AP photo
They are two highly educated guys, schooled at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, with a shop in Cambridge Mass., the home of Harvard. But they sound like two schlubs who did nothing short of changing the way generations of car owners thought about their vehicles.

And they are calling it quits.

Tom and Ray Magliozzi, "Click and Clack the Tappet Brothers", who host National Pubic Radio's Car Talk, are retiring. Come September, Ray, 63, and Tom, 74, will no longer record new programs; though NPR will re-run their shows indefinitely.

"My brother has always been 'work-averse,' " says Ray, 63. "Now, apparently, even the one hour a week is killing him!"

"It's brutal!" adds Tom, 74.

The brothers, who amuse and inform their listeners every week about how to deal with their broken cars and trucks or advise them on what vehicles they should buy, have been taping the show in Boston for 35 years. The show has been a mainstay on member stations for 25 years, and is the most popular hour on many of those stations.

It is such a valuable franchise for public radio that the NPR production crew will continue to stay employed, producing shows off the existing library of shows.

"I rank these guys up their with Peanuts creator Charles Schultz," says AOL Autos Editor-in-Chief David Kiley. "And just like when Schultz hung up his pens, newspapers that did not want to discontinue the Peanuts strip have kept running them in re-run and probably always will until the last newspaper with a comic section rolls off the presses."

"The Magliozzi's are total originals," says Kiley. "They combined humor and solid, knowledgeable information about everything from how to keep mice from infiltrating a car's wiring harness to whether or not people should marry a certain person based on that person's driving habits and choice of vehicle."

They sound like Boston "Southy" guys cackling through shows, laughing at their own commentary and their callers. But, in truth, both are extremely well educated and first-rate mechanics. Ray Magliozzi has a bachelor of science degree in humanities and science from MIT, and Tom has a bachelor of science degree in economics from MIT and an MBA from the Boston University Graduate School of Management.

As popular as Car Talk has been, it didn't always translate well beyond the NPR airwaves. The show was the inspiration for the short-lived The George Wendt Show, which aired on CBS in the 1995-96 season. PBS bang running an animated adaptation of Car Talk to air on prime-time in 2008, Click and Clack's "As The Wrench Turns," based on the adventures of the fictional Click and Clack brothers. Reviews have not been wonderful.

Car Talk: The Musical!!! was written and directed by Wesley Savick, and composed by Michael Wartofsky. The adaptation was presented by Suffolk University, and opened on March 31, 2011, at the Modern Theatre in Boston, Massachusetts. The play was not officially endorsed by the brothers, but they participated in the production, lending their voices to a central puppet character named "The Wizard of Cahs". The musical ran until April 3, 2011.

Share This Photo X