News & Car Culture

Longtime Hot Rod & Car Craft Tech Editor Marlan Davis Passes Away


Ask anyone who’s flipped though the pages of Hot Rod or has a stack of Car Craft magazines in their shop who Marlan Davis is, and you’ll likely be treated to a 15-minute description of a man who was the driving force behind countless tech projects and in-depth automotive articles.

Marlan Davis joined Hot Rod magazine in the late 1970s and spent the next four decades teaching gearheads the ins-and-outs of engine and vehicle performance, making complex topics both interesting to read and easy to understand. His grasp of automotive engineering was perhaps eclipsed only by his writing talents.

Click here to see his vast (400+) collection of articles he contributed to during his time at Hot Rod and Car Craft. (In fact, Davis’ personality and expertise were so prodigious that it warranted an entire standalone story.) He touched virtually every aspect of the aftermarket performance industry, and there are no shortage of “Marlan stories” from folks in the business that affirm his passion, skill, and unique sense of humor.

Over the weekend, we heard via longtime friend and colleague David Freiburger’s social media that Marlan Davis passed away after a battle with pancreatic cancer.

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  1. I don’t think I’d have anywhere near the knowledge of automobiles that I have if it wasn’t for the “Junk Yard Dog” Master. I always looked forward to his articles. He was always able to explain things simply and concisely, making sure the novice understood it and the “old hand” wasn’t bored. Prayers to his family and friends. He will be missed by all.

  2. Though I never met the man, he has had a big influence on me. I always preferred Car Craft over Hot Rod and I learned more than I’ll ever be able to remember from his tech articles.

    R.I.P. and godspeed sir. You will be missed.

  3. He will be missed. Always looked forward to reading his articles.

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