The first iteration of Rod & Custom (R&C) was started by Quinn Publishing. Due to numerous factors, it was ended in 1974 when its subsequent owner Petersen Publishing felt the magazine didn't have a suitable sales size.
In this second iteration, Petersen Publishing designated Pat Ganahl to restart the title in 1988. Pat grew up reading the "little pages" magazines and loved R&C. Working at Street Rodder magazine at the time, he made numerous pleas to resurrect the title. Lee Kelly, head of the specialty publications division, decided to re-launch it as a bi-monthly. Pat pleaded again and was told he could run it.
Mr Ganahl pushed the boundaries and added custom cars, affordable '50s cars and street rods, classic pickups, nostalgia drags, personality profiles and historical content. He was clear in the first issue that he would ignore the arbitrary cutoff for pre-1948 cars, but he did draw the line and exclude new car tests, Pro Street vehicles, and muscle cars including Nova's, Chevelle's, Mustangs, and Camaro's. He mixed traditional with high-tech, and emphasized we should enjoy our old cars by driving them!
The editors and staff rode a wave of changes as the title moved through various new owners:
- 1996 -- Robert E. Petersen sells his company to a private equity firm for an estimated $550 million,
- 1998 -- The private equity firm sells titles to EMAP P.L.C. for $1.5 billion,
- 2001 -- EMAP P.L.C. sells its American magazine titles to Primedia for $515 million,
- 2007 -- Primedia sells its Enthusiast Media division to Source Interlink Media for $1.2 billion, and,
- 2014 -- Source Interlink rebrands to TEN: The Enthusiast Network, and multiple titles are ended including Rod & Custom.
Rod & Custom is considered one of the three best hot rod magazines from the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s. When it folded, subscribers were given Street Rodder as its replacement.
The table of contents, if available, can be seen by clicking on the icon.
The publisher provided net paid circulation data to both Gale Research and Oxbridge Communication's The Standard Periodical Directory from 1988 through 2005 (the most recent date for which we have data). Annual print volume was 187,000 in the early 1990s, but by 2002 it reached almost 335,000.
A total of 403 issues was printed from December, 1988 through October, 2014. All images are complete.
An internet presence was created and referenced on the front covers starting in March 2001. The site is now defunct: www.rodandcustommagazine.com.