In a phone interview with a Hearst PR person on the line, Webster had only good things to say about the magazine he's inheriting. But Csere, who's read R&T since he was a teenager in the 1960s, says it's lost touch with younger car buffs. "It had become kind of a musty, self-referential magazine in a lot of ways," he says. "I love old racing drivers and I love these guys who do great things, but you can't run one or two stories a month about racing drivers whose careers happened before the average reader was born!"
R&T has only about half as many readers as C/D, 600,000 versus 1.2 million. But Csere thinks his former protege has what it takes to pull off the radical makeover he thinks the magazine needs. Beneath an aw-shucks, "Huck Finn quality," Csere says, Webster is "a good, solid magazine guy ... People like working with him and for him."
Hearst isn't moving anyone from California, so aside from a couple of veteran R&T freelancers, Webster will be building his entire staff from scratch. His promising first hires: Sam Smith, a former associate editor at Automobile, and John Krewson, a veteran of The Onion. Both came to R&T from the website jalopnik.com.