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

About the Author

Thanks sincerely for coming by.

Dennis Simanaitis sees this website as an opportunity to share enthusiasms with kind readers, including those who followed his 33-year career as Engineering Editor at Road & Track magazine. Before that, he worked for the Society of Automotive Engineers (now SAE International). He was Associate Engineering Editor for its monthly Automotive Engineering magazine; later he served as Manager of its Member Relations Division. An earlier career was teaching mathematics at the College of the Virgin Islands on St. Thomas. His educational background is in this subject, with a B.S. degree from Worcester Polytechnic Institute; an M.A. from Western Reserve University;  and a Ph.D., specialty: dynamical systems theory (sort of differential equations without the dirty bits), from Case Western Reserve University.

He has managed to get this far in life without ever having a real job. His good fortune seems to be continuing.

A contact point:

© Dennis Simanaitis,, 2013

153 comments on “About the Author

  1. John F. Scales
    October 19, 2012

    I have searched for your name every day. Why have you gone from my Road and Track? Without your presence I no longer have an interest an this magazine. You have always been the Quarterback of that team. No quarterback…No team. Please let us know what you will be doing now. We miss you greatly. John Scales

  2. simanaitissays
    October 20, 2012

    Hello, John,
    Many, many thanks for your kind words.
    Consider this: With a new mini-essay appearing each day, SimanaitisSays gives about 30 times as much of my writing–and it’s free!

    • Teresa
      February 17, 2014

      I second M. Scales’ comment: you are dearly missed. We’d like to send you a Christmas Card from our crew here at The Going To The Sun Rally, but need an updated address. If you would, please get in contact with us! We’d love to have you follow this year’s quintessential tour of Montana – ah, the majestic west and stunning vintage cars, a perfect combo!

      Please be in touch,


  3. Jeff
    November 2, 2012

    Guten Tag, Dennis!

    I was wondering why your R&T e-mail was bouncing back, and why your name was not in the last issue of R&T.

    You’re enjoying retirement!

    I’m glad all is well.

    While Googling your name, I found

    This site needs more info on you:

    Will you still be writing occasional Car Articles for R&T?


  4. George Kent
    November 3, 2012

    Noticed your name and columns were absent from R&T, googled you and found this site. No reason to con’t my subscription to R&T, which seems to have changed for the worse. Where could I find info. why R&T changed so much in content and location?

    • George Kent
      March 23, 2013

      Dennis, I have a technical question about one of my cars. Cannot figure out where to send it by email.
      George Kent

  5. François-Xavier Morin
    November 29, 2012

    Bonjour Dennis,

    I recently found out that the new Road&Track owner had let go almost the entire Road&Track staff that I have come to enjoy reading every month since 1992 including you, the amazing and extraordinaire engineering editor.

    There isn’t much interest with R&T now that those changes have been made as the magazine has lost most of its substance. You can actually see & feel the difference very clearly between the original R&T staff and the new one.

    I have to agree with Mr. John F. Scales’ comment: “…No quarterback…No team.”

    Thanks for making R&T so enjoyable all those years.

  6. simanaitissays
    November 29, 2012

    Thanks to you, Francois-Xavier, and to others for making those 33+ years so satisfying.
    Businesses change; people change.
    It’s four months since I started this website, and I’m having a ball! – d

  7. Ed
    December 23, 2012

    “teaching mathematics at the College of the Virgin Islands on St. Thomas” sounds like “a real job” to me.

  8. Marc René Yvon
    January 11, 2013

    Bonjour Monsieur Simanaitis !
    As Mr Scales, I happily found your whereabouts by Googling your name. And I agree with François-Xavier regarding the loss of substance of R&T nowadays. Oh well… Except Egan’s column of course.
    Long live famous “bear torso” editors !

    • sabresoftware
      March 30, 2013

      Once Peter leaves or retires my R&T subscription is done.

  9. simanaitissays
    January 11, 2013

    Hello, Marc-Rene,
    Thanks for your kind comments. I hope this website will continue to provide “bear torso” comments.

  10. Paul Everett
    March 3, 2013

    Dennis —
    Delighted to find this site! Having read R&T since 1966, I looked forward to your contributions every month for those 33 years, and missed them in recent months. Thanks for sharing your wide-ranging and fascinating thoughts and explorations.

  11. Alex C. Lozano
    March 4, 2013

    I too, read your work in Road&Track for decades. It’s great to find you here, and I’m looking forward to reading this page often.

  12. keith powell
    March 22, 2013

    I have taken road @ track continuously since late 69 and seen several changes over the years, often for the worse e.g no more humorous or historic articles, no salon features etc. R @ T used to be the best English language automotive magazine in the world, but these latest changes have put an end to that. If Peter Egan goes then so shall I remember an advert which went = see Dennis the bear wrestle the speedway corners at 180, well I now look forward to reading Dennis the bear at simanaitissays good luck to you , kind regards from keith powell

  13. Andrew Johnson, P. Eng.
    March 30, 2013

    Catching up on my R&T reading today (a few months behind) and noticed the “new” R&T cover . . . Not too impressed. So I checked out the new magazine, and noticed a few things missing: no PS, no Road Test Summary, and worst of all no Dennis Simanaitis. Not impressed at all. I flipped back through a few issues and noticed that you were gone a few months ago.

    I was an SAE member years ago starting in second year university, although in the end I went into Civil/Structural engineering, and eventually dropped my membership. But I still recall an SAE publication that suggested that our freedom in North America was in large part supported by the automobile and the mobility that it enabled.

    In the last two and a half decades I have worked in the heavy industrial sector in Alberta, Canada, primarily providing engineering services to oil sands upgrading, refining and petrochemical industries through several major consulting firms.

    Glad to see your site here.

  14. George Kent
    March 30, 2013

    Wonder why Dennis could not have continued to write from Orange County.

  15. Ronald W. Keil
    April 1, 2013

    Hello, Dr. S.

    I shall sorely miss all the valuable technical information you have brought to R&T over the years. I shall not, however, miss R&T (save Peter Egan’s column) as I have declined to renew after having read almost every issue of the past sixty years — and have told them why, in detail; your leaving is a significant one of these.

    Happy retirement, and in case you’re bored you can do as I did post-retirement: return to teaching. That, too, is fulfilling and it keeps the mind active!

    • simanaitissays
      April 1, 2013

      Hello, Ron,
      Thanks sincerely for your kind words.
      Yes, I recall teaching was also satisfying. And, actually, what with researching this website’s daily mini-essays, I haven’t been bored. I’ve been learning a lot too.

  16. Leo Harvey
    April 8, 2013

    Have been reading R&T since 1960………Like someone else said once Peter E goes my subscription goes…………….I found your new web site by accident so I can still get my Dennis fix……………………….R&T may still be around but in name only…….

  17. Bill Hannan
    April 9, 2013

    Hi Dennis,

    How ’bout that incredible shrinking ampersand?

    Hope the Cyclops was saved before the takeover!
    Cumberford and Mott were among my all-time favorite R&T contributors.


  18. Damon
    May 12, 2013

    PS: There’s no more PS in the new R&T…just gonna let my subscription run out I’m afraid.
    Dennis – thanks for!

  19. Steve rees
    May 28, 2013


    It has been several years since you did a little tidbit about the students at DeLaSalle High School in Kansas City that were doing styling studies in polystyrene. The class progressed to become a stand alone 501c3 called MINDDRIVE. I would invite you to check out what the program has been up to. The students pushed to do a real car and we are now on our fourth car with two more on jack stands. We are not trying to necessarily break new ground, we are more about education than technology but we are using technology to teach confidence and education. We are bending at-risk kids to a new path that has them engaged in their education with higher expectations for themselves and a definite plus to ending up with a sustainable life down the road. We do like to try to think outside the box as we can. They have achieved some pretty cool things. Last year they drove a converted plug-in electric Lotus Exprit from San Diego to Jacksonville, Florida. This year, Friday, they start out on a trip from KC to Akron to DC in an electric plug-in Karmann Ghia. We are a shop class on steriods. We have about a mentor per student and it is working. Experiential hands-on learning taught by adults from their community…”takes a community to raise a child”.

    We have hit a nerve and have a lot of people interested in the upcoming trip. Check out the website “” and see the three minute video on the home page. In the last 4 days over 30,000 people have viewed it.

    I have heard that you might “on the loose”….wish you the best. I always enjoyed your work.

    Steve Rees

    2615 Holmes Road

    Kansas City, Missouri



  20. Stephen Booth
    August 26, 2013

    I echo the sentiments about R&T and Dennis’s great contributions to it. It may be “business” but no goodbyes, no thanks, or appreciations, or recognition of a magazine’s past may end up being bad business. Motor Sport recognizes WB and DSJ in every issue and regularly references former editors and contributors. Why not R&T? Thanks, Dennis.

  21. Tom Heitzman
    August 31, 2013

    Just stumbled across your website on the Interwebz! Yahoo! Enjoyed your RT work for years but being airplane nut was glad to see this new offering of all sorts of interesting gizmos. I buy/sell/trade/collect aviation memorabilia and have run across a spate of Bleriot related stuff lately. Your writing on Ms. Quimby sparked this response as a friend of mine just found a 6 ft WS working model of a Bleriot used by her classmate Shakir S Jerwan to lecture on aviation from 1911-15!
    I’ve done a lot of research and if interested you’re welcome to wade through the information at the following dropbox link
    Tom Heitzman
    PO Box 248
    Eaton NY 13334
    315 725-8338 “the tip of the iceberg”

    Please keep up the good work!

  22. Anton Thortzen
    September 21, 2013

    Dear Dennis.
    All I can do is echo what everybody else has written. Having read R&T since ’76 and subscribed for more than 30 yrs, your features and columns were always the first I read, when a new issue arrived. Admittedly in strong competition with Peter Egan’s ditto. I always particularly enjoyed your intelligent views and writings about electric cars, alternative fuels and the like. Always well researched and always worth reading. Thanks for mentioning Denmark now and then. Keep enjoying your new life. I hope you still have time to enjoy your Morgan and maybe have time to go visit your ancestoral Baltic country (Lithuania?). Thanks for everything over the years and thanks for still being around in cyberspace.
    Best wishes
    Anton Thortzen

    • simanaitissays
      September 21, 2013

      Many thanks for your kind words. I hope you enjoy the website. (I’m having a ball in this corner of cyberspace!)

  23. Anton Thortzen
    September 28, 2013

    Dear Dennis.
    Like you I am also having a ball reading your writings in this little corner of cyperspace. Thanks for still keeping us informed and entertained.

  24. Marc René Yvon
    September 29, 2013

    Hey guys, it finally happened and i’m sure everyone here knows now that Egan is retiring from R&T! Well, there goes my subscription too.
    Hopefully our dear friend Dennis here will recruit Peter for some writing once in a while. Can you imagine the wit such a duet would bring us !? Cyberspace will never be the same !
    PS Hopefully Peter’s health will get better.

  25. Anton Thortzen
    September 29, 2013

    You are absolutely right – great suggestion. What fun that would be now that there is no point in renewing my R&T subscription. Dennis and Peter writing together on this site would make for cyperspace haven – all agree? All agree!!!

  26. George Kent
    September 29, 2013

    I second the proposal.

  27. Ronald W. Keil
    September 29, 2013

    I wholeheartedly agree. Despite my having read R&T since 1958 I have grown disgusted with the concentration on high-end cars and have for the first time not renewed my subscription. I miss Peter as well as you and HNM III.

  28. sabresoftware
    September 29, 2013

    The worst part of the new R&T is the trashy look to the layout. The old R&T was a classy magazine.

  29. Anton Thortzen
    September 30, 2013

    Wow, how nice of Ronald Keil to remember Henry Manney. What a character and a beautifully twisted, but bright mind on all matters. – Maybe R&T can find new followers, but the new team has changed the magazine too much and the sense of a R&T family behind everything is lost. So good to have this site run by one of the great former contributers to the once so great mag. Have a great day out there.

  30. Jeff Wright
    October 17, 2013

    Thanks, Dennis, for all those great years at R&T. For many years, you and Egan have been the highlights–and the backbone–to the greatest auto mag. Until you were gone. Still we had Peter but finally, this month, no Side Glances. Just his old Kennedy tool box. You are right. Businesses change. Not always for the good, as many have already commented. John & Elaine Bond and Henry N. Manney III must be rolling over in their graves to see what has become of their baby. My personal R&T collection only extends back to 1952 but likely will not extend past my current subscription, which ends soon. I am so happy that I found tonight. Great stuff on here! Keep up the great work! I’ll check in daily. So nice to see that you are still writing and still keeping it interesting and informative. Still driving the Morgan too? Yr fthfl Miata-driving srvnt (apologies to HNM III)

  31. Thomas Anderson
    October 21, 2013

    Is this the only place on the Web where we can be reading things from you?
    I thought I’d heard that you had started a Blog.
    Am searching for ways to maintain the integrity of info from R&T without having to read the infernal incarnation of that once great mag.
    A Dennis blog would be wonderful (also one from Peter Egan!).
    Am looking forward to reading more from you.
    Tom Anderson
    (in the home of Case-Western University)

  32. Paul Berndt
    October 28, 2013

    Dear Dennis,

    It has been too many months since R&T decided to do away with the technical side of the magazine and try to emulate Car & Driver. I dropped my C&D subscription when they got real stupid and my R&T subscription will soon follow. I wrote and asked about your missing section but never heard anything; I’ve always wondered why magazines never have a Good-By to long time contributors. To not say thank you is rude.

    I have a lot of reading to catch up on, your articles are pleasure that I’ve missed.

    And, Thank You!

  33. Nicholas Minutillo
    November 17, 2013

    Dennis. I miss you in R&T. It’s not the same.
    PS. We met in Phoenix at the first GP. You stopped me because I was wearing a Mini Moke T shirt and asked if I owned one. Gladly no. And you said that you restored one. I remember laughing and said ” who would want to etc. You laughed.
    I also got to meet Phil Hill at this event.

    Nice to see your still active.
    Say Hello if you want.

  34. Jim in SoCal
    December 6, 2013

    Simanaitis & Egan together on a blog? Fantastic idea, hope it can be done. The “new” R&T? Not so much. I’ve been a reader since third grade (1958), and a subscriber most years since. I probably won’t renew. Things change, and my guess is the new Road and Track isn’t interested in and won’t miss us “elders.”

  35. Thomas Anderson
    December 7, 2013

    Dennis and Peter Egan on the same page? In current parlance: BRILLIANT!!!!

    Road & Track is dead. Long live R&T.
    My subscription (since ’63) runs out in a year. I will cancel it sooner than that.
    I cannot bear to read this thing which is masquerading as Road & Track any longer.

    Eagerly await the debut of The Dennis and Peter Show!

  36. Stephen E. Newhouse
    December 30, 2013


    I am much disappointed at your loss from R&T, as I counted on you and Peter Egan for my automotive sustenance — my old and valued friends at my preferred automotive magazine The book will miss and not replace your wit and automotive intellectuality. I wish you well. In the meantime, I have transmitted the following to your former editors …

    I have been reading R&T since I was 12 — nearly 60 years — most of that time as a subscriber. I have come of an age with Messrs Egan and Simanaitis, and had a brief telephone acquaintance with Dennis when he was at SAE and I was at Caterpillar. Simanaitis has left the stage, and Peter Egan has headed for the wings.

    While Larry Webster, Sam Smith and the newly minted columnist Chis Chilton seek to fill the gap and address the current readership, I find I am more of a throwback to Henry N. Manney than a contemporary reader, and the new R&T world is not much my world.

    Thus as Mr. Egan, the lifelong friend I’ve never met and with whom I have so much in common, winds down his remarkable career, I will also fade away — as will my subscription.

    Stephen E. Newhouse

  37. Thomas Martin
    January 28, 2014

    Hello Dennis!
    Glad I found your website! I subscribed to Road & Track for 30 years, but let my subscription lapse a couple years ago. Started my subscription again and just received my first issue. To my horror, both you and Peter Egan were gone! I am not renewing again! Your and Peter’s articles were the first pages I turned to. I also remember reading about Dottie’s Fiat 124 Coupe, of which I owned several! Best wishes to you, sir!


  38. Valter Prieto Jr
    February 4, 2014

    Dear Dennis,
    all the engineers like me with some blood on the veins for automobiles should feel proud of your mission with R&T for so many years.
    I learned a lot and will keep visiting your blog to learn more.
    Thanks for everything.

    Valter Prieto Jr.
    São Paulo – Brasil

    • simanaitissays
      February 4, 2014

      Many thanks for your kind comments.
      I hope you enjoy the website. I’m having a ball doing it.

  39. Jg
    February 9, 2014

    Is Diesel Used on Lemans the Same as pump’s?

  40. Jim in SoCAl
    February 17, 2014

    Just wondering if you know how Mr. Egan is doing? You can see my previous comment, re the magazine in comments 12/06/2013. Thanks, J

    • simanaitissays
      February 18, 2014

      Last I’ve heard, Peter was retired from writing for CycleWorld.

  41. David Steinhardt
    February 19, 2014

    Thanks for the recommendation of Dave Eggers’ new book–must pick that up. As a book & magazine editor myself, he’s the only editor I ever had for my writing who gave me the speech I give every client: ‘I have to get angry at what’s wrong in a work to fix it, so know my anger is for that, not at you.’

  42. Roberto Mahave
    February 21, 2014

    I’ve just run into your website, having missed you from R&T a couple of years now. I’m glad I will be able to keep reading your essays here.
    Cheers from Chile, from a fellow Engineer and car enthusiast!

  43. dskwireDan Skwire
    March 13, 2014

    Read (and reposted in my linkedin group) your excellent article about automotive EDRs in 2010 Road and Track. The article sure is more authoritative, now that I examined your bio in linkedin….

    Do you have any updates on the statements made in R&T, that auto EDRs (at the time) were merely devices to (try to… my comment) debug air-bag problems, not a general purpose black-box, event data recorder that is used in airplanes, trucks, trains, etc…. ? So it can’t be used to solve automotive problems (in general), only (maybe) air-bag problems?

    That is a significant deficiency. Any hints, even, that there are improvements upcoming, would be GREAT!
    I have been a big fan of event data recorders (‘trace tables’) etc, in the computer field (yes, see my linkedin story and group….).

    Thanks, and good luck, Dennis!


  44. Sheryl Morris
    May 16, 2014

    Thank you for writing about Maria Montessori! And, wishing you’d write more! A previous Montessori teacher, myself, I have a conviction that she created a sound base from where to start when relating with children in the classroom and at home.

    I am just as strongly convinced that she would love many of the approaches being tried and tested by others now in the field of education such as the people at Moebius Noodles. (I found you through their links.)

    There is a lot going on in the Montessori world; are you following?

    • simanaitissays
      May 16, 2014

      I confess, now that my two daughters are er… no longer school age, I haven’t kept up. However, we all continue to be believers in the educational brilliance of Maria Montessori.

  45. Greg Jones
    June 2, 2014

    Dear Dennis, I am very interested in the “Brooklands” silencer and especially the “fishtail” end to exhaust tail pipes that seem to have been combined with it. I would love to know who actually developed these? Any idea about who first suggested the fishtail? Thanks, Greg in Gainesville, Florida (

    • simanaitissays
      June 2, 2014

      Hello, Greg,
      The best source of Brooklands silencer information I’ve seen is the article cited in my piece. It seems to have been developed following the mid-1920s noise complaint. Good luck in researching it.

  46. Mike Winslow
    June 13, 2014

    Just posted the following to the editor at Excellence Mag and thought you would appreciate it:
    “Good to see that Dennis Simanaitis has found a new home, now that Toad And Rack has gone all tabloid style on us.The article on the Land Speed Record car was a great bit of history. Dennis brought some of the past to life and showed how truly visionary these folks were. Probably, made more interesting by my coming sojourn to the salt flats this August for the first time. Looking forward to more from Dennis in the future.”

  47. John Palumbo
    August 3, 2014

    Hi Dennis,

    Just wanted to say hello and thanks for your literary input over the years, especially noting your article ‘Italian Lake District’ in the May 1989 issue of Road & Track magazine.

    Thumbing through this issue I’ve kept since childhood reminds me how beautiful Italy is and how much there is to see, learn, and experience. Thanks.

  48. John McNulty
    October 4, 2014

    I have conversed with you several times over the years on Morgans. I am writing a letter to Automobile magazine on this months article by Jamie Kitman on the “new +8”. I am suggesting they hire a real sports car driver that knows what he is talking about. I did not know you are no longer with R&T. Their loss.
    PS, my wife is the editor of our Morganotes. With your permission we have quoted you in the past.

    • simanaitissays
      October 4, 2014

      Of course, you and your wife are encourged to redirect my musings.
      Yes, it has been more than two years since Hearst “moved the brand” to Ann Arbor–and left the staff behind.

  49. David Miller
    October 8, 2014

    Delighted to stumble across your blog; cars, planes, houses, mysteries and music and probably more interests we share. Thanks for all the work it must be. I’m hoping that somewhere in there I’ll find musings on HNM III.

  50. Mark W
    November 15, 2014

    I find Dennis’s truly eclectic interest in the world and life in general most inspiring, I’ve long gotten over the changes at R&T and find thus venue for his amazing depth & breadth of knowledge utterly fascinating. From one day to the next you just never know what the topic will be! My brain is swelling up with all the new info!

    • simanaitissays
      November 15, 2014

      Thanks sincerely for your kind words. I confess that often I don’t know the topic either.

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