Hop Up magazine popularized the "little pages" (trade-sized or pocket-sized) magazine format (5-1/2" by 8"). It was started by Road & Track magazine staff at Enthusiasts Publications. Louis Kimzey, the art director, observed the popularity of hot rods and customs and felt a need to cover local cars and events. He convinced editor Oliver Billingsley to create such a magazine.
The first issue in July, 1951 was a test run, and about 5,000 issues were printed. August was the first full production run. It was 48 pages and priced at $.15 each. Note that both July and August issues share the same cover as well as the same volume and series number.
In 1952, the Road & Track advertising manager and investor Bill Quinn traded his invested shares for the rights to the Hop Up title, and he took some staff including Mr. Kimzey to form the new Quinn Publishing Company in Los Angeles.
The magazine struggled financially due to its small size and lack of advertisers, so in February, 1953 Hop Up went to a larger print format. Readers wrote and complained about the change, so Quinn assigned Spencer Murray to create Rod & Custom in the small format style. Petersen Publishing, a direct competitor, launched Honk as a competitive response.
Bill Quinn really wanted to compete with and out-do Petersen's Motor Trend, and in June, 1953 Hop Up was co-titled as Hop Up and Motor Life. The content began shifting to new cars, and the March, 1954 issue was the last one with this co-titling. Hop Up was dropped from the title afterwards, hot rod related content moved to Rod & Custom, and the remains were titled as Motor Life. Whew!!
And in the last twist of fate, Bill Quinn sold Rod & Custom and Motor Life magazine titles to Petersen Publishing in June, 1955.
The table of contents can be seen by clicking on the icon.
The publisher did not provide circulation data to N.W. Ayer.
A total of 33 issues were printed. All cover images and table of content pages are complete for this title.