BILL Tuckey, one of the most influential motoring writers of his time and a former long-serving editor of Wheels, has died overnight aged 80.
Tuckey joined Wheels in 1963 after he was headhunted from the Brisbane-based Courier Mail, where he was editor of its motoring section, replacing Ian Fraser as editor.
He is recognised as the single largest influence on the magazine in its 63-year history. Tuckey inaugurated the annual Wheels Car of the Year, invented the multi-car comparison, developed his own style of gonzo journalism under the name of his alter-ego Romsey Quints, and introduced the era of colour print to the magazine.
Tuckey left Wheels in 1968 to become a freelancer, but rejoined the magazine’s publisher between 1974-78 to head up the entire magazine group.
He was a prolific writer, publishing several books including Rise and Fall of Peter Brock, The History of 100 Years of Australian Motoring, and Commodore Lion King: Celebrating 21 Years.
Tuckey had struggled to recover from a stroke in 2010 that severely limited his creative abilities.
He leaves a long and lasting legacy. At his peak, Tuckey was the best motoring journalist in the English-speaking world, introduced a degree of professionalism in the industry that carries through to today, and pioneered a style of automotive journalism that had never been seen before.
Wheels extends its deepest sympathies to his family, including Marcia, Stuart and Libby.