“Car Talk” Co-host Tom Magliozzi Dies at Age 77
Hilarious Magliozzi Brothers Hosted Popular Radio Show for 35 Years
It’s with a heavy heart that we report that Tom Magliozzi, one of the hosts of “Car Talk,” died today from complications of Alzheimer’s Disease. Magliozzi and his younger brother Ray (pictured above, Tom's the guy holding the gun) hosted the popular radio show from 1977 to 2012.
Tom and Ray were lighthearted and jovial on their show, often poking fun at the other’s intelligence and mechanical skills. In spite of portraying themselves as humble mechanics, both graduated from the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Tom worked as an engineer for a few years after graduation before he and Ray started their radio program.
“Car Talk,” which first went on the air in 1977 on a local Boston radio station, took phone calls from listeners who described their cars’ problems. Click and Clack, as the Magliozzi brothers came to be known, did their best to diagnose those problems, bringing light hearts and lame jokes to the world of auto mechanics.
Callers didn’t always have mechanical problems with their cars, however. One caller from years ago said that her car had become a veritable breeding ground for vermin, which set Click and Clack up for one of the most hilarious segments of the show ever. Other callers requested car-buying advice from the duo, which was delivered with all the tongue-in-cheek seriousness you’d expect from the Magliozzi brothers. In spite of their humor, Tom and Ray always helped listeners figure out how to solve their problems.
This author remembers calling in to the radio show to get some advice on the best way to clean fuel injectors. It was refreshing to hear Tom and Ray suggest a $10 bottle of injector cleaner, rather than prescribe a costly and time-intensive mechanical repair. The pair made fun of themselves and poked fun at me the whole time I was on the phone with them, which is a cherished memory of mine. Through their jokes and humor, Click and Clack took lots of the intimidation factor out of consulting a mechanic and introduced a new generation to the fun of auto maintenance.
The radio show went off the air in 2012 when the brothers decided to retire; however, the show is still played in reruns by many NPR affiliate stations. We can only hope that NPR and its affiliates will continue to play the shows; while the episodes may be outdated, the principles taught and Tom’s humorous relationship with his brother Ray certainly aren’t.