration provided by you and others I wouldn't have the job I do toady.

      Thanks again Mr. Davis!
      • 4 Years Ago
      We lost another true "car guy". I suggest that you buy his book "Thus Spake David E."
      You will enjoy his wit and wisdom. Godspeed David E.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Enjoyed every one of his articles from many years of subscriptions to Car & Driver and Automobile magazines. You will be missed.

      Godspeed Mr Davis!
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