This site contains archive and history information for automotive magazines including hot rod, street rod, custom car, sports car, VW-powered, dune buggies, Detroit cars, trucks, vans, pickups, kit cars, go-karts, foreign cars, lowriders, model cars, and slot car magazines that started publication in the United States between 1945 and 1995. History and cover images are accessed using the links to the left. Simply click on each magazine title or menu to see the covers.
FIRST TIME VISITORS: USE THE SITE MAP LINK TO BROWSE THE ENTIRE LIBRARY QUICKLY.
Since there are 196 titles and just over 15,500 images, they are grouped into ten content areas:
- Hot Rod, Street Rod and Custom Cars (from 1945 with most images up to 2020)
- Muscle/Performance Cars (from 1962 with most images up to 1995)
- Trucks, Pickups, Vans and Off-Roading (from 1962 with most images up to 1985)
- VW-powered including kit or component cars (from 1956 with most images up to 1995)
- General Automotive (from 1947 with most images up to 1995)
- Drag Racing (from 1959 with select images up to 1995)
- Motorsports and Sports Cars (from 1949 with most images up to 1985)
- Restore / Preserve / Collect (from 1966 with most images up to 1990)
- Model and Slot Cars (from 1960 with select images up to 2000)
- Go-Karts / Karting (from 1959 with images up to 1968)
HOW CONTENT IS SELECTED AND ORGANIZED
- The first sort is to select magazines published monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly where average monthly net paid circulation is more than 2,500. Annual publications and "one-shots" are sometimes included as are titles that are make and model specific, e.g., Alfa Romeo, Packards, Ford Mustangs, etc. Weekly and bi-weekly publications are excluded.
- Images and magazine history is then published to the website when images from the start of publication to a desired end date are at least 90% complete. There are exceptions that cause a less complete collection to be published. It is generally when the title has strong interest, is rare and/or the author uses it to collect feedback and images from readers.
- Cover images are added in phases. Generally we start with older dates and work forward in time to more recent ones. We are focused on the 1980s and 1990s at the time.
- Not all titles on the site contain all images ever printed. This is a practical matter since each title has to be researched and every image collected, edited and published. In rare titles with low print volumes, images are difficult to find.
- Most car magazine content rarely fits neatly into one category or genre, e.g., hot rods or muscle cars. Typically titles cover at least two or three separate genres or types of vehicles. For example Hot Rod did a masterful job of covering everything from hot rods, dune buggies, drag racing, muscle cars, etc. The early Rod & Custom included hot rods, customs, slot cars, model cars and go-karts into the mix. Many titles often covered both muscle cars and drag racing. Therefore, titles are organized into genres for readability, but these are not always clean distinctions.
With the continuing demise of printed car magazines in 2019 and 2020, this quote seems appropriate.
"Rather than bemoan the things that are no longer what they were, think how lucky we are to have lived in such interesting times, played with such fantastic and demanding cars and known such passionate, eccentric and accomplished people. We've crammed a lot into our lives and enjoyed almost the whole of an entire golden age." Howard Cohen