September, 1954—From the Contents page cover blurb: With these heady ingredients—a German Porsche Super, a Swedish Hasselblad camera, and a bright California wall—Photographer Rolofson has created a masterful "piece-de-resistance" for our September cover.
November, 1956—From the Contents page cover blurb: Through the bright flowered parks of Turin, home of Italy's great "carozzerias," drive some of the world's most advanced automobiles. Pictured on our November cover is Pinin Farina's "Super-Flow" Alfa Romeo (page 31) with transparent front fenders of plastic.
June, 1958—From the Contents page cover blurb: The French Citroen ID-19 is posed in a Riviera-like setting in California's Pacific Palisades. Adding her charms to the scene is lovely Mme. Colette Garnier, also of Paris. The Ektachrome cover is by Raph Poole.
M Y C O L L E C T I O N — Perusing a few cartons of old car magazines I've had packed away, I found several years of Road & Track published in the 1950s. Scanned for your viewing pleasure, lol, you'll find issues posted here from 1954, '56 and '58. The covers are so elegantly stark compared with today's over-designed travesties, it's really an eye opener.
I've designed magazines in the past, fashion magazines for Fairchild Publications in NYC, yachting publications for Embassy publications, and books of all sorts for GPP, Lyons and Falcon, so I feel I'm qualified to call the font-heavy, graphics-heavy, photoshop-filter-heavy covers of today a total mess. They are mostly a tribute to poorly understood software and a need to "one-up" the recent graphics grad sitting next to you, rather than any sort of aesthetic understanding of the subject matter. No matter what publication I worked for in my almost 30 year career, I almost always found that the majority of people in the art department were always working towards the next job, never really understanding their current publication and it's requirements.
The back pages are just as interesting to me as the front covers. Jaguar frequently bought the back cover of R&T and you'll find two of their full page ads here, a full color studio shot, complete with haute couture and a live feline, and a black-and-white exterior shot using examples of the "typical" Jaguar owner; a handsome airline pilot, a doctor, and various stereotypical well-to-do people, with a chauffeur bringing up the rear. You'll also see an illustrated two-color ad for the then-new Triumph TR-2, an example of an almost simplistically enlarged newspaper ad for the venerable British marque.
For a bit more information on the beyond-fabulous Alfa "Super-Flow" click here. It doesn't seem to have survived to the present day, but there were others in the series that did.