Hot Rod (magazine)

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Hot Rod
Staff writersDavid Kennedy
CategoriesAutomobile magazine
PublisherMotor Trend Group
Total circulation
(December 2012)
FounderRobert Petersen
Year founded1948
First issueJanuary 1948 (1948-01)
CompanyTEN: The Enthusiast Network
Based inLos Angeles

Hot Rod is a monthly American car magazine devoted to hot rodding, drag racing, and muscle cars—modifying automobiles for performance and appearance.


Hot Rod is the oldest magazine devoted to hot rodding having been published since January 1948.[2][3] Robert E. Petersen founded the magazine and his Petersen Publishing Company was the original publisher. The first editor of Hot Rod was Wally Parks, who went on to found the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA).[4] Petersen Publishing was sold to British publisher EMAP in 1998, who then sold the former Petersen magazines to Primedia in 2001. Today it is published by TEN: The Enthusiast Network, which purchased the magazine From Source Interlink in 2014. Source Interlink acquired the magazine along with Primedia's Consumer Magazine division in 2007.[citation needed]

Hot Rod has licensed affiliation with Universal Technical Institute.[citation needed]

In March 1948, Hot Rod published the first appearance of Tom Medley's cartoon hot rodder, Stroker McGurk. The feature would survive until 1955.[5]


Between 1961 and 1969, the Hot Rod Magazine Championship Drag Races, "one of the most significant drag racing events" of that era, were hosted by the magazine at Riverside Raceway.[6] The championship offered a US$37,000 prize, greater even than a National Hot Rod Association national event prize at the time.[7]

The "Hot Rod Power Tour" is an organized tour where hot rodders drive a pre-planned route throughout the United States. It began in 1995 when Hot Rod staff members decided to take some of their project cars on a cross-country drive from Los Angeles, California to Norwalk, Ohio. Thousands of people participated along the way but only seven participants (other than staff members) made the entire journey and were inducted into the original "Long Hauler Gang". Since its inception, this event has continued to gain in popularity and is now one of the most anticipated automotive events each year. It is typically six to eight days in length and held in late May or early June. In recent years, the tour has evolved to become what is essentially a continuous trek around the United States in that it begins in or near the location that it ended in the previous year. Each stop is combined with events or activities that vary as much as the participants themselves.[citation needed]

The starting points can change from year to year on the power tour. Tour Stops along the way on the power tour often feature entertainment, celebrities, contests, and games.

Video games[edit]

ValuSoft has published Hot Rod: American Street Drag and Hot Rod: Garage to Glory, drag racing video games in which the goal is to win the cover feature of Hot Rod magazine.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "eCirc for Consumer Magazines". Alliance for Audited Media. December 31, 2012. Retrieved June 21, 2013.
  2. ^ John Dinan (September 1, 1998). Sports in the Pulp Magazines. McFarland. p. 64. ISBN 978-0-7864-4047-4. Retrieved October 19, 2015.
  3. ^ H.F. Moorhouse (1986). "Organizing Hot Rods: Sport and Specialist Magazines". The International Journal of the History of Sport. 3 (1): 81–98. doi:10.1080/02649378608713590.
  4. ^ Goldstein, Richard (October 4, 2007). "Wally Parks, Drag Racing Pioneer, Dies at 94". The New York Times.
  5. ^ Alverson, Brigid. "Stroker McGurk’ creator Tom Medley passes away", written 12 March 2014, at CBR.rom (retrieved 23 October 2018); Coonan, Steve. "Hot Rodding Legend Tom Medley Passes Away at 93", at (retrieved 23 October 2018)
  6. ^ Taylor, Thom. Untitled item in Hot Rod Magazine, February 2017, p.11.
  7. ^ Taylor, p.11.

External links[edit]