Dr. lan KuahChief Editor (Europe & Americas)
September 2017 marks the 35th Anniversary of Ian Kuah’s career change from architect to motoring author. It is a milestone year shared with the 50th Anniversary of AMG, and the 40th Anniversary of Brabus.
These are just some of the companies he has had a close association with since their early days, and he later witnessed the gestation of many other well known German tuners companies such as AC Schnitzer, Abt Sportsline, Hamann Motorsport, Lorinser and MTM amongst others. From the ranks of OE manufacturers he witnessed companies such as Aston Martin, Lamborghini and Lotus change ownership more than once, while great brands like Alfa Romeo, Ferrari and Maserati were subsumed into the mighty Fiat empire.
He also noted the birth of the hot hatch and high performance saloon genres. Some of today’s four-door saloons have more muscle than the major league
supercars of the 1980s, while the top speed of the fastest road legal cars has risen from around 180mph to over 240mph during this time.
Equally impressive are the gains in fuel economy achieved by today’s high performance cars. The 887hp Porsche 918 Spyder hybrid super sports car can lap the Nürburgring in 6:57.01 minutes, yet is capable of an average fuel consumption of 3.0 litres/100km. This car is the subject of the definitive treatise IK completed this year, documenting for posterity the development of the most technically advanced road legal production car ever built. The freelance world in the early 1980s when IK started off was not an easy ride, but on the other hand, there was far less competition than today, and no Internet. Being a photographer as well as a test driver and writer was a distinct advantage, and editors lapped up the idea of getting the complete package from one person.
Established by this time as the specialist in the prestige, concept and tuner car field, IK was approached to author Dream Cars, a coffee table book for St. Michaels, (Marks & Spencer) in time for Christmas 1984. Dream Cars went on to sell 250,000 copies in four languages, and three more specialist car books followed in the ensuing years.
With a diploma in sales and marketing picked up along the way, Ian began to sell his unique skills to more and more titles all over the world. Also a hi-fi nut,
IK was the first UK journalist to cover high-end car audio, and ran the in-car entertainment column for Autocar in the mid-to- late 1980s.
By 1990, IK had become European Editor of US magazines like Sportscar International and European Car, and a contributor to Road & Track. He was also read as far afield as China, Taiwan, Japan, Italy, New Zealand and South Africa.
As Technical Editor of World Sportscars in the UK, he was nominated for a Jet Media Excellence Award in 1990, the first time ever a road test feature made the cut.
It seems like only yesterday when IK stepped into his first test car on the Mercedes 190E press launch, but four generations of compact Mercedes
have since come and gone. The old saying ‘time flies when you are having fun’ has never been truer.
Last Updated: 3rd August, 2017