From the very beginning, the Car of the Year award has always been a unique time capsule for Motor Trend. In only our third issue, we had the gumption to select the 1949 Cadillac as Car of the Year over rivals from Ford and Oldsmobile. The arguments focused almost exclusively on the advancements made in Cadillac’s all-new V-8 engine (overhead valves, shorter stroke, and lighter, more compact design) and were supported by technical drawings of crankshaft and piston assemblies along with graphs plotting the “trends in design characteristic of Cadillac engines” from 1916 to three years into the future (1952). What was trending for Cadillac in ’49? A steady rise in horsepower per cubic inch and lockstep declines in stroke versus bore ratio and pounds per horsepower.
From humble beginnings in that November 1949 issue, Car of the Year has evolved into a triumvirate of vehicular awards and an annual gut-busting rite of passage for the staff. The pages that follow are a concise distillation of the 10-week Of The Year season and contain the boldest, most forward-looking statements we make as a team—declarations we hope will resonate for the decades to come. In choosing only one Car, Truck, and SUV of the Year, we not only put each winning manufacturer on a pedestal, but we also put our process and judgment up for close examination.
Ranking the men and women who drive the automotive industry forward requires a similar force of effort. We survey the landscape and cull from the thousands of movers and shakers a list of the 50 highest performers. Our scalpel? Merely the question: “What have you done lately?” The leader whose results speak for themselves sits atop this power list as our Person of the Year.
Three years ago, we decided to make the January issue a special edition focused on all four Of The Year awards. It has become our yearbook, and for 2018 we log the beginning of another chapter. The January issue marks the first one created by the joint venture between The Enthusiast Network (our parent company) and Discovery Communications. The ink is only just beginning to dry on this deal, but our new venture involves storied brands you already know, our brothers-in-arms at Hot Rod, Automobile, Truckin’, Super Street, among many others, and the Velocity channel and its stable of familiar entertainment properties, including Wheeler Dealers, Bitchin’ Rides, and Garage Squad.
As you’ve known for years, Motor Trend is more than just a magazine, website, YouTube channel, and Facebook page. We’ve been investing in online video for more than a dozen years, and the fruits of that labor are the shows you already know and love—such as Ignition, Head 2 Head, Dirt Every Day, and Roadkill. By combining forces with Discovery Communications and Velocity, we are poised to take a giant leap in the evolution of automotive entertainment in a space we’ve carved out called MotorTrendOnDemand.com. I’ll spare you the bigger, better, faster, more superlatives, but just know that although big changes are on the way, our mission remains the same: Deliver the highest-quality, most accurate, informative, and compelling automotive content on the planet.
Heartfelt congratulations to our 2018 Of The Year winners, and thanks to you for your continued support.
Read about our winners here:
***Special thanks to the 11 staffers who attended Best Driver’s Car and all of the Of The Year programs this year: Alisa Priddle, Brian Vance, Chris Walton, Christian Seabaugh, Cory Lutz, Darren Martin, Erick Ayapana, Jade Nelson, Kim Reynolds, Mark Rechtin, and Robin Trajano.