Road and Track was founded in 1947 by two Long Island, New York sports car enthusiasts, Wilfred H. Brehaut, Jr. and Joseph S. Fennessy. The first issue was published in June, 1947. At the time of the second issue in May 1948, the two founders had relocated to Burbank, California and added Oliver Billingsley as the third co-editor. But in late 1949, the title was owned by Enthusiasts Publications at 540 W. Colorado, Glendale California. The editor was Oliver Billingsley, and the technical editor was John R. Bond. Road and Track had originally struggled with consistent publication in the beginning, but by 1950 it was on a good path.
In 1952, Mr. Bond became the new owner with his wife Elaine. Elaine ran the business end of the magazine while John focused on content. This was one of the first automotive magazines to take a quality approach to automotive journalism. Elaine liked the New Yorker magazine, so that was the inspiration and model for Road and Track under their leadership. They introduced a redesigned format and added an ampersand in the title in March 1954, so it became Road & Track.
In January, 1972, CBS purchased Road & Track from John and Elaine Bond. CBS had previously purchased Field and Stream with great success, so the parent company authorized the purchase of Road & Track from Bond Publishing and Cycle World from Parkhurst Publishing. A new entity was formed to manage these titles, Bond-Parkhurst. The Bonds stayed on the executive staff, and Road & Track was managed by James Crow (Editor-in-Chief) and Ron Wakefield (Editor). In 1974, the managing entity became CBS Publications-West with John and Elaine Bond still functioning as the publishers and Mr Wakefield as editor.
In 1975 and 1976 there were more changes as the organization moved through a leadership transition. Tony Hogg became the editor, Richard Barkus became the publisher, and John and Elaine Bond moved to consulting then emeritus roles.
CBS later sold the title to Hachette Filipacchi Media in 1988. It was sold again to Hearst Magazines, and offices were moved from the long established Newport Beach, California location to Ann Arbor, Michigan in 2012. Offices moved again in 2016 to New York City. Finally, in August 2020 the magazine went to a six times per year publishing schedule.
The publisher provided net paid circulation data to various periodical compendia from 1951 to 2005 (which is the last year for which we have data at this time). Over this time period, annual print production grew from 224,000 to 1,600,000, a seven fold increase. Road & Track is an enduring brand that has always been in the top 5 automotive titles based on circulation data.
Only images through 1990 are included at this time, but in this timeframe all cover images are complete.