David E. Davis, Jr., Dean of automotive journalism, dead at 80

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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