OVERVIEW
Robert E. Petersen launched Hot Rod magazine in 1948 to coincide with the first Southern California Timing Association (SCTA) Exposition in Los Angeles.  This magazine closed a needed gap in hot rod coverage after the demise of Throttle magazine at the start of World War II.  It gained success quickly, and many imitators followed.  Petersen's success allowed him to launch Motor Trend and many other titles.

The first magazines were  9" by 12" and were bigger than the popular pocket- or digest-sized magazines that came later. The size was reduced to 8-1/2" by 11" with the October, 1949 issue. This magazine marks the beginning of a golden age in automotive publications, and it set the style for much more to come.

Hot Rod has always been a generalist rodding magazine, successfully covering all aspects in the world of wheels from hot rods, customs, muscle cars, drag racing, dune buggies, vans, etc. Like other Petersen titles like Car Craft, in the mid-1960s content began slowly shifting away from pre-1948 vehicles and instead embraced Detroit classics from the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. This fact is represented by the re-grouping of the title into the performance & muscle genre for all issues from 1965 forward.

Rod & Custom was a sister magazine in the Petersen empire. When it ended for a second time in May 1974, it was folded into Hot Rod magazine.

The table of contents for each specific month can be seen by clicking on the  icon.

PUBLICATION DATA:
Hot Rod ranked either #1 or #2 through 1958 among automotive titles that provided circulation details.  It competed head-to-head with Motor Trend. Hot Rod took the #1 slot in printed magazines in 1959 and held that position continously through 1975. Over the time period from 1950 to 1975, it grew about 12% annually, the fastest growing automotive magazine. Average monthly net paid circulation was 7,887 in 1950 and grew to 142,160 in 1975.

CONTENT COMPLETENESS:
A total of 876 issues were printed from January, 1948 through December, 2019. All cover images are complete through 1995, and all table of content pages are complete from 1948 through 1964.

READER BONUS FEATURE:
A searchable index for issues from 1948 through 1974 in .PDF format is available HERE.

Jan 1948
Jan 1948 Vol 1 No 1
Feb 1948
Feb 1948 Vol 1 No 2
Mar 1948
Mar 1948 Vol 1 No 3
Apr 1948
Apr 1948 Vol 1 No 4
May 1948
May 1948 Vol 1 No 5
June 1948
June 1948 Vol 1 No 6
July 1948
July 1948 Vol 1 No 7
Aug 1948
Aug 1948 Vol 1 No 8
Sept 1948
Sept 1948 Vol 1 No 9
Oct 1948
Oct 1948 Vol 1 No 10
Nov 1948
Nov 1948 Vol 1 No 11
Dec 1948
Dec 1948 Vol 1 No 12
Jan 1949
Jan 1949 Vol 2 No 1
Feb 1949
Feb 1949 Vol 2 No 2
Mar 1949
Mar 1949 Vol 2 No 3
Apr 1949
Apr 1949 Vol 2 No 4
May 1949
May 1949 Vol 2 No 5
June 1949
June 1949 Vol 2 No 6
July 1949
July 1949 Vol 2 No 7
Aug 1949
Aug 1949 Vol 2 No 8
Sept 1949
Sept 1949 Vol 2 No 9
Oct 1949
Oct 1949 Vol 2 No 10
Nov 1949
Nov 1949 Vol 2 No 11
Dec 1949
Dec 1949 Vol 2 No 12
Jan 1950
Jan 1950 Vol 3 No 1
Feb 1950
Feb 1950 Vol 3 No 2
Mar 1950
Mar 1950 Vol 3 No 3
Apr 1950
Apr 1950 Vol 3 No 4
May 1950
May 1950 Vol 3 No 5
June 1950
June 1950 Vol 3 No 6
July 1950
July 1950 Vol 3 No 7
Aug 1950
Aug 1950 Vol 3 No 8
Sept 1950
Sept 1950 Vol 3 No 9
Oct 1950
Oct 1950 Vol 3 No 10
Nov 1950
Nov 1950 Vol 3 No 11
Dec 1950
Dec 1950 Vol 3 No 12
Jan 1951
Jan 1951 Vol 4 No 1
Feb 1951
Feb 1951 Vol 4 No 2
Mar 1951
Mar 1951 Vol 4 No 3
Apr 1951
Apr 1951 Vol 4 No 4
May 1951
May 1951 Vol 4 No 5
June 1951
June 1951 Vol 4 No 6
July 1951
July 1951 Vol 4 No 7
Aug 1951
Aug 1951 Vol 4 No 8
Sept 1951
Sept 1951 Vol 4 No 9
Oct 1951
Oct 1951 Vol 4 No 10
Nov 1951
Nov 1951 Vol 4 No 11
Dec 1951
Dec 1951 Vol 4 No 12
Jan 1952
Jan 1952 Vol 5 No 1
Feb 1952
Feb 1952 Vol 5 No 2
Mar 1952
Mar 1952 Vol 5 No 3
Apr 1952
Apr 1952 Vol 5 No 4
May 1952
May 1952 Vol 5 No 5
June 1952
June 1952 Vol 5 No 6
July 1952
July 1952 Vol 5 No 7
Aug 1952
Aug 1952 Vol 5 No 8
Sept 1952
Sept 1952 Vol 5 No 9
Oct 1952
Oct 1952 Vol 5 No 10
Nov 1952
Nov 1952 Vol 5 No 11
Dec 1952
Dec 1952 Vol 5 No 12
Jan 1953
Jan 1953 Vol 6 No 1
Feb 1953
Feb 1953 Vol 6 No 2
Mar 1953
Mar 1953 Vol 6 No 3
Apr 1953
Apr 1953 Vol 6 No 4
May 1953
May 1953 Vol 6 No 5
June 1953
June 1953 Vol 6 No 6
July 1953
July 1953 Vol 6 No 7
Aug 1953
Aug 1953 Vol 6 No 8
Sept 1953
Sept 1953 Vol 6 No 9
Oct 1953
Oct 1953 Vol 6 No 10
Nov 1953
Nov 1953 Vol 6 No 11
Dec 1953
Dec 1953 Vol 6 No 12
Jan 1954
Jan 1954 Vol 7 No 1
Feb 1954
Feb 1954 Vol 7 No 2
Mar 1954
Mar 1954 Vol 7 No 3
Apr 1954
Apr 1954 Vol 7 No 4
May 1954
May 1954 Vol 7 No 5
June 1954
June 1954 Vol 7 No 6
July 1954
July 1954 Vol 7 No 7
Aug 1954
Aug 1954 Vol 7 No 8
Sept 1954
Sept 1954 Vol 7 No 9
Oct 1954
Oct 1954 Vol 7 No 10
Nov 1954
Nov 1954 Vol 7 No 11
Dec 1954
Dec 1954 Vol 7 No 12
1955 to 1961