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Hot Rod - Magazine Covers - 1948 to 1956

Robert E. Petersen launched Hot Rod magazine in 1948 to coincide with the first SCTA Exposition in Los Angeles.  This magazine closed a needed gap in hot rod coverage after the demise of Throttle magazine and the end of World War II.  It gained success quickly, and many imitators followed.  Petersen's success allowed him to launch Motor Trend and many other titles.

The first magazines were  9" by 12" and were bigger than the popular pocket- or digest-sized magazines that came later.  The size was later reduced to 8-1/2" by 11".  Click HERE to see images from 1957 onward.

PUBLICATION DATA: Hot Rod ranked either #1 or #2 through 1958 among automotive titles that provided circulation details.  It competed head-to-head with Motor TrendHot Rod took the #1 slot in printed magazines in 1959 and held that position continously through 1970.  Over the time period from 1950 to 1970, it grew about 16% annually, the fastest growing automotive magazine.  It dominated all others, and one in four printed magazines was Hot Rod.

Jan 1948 Vol 1 No 1 Feb 1948 Vol 1 No 2 Mar 1948 Vol 1 No 3 Apr 1948 Vol 1 No 4
May 1948 Vol 1 No 5 June 1948 Vol 1 No 6 July 1948 Vol 1 No 7 Aug 1948 Vol 1 No 8
Sept 1948 Vol 1 No 9 Oct 1948 Vol 1 No 10 Nov 1948 Vol 1 No 11 Dec 1948 Vol 1 No 12
Jan 1949 Vol 2 No 1 Feb 1949 Vol 2 No 2 Mar 1949 Vol 2 No 3 Apr 1949 Vol 2 No 4
May 1949  Vol 2 No 5 June 1949 Vol 2 No 6 July 1949 Vol 2 No 7 Aug 1949 Vol 2 No 8
Sept 1949 Vol 2 No 9 Oct 1949 Vol 2 No 10 Nov 1949 Vol 2 No 11 Dec 1949 Vol 2 No 12
Jan 1950 Vol 3 No 1 Feb 1950 Vol 3 No 2 Mar 1950 Vol 3 No 3 Apr 1950 Vol 3 No 4
May 1950 Vol 3 No 5 June 1950 Vol 3 No 6 July 1950 Vol 3 No 7 Aug 1950 Vol 3 No 8
Sept 1950 Vol 3 No 9 Oct 1950 Vol 3 No 10 Nov 1950 Vol 3 No 11 Dec 1950 Vol 3 No 12
Jan 1951 Vol 4 No 1 Feb 1951 Vol 4 No 2 Mar 1951 Vol 4 No 3 Apr 1951 Vol 4 No 4
May 1951 Vol 4 No 5 June 1951 Vol 4 No 6 July 1951 Vol 4 No 7 Aug 1951 Vol 4 No 8
Sept 1951 Vol 4 No 9 Oct 1951 Vol 4 No 10 Nov 1951 Vol 4 No 11 Dec 1951 Vol 4 No 12
Jan 1952 Vol 5 No 1 Feb 1952 Vol 5 No 2 Mar 1952 Vol 5 No 3 Apr 1952 Vol 5 No 4
May 1952 Vol 5 No 5 June 1952 Vol 5 No 6 July 1952 Vol 5 No 7 Aug 1952 Vol 5 No 8
Sept 1952 Vol 5 No 9 Oct 1952 Vol 5 No 10 Nov 1952 Vol 5 No 11 Dec 1952 Vol 5 No 12
Jan 1953 Vol 6 No 1 Feb 1953 Vol 6 No 2 Mar 1953 Vol 6 No 3 Apr 1953 Vol 6 No 4
May 1953 Vol 6 No 5 June 1953 Vol 6 No 6 July 1953 Vol 6 No 7 Aug 1953 Vol 6 No 8
Sept 1953 Vol 6 No 9 Oct 1953 Vol 6 No 10 Nov 1953 Vol 6 No 11 Dec 1953 Vol 6 No 12
Jan 1954 Vol 7 No 1 Feb 1954 Vol 7 No 2 Mar 1954 Vol 7 No 3 Apr 1954 Vol 7 No 4
May 1954 Vol 7 No 5 June 1954 Vol 7 No 6 July 1954 Vol 7 No 7 Aug 1954 Vol 7 No 8
Sept 1954 Vol 7 No 9 Oct 1954 Vol 7 No 10 Nov 1954 Vol 7 No 11 Dec 1954 Vol 7 No 12
Jan 1955 Vol 8 No 1 Feb 1955 Vol 8 No 2 Mar 1955 Vol 8 No 3 Apr 1955 Vol 8 No 4
May 1955 Vol 8 No 5 June 1955 Vol 8 No 6 July 1955 Vol 8 No 7 Aug 1955 Vol 8 No 8
Sept 1955 Vol 8 No 9 Oct 1955 Vol 8 No 10 Nov 1955 Vol 8 No 11 Dec 1955 Vol 8 No 12
Jan 1956 Vol 9 No 1 Feb 1956 Vol 9 No 2 Mar 1956 Vol 9 No 3 Apr 1956 Vol 9 No 4
May 1956 Vol 9 No 5 June 1956 Vol 9 No 6 July 1956 Vol 9 No 7 Aug 1956 Vol 9 No 8
Sept 1956 Vol 9 No 9 Oct 1956 Vol 9 No 10 Nov 1956 Vol 9 No 11 Dec 1956 Vol 9 No 12

 

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