Street Rod was started by Bruce Miller and Bruce Craig in Portland, Oregon. The first issue was published in October 1971. It was dedicated to street rodders, and it focused on how-to-do-its, rod run coverage, rodding trends, car features and club activities. The magazine was 64 pages and sold for $.75.
Mr. Miller was the publisher and the controlling owner. Before he started publishing the title, he was part of a conversation with other founders of the street rod movement - Tex Smith, Tom Medley, Bud Bryan and others - who were at the first Street Rod Nationals in Memphis, Tennessee in 1970. Mr. Miller held NSRA membership number #1 as he was the first President. Talk turned to formation of a magazine devoted to street rods, and possibly the rumors that Petersen Publishing might close Rod & Custom (R&C). This would create a huge opportunity because the street rod movement was in full swing due to R&C's active promotion. After everyone left the brainstorming session, many believe that Miller took ideas and even the magazine title name and launched the magazine. This was apparently a source of frustration for some involved.
Miller moved to Portland in 1971 to work for United Medical Lab. He met Bruce Craig at church, and Mr. Miller described the potential R&C closure. Mr. Craig offered to help, as his wife had experience with typesetting. Mr. Miller was apparently a real "schmoozer", and he was able to connect with Tex Smith. This ultimately yielded a contract with Kable News Service for Street Rod's printing and distribution services.
Initial content came from a trip Mr. Miller and Mr. Craig took in June 1971 to the Yellowstone Rod Run. In this group of 6-8 cars was John Slaughter, another church member, fellow hot rodder and investor. Both Bruce's wrote copy and took photographs, and the first issue in October 1971 contained much content from this trip. Mr. Miller funded the first year of production largely with his credit card.
Mr. Craig got assistance from Spence Murray during the production of the first issue, with Mr. Murray traveling to Portland. The first issue had a run of 10,000 copies. Production was done from Mr. Craig's apartment, then was switched to Mr. Miller's apartment where it stayed until March 1972. Offices were then rented in the Sellwood neighborhood near Milwaukee, Oregon.
As the title grew through 1972, feature contributors and content came from across the U.S. Actual sales were approximately 40,000 per month (net paid circulation). Photographer Dale Moreau (who later worked at Freightliner as their corporate photographer) was added to the staff when he met Bruce Miller while working at United Medical Labs. Another well known Portland hot rodder, Russ Meeks, was the technical editor.
By January 1973, Mr Craig had not been paid. This resulted in restructuring, and Mr. Craig received an ownership percent and a '39 Ford. Mr Miller's ownership was ended by trading for a Model A truck, and John Slaughter became the publisher and editor. Mr. Slaughter owned a business that designed and installed golf courses, so he had the means to take a controlling interest. But his ownership was short lived.
Bruce Craig recently clarified how the ending came. Besides the challenge to secure advertising throughout the magazine's life, a second challenge involved printing costs. Apparently the Street Rod publishers got their print paper on credit, and they did not have to pay for the paper until 90 days after each month's publication went on sale. A paper shortage occurred in mid-1973, and the publisher did not have a contract for paper supply. This required a pre-payment of three months supply, and cash flow did not allow them to keep the magazine operating. It folded after the July 1973 issue.
The table of contents, if available, can be seen by clicking on the icon.
The publisher did not provide net paid circulation data to N.W. Ayer.
A total of 20 issues was printed from October, 1971 through July, 1973. All cover images and tables of content pages are complete.