Peter Egan is one of the people who is near legendary to many car folk, especially those of us even slightly involved in the writing or publishing end of things. As a longtime columnist and writer for Road & Track magazine, he represented the thoughts, aspirations, and tribulations of so many British car enthusiasts that he might as well be given prophet status. He will be inducted into the British Sports Car Hall of Fame on June 2, 2017.
Peter Egan was born in Wisconsin in 1948. He became a sports car fan early on through magazines and the by attending races at Elkhart Lake. After a short stint in the Army, Egan married and began work at Foreign Car Specialists in Madison, Wisconsin. His love of all things motorized has propelled him from that point onward.
Although he never graduated college, Egan’s writing has been described as some of the best automotive writing ever produced. His brand of creative non-fiction emphasizes humor and personal experience in a way that is both self-effacing and immediately identifiable. Many of Egan’s Road & Track fans never realized that in actuality he got his start at Cycle World with a freelance article about a motorcycle trip. Yes, Egan goes both ways – automobiles and motorcycles. He even dabbles with airplanes to make a full picture.
His road tests and race reporting for both RT and CW made him a staple of the magazines, but it is his columns that brought him legions of fans. Through his honest, sometimes painfully honest, descriptions of the trials and tribulations of being a motor enthusiast, he made it clear to many that we are not alone. I myself owe much of my aspirations and adventures to the influence of Peter Egan. In fact, it was my girlfriend-now-wife’s reaction to one of his columns that solidified in my mind that she was the one for me. If she could see both the humor in the charm of Egan’s relating of British car mechanical woes, then she could put up with me.
Although no longer a “regular” writer for Road & Track, many of his columns have been collected into book form. Additionally, Egan still contributes articles from time to time, especially if they involve interesting trips in interesting cars. I have it on good authority that he will be making the trip to the Hall of Fame ceremonies in the Morgan that he is restoring. Wisconsin to Virginia in a vintage Morgan – sounds like a great trip that will make for an excellent article.
Note: This is part of an ongoing series focusing on the 23 individuals who will be inducted into the British Sports Car Hall of Fame in ceremonies on June 2nd, 2017, at the Hall of Fame in Petersburg, VA.