5 July 2012

L. Scott Bailey: 1934-2012

Mention the name L. Scott Bailey and most people ask “L. Scott who?”  But to those who have long been involved with automobile publishing or fine collector automobiles, he was truly a visionary.

Born in 1924, Bailey was a veteran of the U.S. Naval Reserves and held a law degree from the Chase School of Law. It was while serving as executive vice president of the Antique Automobile Club of America and subsequently as the editor of the club magazine, The Antique Automobile, that he conceived an exclusive, hard-bound journal of automotive history that had the space to properly tell the stories of the great cars, people, companies and events that made such an impact on all of us who loved cars.

With the financial backing of Jacob Esser of Kutztown Publishing in Pennsylvania, in 1962 the first issue of Automobile Quarterly appeared. It was expensive, used extensive color and archival photography, and contained no advertising at all. Over the years, the greatest names in automotive history appeared in the pages of AQ, including Griffith Borgeson, Jan Norbye, Karl Ludvigsen and Beverly Rae Kimes, who started her career there. W.O. Bentley even wrote for the magazine, as did Ralph Stein, Benson Ford and the great Ken Purdy.

In addition to the “magazine,” Bailey published many fine volumes of automotive history and built a formidable library. The quality of all AQ publications was well-known and the magazine articles and books were frequently recognized with awards by The Society of Automotive Historians, which named Bailey its “Friend of Automotive History” for 1995.

In 1986 Bailey sold Automobile Quarterly to CBS Publications to retire to the Cottswolds in England. He was proud to show the photos of his manor home with sheep grazing and equally proud to be seen driving his MG TB or Fiat Balilla Spider.

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