Then in 1998, I discovered evo and everything changed. I was attracted to the large format, superior art direction and photography, exotic European hot hatches, JDM gray import Skylines, turbo rally homologation specials and other domestic unobtanium. I justified its $8 price by putting a stack of the usual suspects back on the racks - I've never bought another issue of any of them.
I learned the importance of nuance and delicacy, both in writing and in a car's handling - things that were never conveyed in the workman-like compositions and endless recycling of performance numbers that made up the typical American mag's reporting. evo made me feel I had actually driven the new 996, felt its nose bobbing gently through the steering wheel rim, experienced its amazing traction on corner exit, heard the new wasserboxer wail to redline - things a skidpad g number just don't illustrate very well. It was also incredibly refreshing to find no boring, contrived articles attempting to make a new minivan or vanilla family sedan seem interesting - every car covered within evo has always adhered to their subtitle "The Thrill of Driving".
Thought provoking editorials, humor, controversy and continual innovation are all part of what makes it the best car magazine on earth. And the photography - did I mention the photography?
evo elevated me from a pedantic geek to a cultured and worldy enthusiast. I own every issue ever published, and frequently dig out old issues for re-reading - articles written a decade ago still read fresh, even if the cars themselves have aged less gracefully.
For an introduction, I recommend picking up a Car of the Year issue - the fifty page plus "eCOTY" tests are simply epic.
Oh yeah, there's a Zonda and a Countach on their fleet of long termers...