Autocar, 19 October 2004
EditorMark Tisshaw
Circulation32,253 (Jan–Dec 2018)[1]
PublisherHaymarket Media Group
Founded1895; 129 years ago (1895)
CountryUnited Kingdom

Autocar (stylized in all caps) is a weekly British automobile magazine published by Haymarket Media Group. It was first published in 1895[2] and refers to itself as "the world's oldest car magazine".[3] Mark Tisshaw is editor and other team members include Steve Cropley, Rachel Burgess, James Attwood, Matt Prior, Matt Saunders and Felix Page.

Autocar has several international editions, including China, India, New Zealand, and South Africa.


1897 advert for Autocar
14 October 1932 issue

The publication was launched as The Autocar by Iliffe and Son Ltd.[4] "in the interests of the mechanically propelled road carriage" on 2 November 1895 when, it is believed, there were only six or seven cars in the United Kingdom. L. J. K. Setright[5] suggests that the magazine was set up by Henry Sturmey as an organ of propaganda for Harry J. Lawson, founder of the Daimler Company and a journalist on the magazine in its early days. Henry Sturmey stood down as editor of The Autocar magazine and left the company in 1901.[6]

Autocar claims to have invented the road test in 1928 when it analysed the Austin 7 Gordon England Sunshine Saloon. Autocar has been published weekly throughout its life with only strikes in the 1970s interrupting its frequency.

The magazine's name was changed from The Autocar to Autocar at the start of 1962.

In 1988 Autocar absorbed the rival magazine Motor, with which it had done battle on the newsstands since 1903. From the 7 September 1988 issue the magazine became Autocar & Motor. It reverted to Autocar for the 21 September 1994 issue.

The magazine has scored many firsts in its history, including the first full road tests and independent performance tests of the Jaguar XJ220, McLaren F1, and the Porsche 911 GT1.

It was also the first magazine to produce independently recorded performance figures for the Bugatti Veyron, which were published in the 31 May 2006 issue.

In 2023, Autocar digitised its entire archive dating back to 1895. The Autocar Archive is available to subscribers online.

Regular features

Writers and illustrators

In the 1950s, the magazine's sport editor, John Cooper, used Cooper T11 parts to create the Cooper-Alta.[7] Former Autocar writers include Russell Bulgin, Chris Harris, and former Top Gear presenter James May.[8]

In 1992, May was fired from Autocar after he added an acrostic into the 1992 "Road Test Yearbook". May had to write every review in the issue. Each spread featured four reviews and each review started with a big red capital letter known as a rubricated initial. May was bored and to alleviate the boredom, he wrote the reviews so the first four spreads would spell the words "ROAD", "TEST", "YEAR" and "BOOK". The other pages had another acrostic but that was not immediately recognizable as it was spread over the rest of the magazine, spelling seemingly random letters starting with "SOYO" and "UTHI". After it was published, readers discovered it. This was the one that got James May fired because it used profanity. The message, when punctuated was: "So you think it's really good, yeah? You should try making the bloody thing up; it's a real pain in the arse."[9]

Current Autocar writers include Richard Bremner, used car expert James Ruppert, Editor at Large Matt Prior and Editor in Chief Steve Cropley.

The current editor is Mark Tisshaw, a former deputy editor, news editor and reporter for the magazine.[10]


This list is incomplete; you can help by adding missing items. (December 2021)

1895–1901 Henry Sturmey

1901–?[after 1914] Herbert Walter Staner[11]

?–? Hugo Massac Thomas Buist[12]

1930–1938 Harold Carlisle Lafone[13]

1955–1968 Maurice Armstrong Smith[14][15]

1968–1975 Peter Garnier[16]

1975–1985 Ray Hutton[17]

?1985–?1991 Bob Murray[18]

1991–1997 Michael Harvey

1997–2001 Patrick Fuller

2001–2006 Rob Aherne

2006–2011 Chas Hallett (editor of What Car? 2011–2014)[19]

2011–2013 Jim Holder (editor of What Car? 2014–2016)

2014–2017 Chas Hallett

2017–present Mark Tisshaw[20][21]

International editions

Autocar has been licensed to publishers around the world, and is now published in sixteen countries outside the United Kingdom, including China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, and Vietnam.[22]


  1. ^ "Autocar". ABC.
  2. ^ "Car magazines in 1993". Magforum. Retrieved 2 April 2016.
  3. ^ "The online home of the world's oldest car magazine". Autocar. 28 September 2011. Retrieved 2 October 2011.
  4. ^ "Iliffe and Sons: 1920". Grace's Guide To British Industrial History. Retrieved 23 July 2022.
  5. ^ Setright, L. J. K. (2004). Drive On!: A Social History of the Motor Car. Granta Books. ISBN 1-86207-698-7.
  6. ^ "Iliffe and Sons". Grace's Guide To British Industrial History. Retrieved 23 July 2022.
  7. ^ Kettlewell, Mike. "Cooper: Forerunner of the Modern Racing Car", in Northey, Tom, editor. World of Automobiles (London: Phoebus, 1974), Volume 4, p. 430.
  8. ^ "James May - Autocar - a set on Flickr". Flickr. 21 May 2007. Retrieved 2 October 2011.
  9. ^ "Captain Slow takes the fast lane – TV & Radio – Entertainment". The Age. Melbourne. 19 June 2008. Retrieved 16 January 2020.
  10. ^ "Mark Tisshaw appointed new Autocar Editor". Haymarket. 1 February 2017. Archived from the original on 16 February 2018. Retrieved 16 February 2018.
  11. ^ "Herbert Walter Staner". Graces Guide. Retrieved 29 December 2021.
  12. ^ "Hugo Massac Thomas Buist". Graces Guide. Retrieved 29 December 2021.
  13. ^ "Harold Carlisle Lafone". Graces Guide. Retrieved 29 December 2021.
  14. ^ Burt, Matt (3 January 2017). "How Autocar's former editor predicted the self-driving car back in 1959". Autocar. Retrieved 29 December 2021.
  15. ^ "Maurice Armstrong Smith". Graces Guide. Retrieved 29 December 2021.
  16. ^ "Guild chairmen 1944-2020". Guild of Motoring Writers. Archived from the original on 29 December 2021. Retrieved 29 December 2021.
  17. ^ Cropley, Steve (25 August 2021). "Steve Cropley: New Jaguars, old Vauxhalls and reborn Lambos". Autocar. Retrieved 29 December 2021.
  18. ^ Barry, Ben (20 November 2020). "30 years of the original hell-raiser: Mike Kimberley recalls the battle to build the world-beating Lotus Carlton". Hagerty UK. Retrieved 29 December 2021.
  19. ^ "Editors of Haymarket titles What Car? and Autocar swap jobs, again". Press Gazette. 27 March 2014. Archived from the original on 30 October 2016. Retrieved 29 December 2021.
  20. ^ "Best job in motoring: Seven Autocar editors reveal their highlights". Autocar. 14 November 2020. Retrieved 29 December 2021.
  21. ^ "Mark Tisshaw appointed new Autocar Editor". Retrieved 29 December 2021.
  22. ^ "Haymarket Media Group - Magazine - Autocar". Haymarket. Archived from the original on 1 October 2011. Retrieved 2 October 2011.