This is tough news if you’ve been a fan of Car Talk the way I have for the last 35 years. Tom Magliozzi — the “Click” in “Click and Clack, the Tappet Brothers” — passed away today of a long illness. He was 77.
Tom Magliozzi was born in East Cambridge, Massachusetts on June 28, 1937. He attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and participated in the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Program. Following the program, he spent six months in the Army Reserve.
He earned a degree from the MIT Sloan School of Management, and eventually worked for Sylvania’s Semiconductor Division in Woburn, Massachusetts, and then for the Foxboro Company while he earned an MBA from Northeastern University in Boston.
His younger brother Ray was a teacher in Bennington, Vermont for a short time, but soon returned to Cambridge. They opened a do-it-yourself repair shop called Hacker’s Haven, which rented space and equipment to people who wanted to learn to fix their own cars, but lacked the space. While that scheme sounds like a good idea, it never was able to sustain itself, so by the late 1970s, they renamed the shop Good News Garage and began working on cars more traditionally.
In 1977, the Magliozzi brothers were invited to participate in a panel of automotive experts for Boston’s NPR affiliate, WBUR. They were so successful on the panel that they ended up getting their own show on WBUR, which ran locally for almost ten years.
In 1987, NPR’s Weekend Edition host Susan Stamberg asked Tom and Ray to come on her show every week. Just nine months later, Car Talk premiered as an independent NPR program.
In 1992, Tom and Ray won a Peabody Award for Car Talk.
On June 8, 2012, it was announced that Car Talk would stop producing new episodes in September 2012. NPR continues to air reruns of the show.
Tom and Ray both appeared in the Pixar film Cars (2006), playing the owners of Rust-eze. Tom appears as a 1963 Dodge Dart convertible, referencing the ’63 Dart Convertible he refers to on the show.
Car Talk Producer Doug Berman released a statement earlier today:
Tom also owned an MG TD, which friend and longtime Car Talk Technical, Spiritual and Menu advisor John “Bugsy” Lawlor maintains in his collection.