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I have never had one bit of interest in cars. I mean, except learning to drive one when I turned 16. And I was also very interested in getting myself into a Jeep Wrangler when I was in my 20’s so I could have the sun on my face, the wind in my hair and the pouring rain on my head when I couldn’t get the top up in time.

I now drive a gold minivan which I pretend is just a very large mini cooper. When I take my car in to the shop, they talk about “transmission fluid and gaskets and tire rotations” and I hear “This is going to cost a lot of money. How is Ryan Gosling so hot and so talented at the same time? I wonder how long my car is going to be in the shop because I have school pick up at 2.” That kind of thing.

In general the only time I ever think about cars is when I listen to “Car Talk” on NPR. The show, featuring two Cambridge, Massachusetts brothers, Tom and Ray Magliozzi, has been airing on NPR since 1987.

Recently Tom Magliozzi passed away from complications due to Alzheimer’s. And I can’t help escape the feeling that the world feels a little emptier. Certainly more quiet. Because Tom had a laugh that was so compelling – you had to join in.

The show’s long time producer Doug Berman had this to say about him…

“His laugh was so great and infectious. It just made everyone around him feel better. It was such a gift. He had a way of making everyone around him feel good and when you put him in front of a microphone, millions of people felt better and I think that’s a great legacy.”

(If you’ve never listened to the show, stop reading immediately, download the NPR app and listen to one of the podcasts.)

The two brothers went to MIT and ended up running their own “Do It Yourself” auto mechanic shop in the 70’s where they would help people fix their own cars. (It sounds like a crazy idea but the 70’s were a very “How hard can it be to fix your own car radiator?!” kind of time.

What the Magliozzi brothers quickly learned was they were doing all the work, they weren’t making any money and the garage finally transitioned into a more traditional auto shop.

It was an appearance by Tom on a Boston radio station that turned into a local show which was eventually picked up by NPR and loved by millions.

The brothers were brilliant at being themselves and not taking life too seriously. Tom would give out advice like…

“Do it while you’re young.  You may never have another chance to do anything this stupid again!”

Their NPR show was about cars. And it wasn’t. There were a lot of tangents, diversions and comedic banter. You didn’t even have to own a car or care about cars to adore these two guys.  As a listener, you were just along for the ride – wherever it might go.

Previously recorded episodes of “Car Talk” are still on the air.



8 Responses to tom magliozzi, you made us laugh about cars and now we miss you

  • bee says:

    Thank you for this post – I love Click and Clack and will miss Tom’s booming laugh. I once (in a former life) went on a date with someone I met on Car Talk’s website. Love of Car Talk turned out to be the only thing we had in common, but I got a great story and I hear Tom chuckling in my head whenever I share it.

  • Mary Clare says:

    I love car talk, too. I learned some interesting parts of Tom’s life story via NPR’s tributes last week. He loved life and didn’t care about being a radio celebrity. I loved the anecdote about how Tom was offered a lot of money by Microsoft to be part of big product release. Tom turned it down and Microsoft kept coming back with bigger offers. Finally, when asked how much it would take to get him to participate he said something like, “$100,000. But, I’d never take money from someone dumb enough to pay me $100,000.”

  • MN Mama says:

    My dad loved Car Talk. I always love a good laugh. My sister’s laugh can make me laugh even if I do not think what she is laughing at is funny. I would like to bottle it.

  • Valerie says:

    I love Car Talk as well, and was so sad to hear that he passed away. There is also a great interview Tom and Ray did with Terri Gross on Fresh Air that they replayed the day after he died — if you have not heard that yet, you would enjoy it as well.

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kelcey kintner