Hot Rod Deluxe was started in 1999 by Petersen Publishing as part of its Auto Anniversary Series. It was originally targeted to readers with interest in the roots of hot rodding by featuring basic, traditional hot rods and customs without billet and high-end paint. The late 1990s saw growing interest in these traditional rods from the 1950s and 1960s.
After two annual issues in 1999 and 2000, EMAP-Petersen cancelled the title. The editor, Aaron Lasky, went on to create Car Kulture Deluxe.
Fast forward to 2008. Petersen decided to revive the title with publisher Jerry Pitt and editor David Freiburger. It began with a bi-monthly publication schedule that lasted through the last print issue in January, 2020. When launched, the editors envisioned their target audience as younger, rat-rodder types and also those interested in drag racing history. But reader feedback suggested the real audience was older guys ("graybeards") who wanted to relive their youth by seeing the treasure trove of rare images from Petersen's archives. Content was originally for pre-1964 vehicles, but as the magazine evolved content included vehicles from the 1960s and 1970s.
The table of contents, if available, can be seen by clicking on the icon.
No publisher provided circulation data has been found at this time.
A total of 75 issues was printed from Spring, 1999 through January, 2020. All cover images are complete.