View Full Version : Tom Magliozzi, Popular Co-Host Of NPR's 'Car Talk,' Dies At 77

SGT Rock
2014-11-03, 16:57
Though not directly hiking related, I spent many hours going to and from trails laughing and listening to the sage advice of these brothers.




Tom Magliozzi, one of public radio's most popular personalities, died on Monday of complications from Alzheimer's disease. He was 77 years old.

Tom and his brother, Ray, became famous as "Click and Clack the Tappet Brothers" on the weekly NPR show Car Talk. They bantered, told jokes, laughed and sometimes even gave pretty good advice to listeners who called in with their car troubles.

If there was one thing that defined Tom Magliozzi, it was his laugh. It was loud, it was constant, it was infectious.

"His laugh is the working definition of infectious laughter," says Doug Berman, the longtime producer of Car Talk. He remembers the first time he ever encountered Magliozzi.

"Before I ever met him, I heard him, and it wasn't on the air," he recalls.

Berman was the news director of WBUR at the time.

"I'd just hear this laughter," he says. "And then there'd be more of it, and people would sort of gather around him. He was just kind of a magnet."

The Magliozzi brothers grew up in a tough neighborhood of East Cambridge, Mass., in a close-knit Italian family. Tom was 12 years older, the beloved older brother to Ray. They liked to act like they were just a couple of regular guys who happened to be mechanics, but both of them graduated from MIT.

After getting out of college, Tom Magliozzi went to work as an engineer. One day he had a kind of epiphany, he told graduates when he and Ray gave the 1999 commencement address at their alma mater.

He was on his way to work when he had a near-fatal accident with a tractor-trailer. He pulled off the road and decided to do something different with his life.

"I quit my job," he said. "I became a bum. I spent two years sitting in Harvard Square drinking coffee. I invented the concept of the do-it-yourself auto repair shop, and I met my lovely wife."

Well, he wasn't exactly a bum; he worked as a consultant and college professor, eventually getting a doctoral degree in marketing. And Tom and Ray Magliozzi did open that do-it-yourself repair shop in the early '70s. They called it Hackers Heaven. Later they opened a more traditional car repair shop called the Good News Garage.

They got into radio by accident when someone from the local public radio station, WBUR, was putting together a panel of car mechanics for a talk show.

"They called Ray, and Ray thought it was a dumb idea, so he said, 'I'll send my brother' and Tom thought, 'Great, I'll get out of breaking my knuckles for a couple of hours.' And he went over and he was the only one who showed up," Berman says.

erman says the station liked what Tom did and asked him to come back the next week. This time he brought Ray. The rest, as they say, is history.

In 1987 Car Talk went national on NPR. The Magliozzi brothers were a huge success. Listeners loved their blend of humor, passion, expertise and just plain silliness.

When it came to cars, Berman says the brothers really did know what they were talking about. But, he says, that's not why people listen to the show.

"I think it has very little to do with cars," he says. "It's the guys' personalities. And Tom especially really a genius. With a great, facile mind. And he's mischievous. He likes to prod people into honesty."

It is almost impossible to talk about Tom Magliozzi without talking about Ray. Berman says the affection you heard on the radio dated back to their childhood and it was real.

"For Ray, he idolized Tom. This is the guy who introduced him to everything in life, and Tom liked having his little brother around," Berman says. "He liked the guy. So when they grew up they were really, really great friends."

Tom and Ray haven't done the show live for two years; Car Talk has been airing archives of old shows. Berman says Ray would like to continue doing that, as a tribute to his brother.

And don't drive like my brother.

2014-11-03, 17:12
They made working in my garage fun.

2014-11-03, 17:21
No matter what kind of bad mood I was in, I always smiled when I heard his laugh.

2014-11-03, 18:39
They are the sole reason I support my local NPR station.

Lone Wolf
2014-11-03, 20:45
every saturday and sunday as i drive bikers to the top of the creeper trail, i listen to them

2014-11-03, 22:00
Tom and Ray's Immutable Law

IF there is a car idling at a stop light
And IF that car is a Camaro
And IF that Camaro is red
And IF that Camaro is being driven by a woman
Ad IF that woman is a blond
Chances are 9 out of 10 that her name is Debbie.

2014-11-03, 23:56
Sad. I read their column in our local paper on Saturday.

2014-11-04, 00:37
Click and Clack. I lostened to them on AFRTS when I was in thailand, japan, etc. When I visited my grams in boston my bro and I would just lie on our beds upstairs away from all the adults and listen. Wbz was the station I think. Long time ago. Bro was a douche back then too. Good memories.

2014-11-05, 15:13
Those guys, Garrison Keillor, and Charles Kuralt have always been my "voice" idols.

2014-11-05, 15:36
My favorite bits of C & C were them trying to guess how the caller's name was spelled from where they lived ... grading the callers' imitations of the noises their cars make ... asking very seriously about the color of the car, as if it would make any difference on a stalling problem ... putting car problems into perspective "Why would you need an air conditioner in North Dakota anyway?" or "It's not the end of the world. It may be the end of your transmission though..." and "Which would you like more - to be right or to be married?"

I never even realized the last two years were repeats.

john pickett
2014-11-05, 17:55
I believe Cartalk will continue to be broadcast.

2014-11-05, 19:21
I believe Cartalk will continue to be broadcast.

Me too.

ed bell
2014-11-07, 05:56
What a great radio show.... Just so fun to listen to. He will be missed.

john pickett
2014-11-07, 10:56
"Me too."
That's up to Sarge and Dixie.