List: The Immortal Words Of David E. Davis, Jr.

By John Beltz Snyder

March 29, 2011


Instead of running around the car [a Jaguar XK-120M roadster] and opening the door, I vaulted over the rear deck, pivoting on my right arm and sliding neatly into the driver’s seat. For one instant, while I was airborne with the heel of my right hand on the center of the tonneau, it occurred to me that I would probably never look this good again. —WR13


I say the daily press should confine its troubled musings to the eternal issues, like skin blemishes, erectile dysfunction, and world peace. They have my permission to discuss the automobile business, but when they start talking about the automobiles themselves, they quickly get beyond their depth. —WR14


Sometimes, when I can’t sleep at night, I close my eyes and run movies of great cars on great roads on the insides of my eyelids. I can feel the lateral acceleration. I can sense the moment when they roll out of the brakes and re-establish their trajectory through the second half of the S-bend. I’d like to be as fast as my heroes, but I don’t mind the fact that I’m not. I’ll put my joy of driving up there against theirs any day. —WR15


I’m often asked how a young man or woman might prepare to seek a career in automotive journalism. My own preparation included dropping out of college, working in several automobile factories, and three years of club-level sports car racing which ended with me upside down under my race car and the left side of my face smeared all over the pavement. —WR16


There is no such thing as a bad automobile show. From GM’s early-Fifties Motorama to the 1954 Herb Shriner Show at New York’s Grand Central Palace, to the major international shows of the twenty-first century, I defy you to step across the threshold into that vast hall full of shiny cars and excited people and not feel your pulse kick up and your step quicken. —WR18


God does not charge us for hours spent driving before breakfast. —WR22


Every time I meet some new car that intrigues me, one of my first thoughts is, “What’ll it be like on the run from New York to Los Angeles?” And, just often enough to keep the mind alive, I get to find out. —WR27


Some experiences are hard to describe, but the experience of hurrying down a high-crowned country road—in some places little more than a country lane—driving just fast enough that you’re unwilling to look down at the speedometer; being able to see three distinct changes of direction coming up in the next half-mile; is sheer paradise. —WR28


I have owned one Ferrari, a 328 GTS. I liked it, but I never really loved it. When a raccoon suffering from claustrophobia was locked inside, following an all-day detailing session, the resulting destruction further reduced any real affection I felt for that car. —WR30


Before knocking himself cold, he [author George V. Higgins] abruptly faced me and demanded to know, “What would you change about your life?” I thought for a moment, then replied, “Nothing.” At the top of his lungs, he yelled, “That’s the answer!” and swatted me on the shoulder. He’s been dead for years, but he was right then, drunk as he was, and he’d be right today. Bless his petrified liver. —WR31

Instead I Sometimes, I’m There God Every Some I Before

Our former Editor-In-Chief and pillar of automotive journalism, David E. Davis, Jr., died this week. His influence lives on, especially in the form of elegantly crafted words about the cars and great driving that were his passion. Here, collected from back issues of Winding Road, are some of the timeless thoughts David E. shared with his readers.