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 who later purchased the title.
As a side note, the staff included an art director who was a recent college graduate, Louis Kimzey. He convinced Mr. Billingsley to create a publication about hot rods and customs, and this is how Hop Up was formed.
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.
The publisher introduced a redesigned format and added an ampersand in the title in March 1954, so it became Road & Track.
In the time period from 1952 through 1990, Road & Track ranked in the top five among automotive titles that provided circulation details. It started with a monthly print volume of 18,600 and grew to a peak of 128,500 in 1988. From this point forward, average monthly net paid circulation fell. The title competed head-to-head with Motor Trend, Hot Rod and Car and Driver.