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2005 ICOTY Awards Lifetime Achievement


2006 Recipient: David E. Davis, Jr.
David E. Davis, Jr.

In 2004, RTM introduced an award to honor people… people who write about cars and trucks… but not just any people. ROAD & TRAVEL MAGAZINE'S Lifetime Achievement Award is about honoring those who have achieved a lifetime of outstanding contributions to our industry.

RTM's 3rd annual recipient has done that and more…

Called "the dean of automotive journalists" by none other than Time Magazine, and recognized for his unique writing skills, his obsession with all things automotive, his love of magazine editing and his bon vivant if not flamboyant lifestyle, David E. Davis has for nearly six decades been an automotive journalist to be reckoned with by carmakers and to be read and cultishly followed by car enthusiasts around the globe.

A self-described college dropout (actually, he was kind of thrown out of Olivet college, but that's another story), David is probably best known for literally losing half his face in a racing adventure in his M.G. in Sacramento nearly fifty years ago -- and living to tell the tale.

And how he's told it! Not just the tale of his short-lived racing career but, more importantly, of his lifelong love affair with all things automotive. From his days at Road & Track to his copywriting days on corvette at Campbell-Ewald advertising to his reinvention of car & driver and his founding of Automobile magazine, David has entertained and educated literally millions of readers with his insights and observations about cars and the people who build and drive them, his criticisms and praise, and his tales of the good and sometimes not-so-good life that goes with it all.

A master storyteller and a friend to probably every important automotive executive and race car driver of the past several decades - and a mentor to many of them - David E. is a man's man and a driver's driver.

Not without ego, in his book entitled, "thus spake David E.," RTM's 3rd lifetime honoree offered the following advice: "Get rich. Get rich. Then sleep 'til noon and screw 'em all!"

Maybe he thought about sleeping because that's what he was doing at 7 a.m. that fateful day back in 1985 when Rupert Murdoch rattled him out of bed and asked him to launch what ultimately became automobile magazine. "Don't lose more than $4 million in year one or I'll fire you," Murdoch said. "And don't make less than $1 million in year four or I'll fire you."

David didn't do either but Murdoch didn't fire him, which, David says, proves that you can't trust anyone!

Recipient of an honorary doctorate in humane letters from the university of Michigan in 2004 (he finally got a degree!) Doctor Davis is truly one of the finest writers -- of anything - in our generation. Ever since he saw his first black jaguar XK 120 back in 1949 he's been hooked on cars and writing about them for our delight. But as one reviewer of his book noted, he doesn't just write about cars. He also writes poignantly about "the joys of living life to its fullest wherever you find it."

I think David's fellow journalist and friend, David Halberstram, summed up the man we honor tonight the very best when he wrote: "for six decades he has been the most important and authentic voice of one of America's great industries - alternately enthusiast, scold, nag and lover, depending more on the performance of the industry itself than the whim and mood of the writer…a great, uniquely American voice for a great, uniquely American industry.

Special Video Testimonials From:

Carroll Shelby - President, Carroll Shelby Enterprises, Inc.
Rick Wagoner, Chairman & CEO, General Motors Corporation
Tom Purves, Chairman & CEO, BMW North America
Jim Press, President and COO, Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.
Barry Meguiar, President and CEO of Meguiar's, Inc.
Bonnie Foster, Executive Creative Director/Sr. Partner, Brogan & Partners

2006 ICOTY Awards Links