June 9, 2012— -- It's the end of the road for "Car Talk." After 35 years on the air, Click and Clack have run out of gas, and will stop taping new shows this fall.
Tom and Ray Magliozzi have hosted NPR's most popular show for decades, but the brothers say it's "time to stop and smell the cappuccino."
The mechanic brothers started their auto advice show in Boston in 1977, and have been dishing out car tips and jokes every Saturday morning on NPR since 1987.
"We've managed to avoid getting thrown off NPR for 25 years, giving tens of thousands of wrong answers and had a hell of a time every week talking to callers," Ray said.
The Magliozzis created a niche for themselves on the radio that didn't exist before -- combining call-in comedy and cars -- and showed that public talk radio didn't have to be stuffy. It proved to be a working formula, and "Car Talk" is now on 660 stations across the country, with some 3.3 million listeners a week.
Ray, 63, and Tom, 74, answer questions from listeners about cars, and so much more, with their signature humor and Boston accents, cementing their status as unlikely comic icons.
"The guys are culturally right up there with Mark Twain and the Marx Brothers," said Doug Berman, executive producer of "Car Talk." "They will stand the test of time. People will still be enjoying them years from now. They're that good."
The show isn't completely disappearing though. The brothers will celebrate their 25th anniversary on NPR this fall, and then hand the show over to producers, who will use saved but unaired calls to continue to produce the show.
"The good news is that, despite our general incompetence, we actually remembered to hit the 'record' button every week for the last 25 years," Tom said.
Years and years worth of those calls have been stored, some 12,500 calls, and rated in order of entertainment value. Those calls will be repurposed into new shows until they run out of new material. Berman, whom the brothers would identify on air as Doug "Not-a-Slave-to-Fashion" Berman, said they might have enough to go for another eight years without the show having to repeat itself.
A goodbye message on their website, titled "Time to Get Even Lazier," says despite a personal mantra of "Don't be afraid of work, make work afraid of you," they've decided they can't commit to the show any longer.
"My brother has always been 'work-averse,'" Ray said. "Now, apparently even the one hour a week is killing him."
In a statement, NPR says the "guys will also still write their twice weekly Dear Tom and Ray column, and put their feet in their mouths in surprising new ways on the web and Facebook."
In their goodbye note, Tom shared what he hopes will be the "Car Talk" legacy.
"We're hoping to be like 'I Love Lucy' and air ten times a day on 'NPR at Nite' in 2075."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.