It’s nearly impossible to articulate the feeling that enthusiast magazines like Hot Rod Magazine used to provide. I’m just old enough to remember the anticipation of watching the mail each week, patiently pacing for a metered dose from another subscription “slick.” Cracking each book was a thrilling moment, a flood of pages filled with words, photos, and even ads to pore over for weeks until anticipation for another book started to build.
The internet changed all that—mostly a good thing—but the feeling those magazines created still lingers. They were for me, written by people like me, featuring people who I wanted to be. They were windows into another world, ready at my fingertips, and I could participate a little, some, or as much as I wanted for that day.
It's why Hot Rod Magazine has digitized its archive and will put it out there, another opportunity for enthusiasts to relive those moments. Beginning Nov. 1, all 74 years of Hot Rod Magazines will be available online, provided you sign up for an account with Motor Trend. (Note to readers: Cheaper than a check every year, I guess, but nothing’s free anyway.)
Hot Rod says they’ve digitized more than 128,000 pages of their magazine from more than 900 issues. That’s hundreds of thousands of photos, ads, and books of stories that span decades. Hot Rod has been a trusted source for generations of readers, giving them glimpses into racing, car culture, and more.
It may not have the same feeling as turning page after page, pacing in the kitchen waiting for the mail to come, or flipping through a book quickly to spot an eye-catching image, but it’s better than letting those editions get lost. Part of car culture is preserving history, and it’s encouraging to see others taking up that mantle, too.
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