Simanaitis Says

On cars, old, new and future; science & technology; vintage airplanes, computer flight simulation of them; Sherlockiana; our English language; travel; and other stuff


WHAT WITH the current brouhaha concerning the alternative-fact March 1, 2009, Time magazine cover, I should like to go on record that my eight, possibly nine, covers of R&T are all legit. What’s more, each comes with a story, several of which have already appeared here at SimanaitisSays.

I had just started working at R&T when I drove the Dome P-2 Japanese exotic in 1979. This mid-engine prototype never came to production, though the name Dome lived on with several cars that were raced at Le Mans, 1979–1986.

Dome P-2, photographed at Orange County International Raceway, for the R&T cover, September 1979.

The cover shoot took place at Orange County International Raceway, not far from our Newport Beach, California, offices. OCIR was also the first home of the Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving, 1968.

Back in the 1980s, it was no embarrassment in putting mere production cars on the cover, provided, of course, they had sufficient enthusiast’s redeeming social value.

A Pontiac 6000STE was pitted against an Audi 5000 Turbo, October 1982.

My next cover appearance came in October 1982, with a skidpad shot of the Pontiac 6000STE. (Say, Oldtimer, do you remember GM’s high-performance Pontiac Division?) A bit of the skidpad’s 200-ft.-diameter circle can be seen in the Pontiac photo.

Six Sports Coupes, April 1983.

In April 1983, I showed up six times on the cover, the background suggesting OCIR. My best grimace seems to be with the Mercury Capri RS’s oversteer; a car’s worst grimace, the Audi GT Coupe’s extreme push.

Nissan 300ZX T-Top, November 1983. Is this me?

The Nissan 300ZX T-Top photo from November 1983 might be a doppelgänger. Those shoulders sure look familiar and the haircut is right. But, alas, I don’t recognize the attractive young lady in the passenger seat.

Lotus Turbo Esprit chases Honda Civic CRX, December 1983.

I’m certain I’m in the oversteering Lotus chasing the Honda Civic CRX in December 1983. I believe the CRX’s driver is editor John Dinkel.

As noted in the cover blurb, the CRX cost $42,000 less than the Lotus, but produced better numbers on both the skidpad (0.813 vs. 0.811) and the slalom (64.0 mph vs. 62.2 mph).

The May 1985 cover was photographed on a Swedish Air Force runway in mid-winter. There, the Saab Turbo 16 EV-1 concept car and I encountered a low-flying Saab Viggen fighter.

Saab Turbo 16 EV-1 and Viggen fighter, May 1985.

So low was the Viggen that I reported “Hell’s own fury… redolent of kerosene and a flash of heat in the sub-zero temperature.”

March 1989 was a twofer for me: I had driven both the all-new Nissan 300ZX and, two different trips actually, the Mazda MX-5 Miata in Japan as part of their world introductions.

Nissan 300ZX and Mazda MX-5 Miata, March 1989.

I’ve had other non-cover adventures with Miatas, including the Lowes Monte Carlo Caper. (Now there’s a cover!)

Daihatsu X-021, July 1992.

My penultimate cover came in 1992, when I drove a Daihatsu X-021 concept car at the company’s proving grounds in Japan. This was at the peak of my Japanese language study. I recall commenting to engineers, in 日本語, that the rain had stopped and, thus, they’d allow the car outside for photography.

Ferrari F355 Spider, Acura NSX-T, and Porsche 911 Targa, June 1996.

The cover shot for R&T’s “Topless Turn-Ons” even earned me a less than complementary letter concerning my Tilley hat, worn to ward off deadly sunstroke. A reader suggested I ditch the “Aunt Bee” headgear.


As the magazine evolved, R&T put more emphasis on sexy exoticars, ads for pheromones, male enhancements, and other stuff. Aunt Bee’s hat and I never made the R&T cover again.

Nor did I ever make Time. It was good fun, though. And it wasn’t phony-baloney. ds

© Dennis Simanaitis,, 2017


  1. jlalbrecht64
    June 29, 2017

    Nice. That is 8 (maybe nine) more magazine covers than I’ll ever be on! Good for you. I always enjoyed your writing as a fellow engineer and automotive enthusiast. Obviously I still do.

  2. RB
    June 29, 2017

    Great memories all!

  3. kkollwitz
    June 30, 2017

    I well remember the 12/83 issue- the Lotus ran a “blindingly quick” 0-60 of 6.6 seconds. But my budget meant I soon bought the first of two CRXs. Later on, I upgraded the Crux with front and rear bars, headers, and freeflow exhaust. I was the scourge of my class in autocross.

  4. Shinji Iwase
    June 30, 2017

    Hi! Dennis

    It Shinji from Japan!

    Do you know? The engine of Dome was the engine of KE007(’76 F1 final round in Japan). No.243 DFV. It went cheap by Terrell.

    And Dome means child’s dream.

    • Shinji Iwase
      June 30, 2017

      Maybe Japanese Boy’s dream. Mr.Hayashi’s Dream.

      • simanaitissays
        July 1, 2017

        Hi, Shinji,
        Good to hear from you. I confess, I don’t follow F1 as much as I did in “the old days.” Those days were special. — Dennis

      • Shinji Iwase
        July 3, 2017

        me too.

  5. Doug Kott
    July 3, 2017

    Hi Dennis,

    I never came close to your cover count, but my own favorite was the 993 Turbo cover at Thunder Hill racetrack (up on two wheels over the curbing, cresting The Cyclone), and the C6 Vette Convertible shot we did outside Las Vegas in the Valley of Fire.

    Those covers bring back lots of great memories, my friend! So nice seeing you and Dottie at our recent lunch.


  6. simanaitissays
    July 3, 2017

    Great seeing you, Doug.

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