This site contains archive and history information for automotive magazines including hot rod, street rod, custom car, sports car, off-road, dune buggies, general automotive, karting, model car and slot car magazines that started publication in the United States between 1945 and 1990. History and cover images are accessed using the links to the left. Simply click on each magazine title or menu to see the covers.
Since there are over 9,500 images, they are grouped by title into nine content areas:
- Hot Rod, Street Rod and Custom Cars (from 1945 with images up to 2000)
- Muscle/Performance Cars (from 1962 with images up to 1995)
- Drag Racing (from 1959 with images up to 1980)
- Motorsports and Sports Cars (from 1949 with images up to 1980)
- General Consumer Automotive (from 1947 with images up to 1985)
- Antique/Collector (from 1966 with images up to 1988)
- Model and Slot Cars (from 1960 with images up to 1985)
- Off Roading, Trucks and Dune Buggies (from 1962 with images up to 1975)
- Go-Karts/Karting (from 1959 with images up to 1968)
HOW CONTENT IS SELECTED AND ORGANIZED
- Content is focused on magazines published monthly, bi-monthly, and quarterly. 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.
- Titles are considered if they started publication between 1945 and 1990. They are then published to the website when images from the start of publication to 1990 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 the author uses it to collect feedback and images from readers.
- Cover images are be added in phases. Generally we start with older dates and work forward in time to more recent ones.
- Not all titles 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 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.
- An honest attempt has been made to confirm beginning and ending dates by referencing either the volume and issue numbers and/or the sequential numbers if that scheme was used. A volume in periodical magazines is typically one year, with each issue given a sequential number within the volume. Different publishers used different practices that creates confusion. Some started a calendar year with a new volume number while others did not. Some magazines were published monthly but the publisher changed the volume number after six issues were printed. Sporadic printing coupled with rarity makes the process of time-dating some titles difficult. This site reconciles these differences and provides the most accurate information on when each title began and ended publication.
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