OVERVIEW
Rod & Custom was started by Quinn Publishing under the leadership of Bill Quinn.  Bill left Road & Track and took the rights to Hop Up magazine with him, along with Lou Kimzey (artist and writer) and Ralph Poole (photographer).  Dean Batchelor joined in April 1952. 

Hop Up struggled financially due to its small size and lack of advertisers, so in March, 1953 Quinn went to a larger print format.  Readers wrote and many complained about the change, so Quinn assigned Spencer Murray to create a new title to be called Rod & Custom in a small trade- or pocket-sized format similar to what Hop Up had originally done in 1951. 

In May 1954, Quinn folded Hop Up into Rod & Custom. A year later, Quinn sold Rod & Custom and Motor Life titles to Petersen Publishing.  The first publication of Rod & Custom under the Petersen empire was June, 1955. 

Rod & Custom was a huge hit when launched in May 1953, and quickly improved in quality.  It went to a full-sized print format in August 1961.  The magazine was known for many "firsts": swapping a Chevrolet V8; the first project series with Dream Truck; the introduction of model cars, go-karts and dune buggies; and the emphasis on street rodding.  However, Rod & Custom kept a steady diet of customs and hot rods, along with some Bonneville and drag racing coverage.

Whereas most titles from Petersen Publishing targeted those under age 21, Rod & Custom targeted those around age 15. Technical articles were easy to understand for the younger reader. This was also clever branding, as a younger reader would naturally be inclined to stay with the title as his or her interest expanded to hot rods and customs upon reaching driving age.

Mr. Murray remained as the editor for at least 60 issues into 1959, and then transferred editorial duties to Lynn Wineland. Mr. Wineland stayed a few years, then Bill Neumann became editor. During this time, the magazine published its 40 millionth copy. Pricing increased from $.25 to $.35, and content was expanded to include more model cars, go karts, and mini-bikes.

In 1967, Spence Murray returned for a short stint as editor. He was followed by Bud Bryan, who started in 1969 and stayed through the May, 1974 issue. Mssrs. Murray and Bryan included project car series, introduced the vintage tin content, and eliminated car models, karting and drag racing content. They reached their 50 millionth copy, and pricing grew to $.50.

The magazine continued to expand street rod coverage and featured multi-issue project vehicles. John Christy joined the title from Car Craft magazine, and they began doing an interview series called "RC Visits". It occasionally featured modern muscle cars, a move that was controversial at the time. Near the end, content included a focus on the anti-hot rod movement and a great special edition on track roadsters. They reached their 60 millionth copy, and pricing was now $.75.

The magazine was published continuously through June, 1971 then was cancelled by Petersen and folded into Hot Rod magazine. After the closure, several competitive titles emerged to fill the street rod void including Street Rod in October 1971, Street Rodder in May 1972, and Rod Action in August 1972.

Rod & Custom was resurrected in July, 1972 with Bud Bryan as the editor, and it was printed until May 1974 when it was cancelled a second time. Upon its second cancellation, content again was folded into Hot Rod magazine.

The publication was restarted a third time in 1988 by Pat Ganahl and can be found HERE.

PUBLICATION DATA
In the beginning, Rod & Custom started strong and was consistently in #4, #5 or #6 position in print volumes among automotive titles that provided paid circulation details. But through the period ending in 1968 to 1970, it fell to #10 or #12 position. Its growth rate from 1955 to 1970 was 1.3% annually, which was lower than the general automotive magazine market which was growing 16% annually. Average monthly net paid circulation data from NW Ayer started at 16,556 in 1955, reached its peak in 1963 at 28,643, and end in 1971 at 19,690 monthly issues. No data were provided by the publisher for the years 1972 through 1974.

CONTENT COMPLETENESS:
A total of 241 issues were printed from May, 1953 through May, 1974. All cover images and all table of content pages are complete.

READER BONUS FEATURE:
A searchable index in .PDF format is available HERE.

May 1953
May 1953 Vol 1 No 1
June 1953
June 1953 Vol 1 No 2
July 1953
July 1953 Vol 1 No 3
Aug 1953
Aug 1953 Vol 1 No 4
Sept 1953
Sept 1953 Vol 1 No 5
Oct 1953
Oct 1953 Vol 1 No 6
Nov 1953
Nov 1953 Vol 1 No 7
Dec 1953
Dec 1953 Vol 1 No 8
Jan 1954
Jan 1954 Vol 1 No 9
Feb 1954
Feb 1954 Vol 1 No 10
Mar 1954
Mar 1954 Vol 1 No 11
Apr 1954
Apr 1954 Vol 1 No 12
May 1954
May 1954 Vol 2 No 1
June 1954
June 1954 Vol 2 No 2
July 1954
July 1954 Vol 2 No 3
Aug 1954
Aug 1954 Vol 2 No 4
Sept 1954
Sept 1954 Vol 2 No 5
Oct 1954
Oct 1954 Vol 2 No 6
Nov 1954
Nov 1954 Vol 2 No 7
Dec 1954
Dec 1954 Vol 2 No 8
Jan 1955
Jan 1955 Vol 2 No 9
Feb 1955
Feb 1955 vol 2 No 10
Mar 1955
Mar 1955 Vol 2 No 11
Apr 1955
Apr 1955 Vol 2 No 12
May 1955
May 1955 Vol 3 No 1
June 1955
June 1955 Vol 3 No 2
July 1955
July 1955 Vol 3 No 3
Aug 1955
Aug 1955 Vol 3 No 4
Sept 1955
Sept 1955 Vol 3 No 5
Oct 1955
Oct 1955 Vol 3 No 6
Nov 1955
Nov 1955 Vol 3 No 7
Dec 1955
Dec 1955 Vol 3 No 8
Jan 1956
Jan 1956 Vol 3 No 9
Feb 1956
Feb 1956 Vol 3 No 10
Mar 1956
Mar 1956 Vol 3 No 11
Apr 1956
Apr 1956 Vol 3 No 12
May 1956
May 1956 Vol 4 No 1
June 1956
June 1956 Vol 4 No 2
July 1956
July 1956 Vol 4 No 3
Aug 1956
Aug 1956 Vol 4 No 4
Sept 1956
Sept 1956 Vol 4 No 5
Oct 1956
Oct 1956 Vol 4 No 6
Nov 1956
Nov 1956 Vol 4 No 7
Dec 1956
Dec 1956 Vol 4 No 8
Jan 1957
Jan 1957 Vol 4 No 9
Feb 1957
Feb 1957 Vol 4 No 10
Mar 1957
Mar 1957 Vol 4 No 11
Apr 1957
Apr 1957 Vol 4 No 12
May 1957
May 1957 Vol 5 No 1
June 1957
June 1957 Vol 5 No 2
July 1957
July 1957 Vol 5 No 3
Aug 1957
Aug 1957 Vol 5 No 4
Sept 1957
Sept 1957 Vol 5 No 5
Oct 1957
Oct 1957 Vol 5 No 6
Nov 1957
Nov 1957 Vol 5 No 7
Dec 1957
Dec 1957 Vol 5 No 8
Jan 1958
Jan 1958 Vol 5 No 9
Feb 1958
Feb 1958 Vol 5 No 10
Mar 1958
Mar 1958 Vol 5 No 11
Apr 1958
Apr 1958 Vol 5 No 12
May 1958
May 1958 Vol 6 No 1
June 1958
June 1958 Vol 6 No 2
July 1958
July 1958 Vol 6 No 3
Aug 1958
Aug 1958 Vol 6 No 4
Sept 1958
Sept 1958 Vol 6 No 5
Oct 1958
Oct 1958 Vol 6 No 6
Nov 1958
Nov 1958 Vol 6 No 7
Dec 1958
Dec 1958 Vol 6 No 8
1959 to 1964