Four Wheeler was published monthly by Ames Publishing Company in Tarzana, California. With a tag line, "The Magazine of Back Country Driving and Camping", it was one of the first magazines dedicated to off-roading. The magazine was first published in February, 1962 and continues to be published to the present. This makes it the oldest magazine dedicated to off-roading and SUVs.
The original editor and publisher was Robert F. Ames. The magazine apparently got its start when Mr. Ames presented his idea for a magazine at a California State Association meeting of four wheel drive clubs. He continued as publisher until 1971, when there was a change in ownership.
Mr. Ames also published the book, Western Treasures' Notebook of Lost Mines and Buried Treasure in 1966, and he published a monthly magazine titled Western Treasures that highlighted ghost towns, old mining sites, treasure hunting, etc. This was started in 1963 and was published through August, 1975.
Jack Pelzer then became the new owner and publisher, and the new business entity was Four Wheeler Publishing in Chatsworth, California. Bill Sanders was the editor from 1971 until 1982.
Mr. Pelzer subsequently sold the magazine to General Media in June, 1986. General Media was owned by Bob Guccione Sr. who operated Penthouse magazine.
Then in February, 1998, EMAP-Petersen purchased Four Wheeler magazine and three other titles from General Media. The other titles were Stock Car Racing, Open Wheel, and Drag Racing Monthly.
Fast forward to 2001. EMAP-Petersen sold 60 titles including this one to Primedia.
The publisher provided net paid circulation data to both Gale Research and Oxbridge Communication's The Standard Periodical Directory for the years from 1988 to 2005 (the last year for which we have data). Annual print volumes ranged from 500,000 to 710,000 in this timeframe.
A total of 444 issues was printed from 1962 through the period covered by this website - December, 2000. All cover images are complete except 5/72, 2/76, 11/79 and 11/80.
An internet presence was created and links added to the front covers starting in December, 1996. This is considerably earlier than other publications. The site www.fourwheeler.com now redirects to the Motor Trend website.