Joe Oldham, who turned smoky burnouts into an art form, has passed away. He was known for sometimes acerbic and always tell-it-like-it-is approach to evaluating high-performance cars during the golden era of Musclecars.

MUSCLECAR LEGEND: JOE OLDHAM, RIP!MUSCLECAR LEGEND: JOE OLDHAM, RIP!Joe Oldham testing a 429/370 CJ/R  Mustang at E-Town, Hi-Performance CARS, April 1971

The enthusiast car hobby (and I) lost a great friend last week when Joe Oldham passed away. Even though he had been retired for a number of years, he was still penning a column for Hemmings Muscle Machines, writing stories and having a ball doing smoky burnouts in his (and son Scott’s) tribute Baldwin-Motion SS427 Camaro. They built the triple-block ’69 Camaro to honor Joe’s original Camaro that had been stolen and never recovered. His Camaro was showcased in three high-profile national advertisements and show posters – WANTED, OUTRAGEOUS, & THE MOMENT OF TRUTH – as well as the cover of the 1969 Baldwin-Motion catalog.

Joe Oldham and I had been friends for more than 50 years, dating back to the mid-1960s when he started contributing tech articles and road tests, along with his TORQUE EAST column to Hi-Performance CARS. He continued writing for the magazine after I left in 1973. Earlier this year, he wrote the Foreword for my new book, DAY ONE, An Automotive Journalist’s Muscle Car Memoir, going on sale next month.

MUSCLECAR LEGEND: JOE OLDHAM, RIP!Joe Oldham, left, and I at reveal of tribute SS427 Camaro at 2013 MCACN show. (David Hakim)

For more about Joe Oldham and his career and contributions to the hobby, please visit