Many things happen over half a century in a country's history. So many things as may be contained within a publication's 200 issues. In October 1961, the Automóvil Club Argentino presented Autoclub on an official basis. The magazine's staff was institutionally chaired by César C. Carman, Sq. in his capacity as ACA's president.
There followed an outstanding Advisory Committee, integrated by deluxe members, headed by Marcos Victorica, as seconded by Roberto N. Lobos, Lino Palacio, and Alfredo Calisto. Was Argentina the same country as now or not? Has it actually remained unchanged, though the world setting is other, globalization prevails and new rules for international community-living have been imposed? Or, rather, has Argentina changed together with the rest of the world? If so, has this change been good or detrimental for our country? Can we draw any lessons from Autoclub reading, from the elapsed time viewpoint?
In principle, there is one lesson: the group of people who launched our magazine almost 50 years ago titled their first note as “Back Home.” The proposal was as follows: “After almost fifteen years´ absence … the Automóvil Club Argentino reappears in the national journalistic arena. Now we’ve made the decision not to desert, as it has unfortunately happened more that once because of some circumstances.” This 200th. issue proves that, beyond any voluntarism or ephemeral projections, that trust in our Club's people was based upon a sound foundation.
A GREAT MAGAZINE
One of the most traditional Argentine editors, founder of a publishing house unequalled in the books and magazines tradition, would from a collection of maxims that his successors used to distribute among the editorial teams suggest: “For and to an editor there is no better reading than his own publication.” Paying a look to the Autoclub collection will let you agree with him. Basically, due to the definitely striking list of first-line signatures that have paraded over its pages. Poets, scientists, writers, playwrights, journalists, artists…
Horacio Estol, for instance, wrote from the United States of America the chronicles that made him renowned (for instance, as a correspondent from the Clarín newspaper), focusing the topics for the members of the Automóvil Club Argentino. He described how the everyday use of cars was experienced in the EUA, as seen by an Argentine eye and temperament. Some of his chronicles should be re-edited, e.g. the note titled “The Parking Problem and the Problem Parking." Referring to New York in the 60's, he compared that city with Buenos Aires... It resonates extremely up to date.
From Autoclub Nº 1 issue, there were notes written by Rodolfo M. Taboada, one of the major Argentine authors in that time. Taboada was already famous by his writing, in different genres ranging from cinema and television scripts, tango lyrics, and his humour in the Rico Tipo magazine, published by Guillermo Divito, where he had popularized a highly inspired nickname: Tomás Elvino Blanco . Let's remind our readers that in 1961, the same year as Autoclub appeared for the first time, Taboada presented the lyrics of Por qué la quise tanto . This piece, set to music by Mariano Mores, became one of the great tango classics despite the fact that the tango genre was no longer living its golden times. Its lyrics read: “Remotos acordeones / despliegan en la noche / sus pájaros de bruma…” 1961 was a great year for him, since said tango was sang for the first time by Hugo del Carril in the Estrellas en el Avenida varieté show with the Mariano Mores' orchestra. What did Mr. Rodolfo M. Taboada write as his first note for Autoclub? “The Dream of One's Own Car.”
Piolín de Macramé was another famous nickname. This signature stood for the humoristic talent of Dr. Florencio Escardó, M.D. He would present his notes by the Oh, cars! title. Lino Palacio, one of the greatest names in the history of graphic humour, a true celebrity since the time when he put up some characters such as Don Fulgencio and got utmost renown with the unforgettable colour cover pages of Billiken children's magazine, enrolled in our magazine with two pages simply entitled Cars. As anticipated in this issue editorial, the list of our literary and journalistic "Formula 1" signatures is endless.
TRAVELS AND MAPS
Two classic lines leaded by the Automóvil Club Argentino since its creation were brightly reflected on the pages of our club's magazine, i.e. cartography and travel journal. The Autoclub collection presented a considerable number of top authors belonging to this literary sub-genre. Sixto Pondal Ríos, a prolific intellectual and artist (among other works, he wrote more than 60 mostly successful cinema scripts), drafted his Desde Ushuaia a La Quiaca notes for us. Conrado Nalé Roxlo, under the nickname of Chamico, would write about Córdoba y sus aguas. This note would anticipate another anthological work, i.e. Córdoba, by Ulises Petit de Murat, another great: a poet, translator, author of a number of excellent cinema scripts and, just for competing with Rodolfo M. Taboada, the creator of Bailate un tango, Ricardo lyrics, with music by Juan D’Arienzo. The development of cartography is shown in the 200 issues of the magazine, one after another: from the first road sheets that would amount to be a classic section to a future cover page that will be integrally devoted to emphasize a great technologic novelty, i.e. satellite cartography.
THE CAR CULTURE
As with artistic and technologic objects, cars have set historic milestones for the whole world, for every country, and for every people. A film can remind us of a cherished relationship or of a given time in our lives, the same as a TV set or a record player. Not to speak of cars! At the time Autoclub appeared, our streets were run by nearly 50 car-models, ranging from the Siam Di Tella to the Rambler. Our magazine appeared within the tuerquización trend prevailing in the Argentine society. From the beginning of the 20th. century, Argentineans got possession of cars to such a degree that these machines gradually became one of its most representative expressions.
The car-birth term was really a hinge between two worlds, i.e. in 1959, Argentina boasted one car every 47.8 inhabitants; in 1965 the ratio became one car every 23.7 inhabitants. A boom was being experienced which, from our current standpoint, lets us say that this magazine was something its times were claiming for. Some of its headings so show: Prospects for our Automotive Industry, an interview to G. H. Minor, from General Motors, illustrated with pictures showing the strong industrial activity performed by different workshops, e.g. GM, Fiat in the town of Caseros, IKA in the province of Córdoba, and Siam Di Tella.
A War within the Automotive Industry. Detroit faces Europe. This note illustrates some car models from that time: Borgward, Falcon, Corvair… The Salon of Hope is the title for a note about the Car Salon, where apart from the Di Tella the NSU, the Rambler, the Auto Union (a now-forgotten star in those times), the Chevrolet 400, the Peugeot 403, the Fiat 1100, the Renault Dauphine… were exhibited. Besides these units, the Valiant, the Dodge and Mercedes Benz trucks, the De Carlo, the Hansa…also stand out in the ads.
1961 was also the year in which the three big automotive trademarks, i.e. Ford, Chrysler, and General Motors, got into the non-commercial cars market in Argentina. Ford and General Motors had been in the market since 1959; and Chrysler since 1960. But in 1961, opening the golden sixties where youngsters would get out for “eating the world”, the three giants approved car-purchasing plans for everybody. And in that year arrived the first two Ford Falcon units, imported by Ford Company on an experimental basis for the purpose of testing, on Argentinean roads, whether the model was viable for the local requirements. It became a classic forever. Invincible. But Autoclub would give itself the satisfaction of going further than the Falcon…