"David E." as he was universally known was no less than a defining icon in the world of automotive journalism, combining literary talent with irreverence like no-one had before, or likely ever will again.
His love for cars was allegedly inspired by his first sighting of a Jaguar XK120.
His road racing career was cut short by a terrible crash which among other things 'ripped off his face' as he used to say himself.
His life-long beard was a corollary to that crash, as was his zest for life, helping him make the decision never to be bored.
He sure succeeded there.
He also figured if that crash didn't kill him, what could?
"How mad could a client get?" he mused.
Davis started in automotive journalism in the late 1950s, and helped stickhandle Car and Driver magazine from a lame copy of Road & Track (for which he had also toiled) into THE must-read car publication, certainly in North America, probably in the world.
When C and D dared compare a Pontiac GTO with a Ferrari GTO in March 1964 - well, our business was never quite the same.
He left to pursue a career in automobile advertising - "Baseball, Hot Dogs, Apple Pie and Chevrolet" was among his many campaigns for Campbell-Ewald, one of GM's major ad agencies at the time - but returned to Car and Driver in 1976, to the benefit of car enthusiasts around the globe.
In 1986 he founded Automobile magazine, which again raised the bar for automotive journalism everywhere. The sale of Automobile by Rupert Murdoch netted Davis a very handsome 'thank you' cheque from the Australian media mogul.
Subsequently, Davis was a regular at Motor Trend, becoming one of the very few to have written for each of the Big Four US car magazines; helped found one of the first (at least first semi-successful) on-line car magazines (Winding Road); then returned to Car and Driver where he once again became a monthly columnist.
It was my great honour to call David E. a friend. We travelled on many press trips together, often sharing a test car because we each had faith that the other would not likely initiate motoring homicide.
His favourite story concerning me came about at a Mercedes-Benz safety seminar, where a volunteer was invited from the ranks to try out the pyrotechnic seat belt tensioners.
I foolishly put up my hand.
As I was being strapped into the interior styling buck, Davis claimed that the chief engineer for Mercedes-Benz at the time whispered to him, "Zee Canadian vill be sacrificed...".
The last time I saw him in Toronto was at the Carroll Shelby Tribute Gala, just over a year ago, where he helped that fabled Texas race driver, car designer and long-time friend celebrate his many years in the car business.
Davis was a renaissance man in many respects, being expert on a wide variety of topics - hunting dogs, food, wine and shotguns, among other things.
In many ways - many good ways - he was old-fashioned, being a stickler for proper English usage, grammar and punctuation.
Yet he also understood the ebb and flow of the business, witness his embracing on the on-line world.
Davis leaves an unending list of top-level journalists who owe their careers to his talent-scouting acumen.
He also leaves his beloved wife Jeannie, three children from his first marriage, including Matthew who follows the family tradition of automotive journalism from his home in Milan Italy, and millions of fans who will miss his wit, insight and sense of history.
I can't believe he's gone.