Even in the depleted magazine sections of most grocery stores (don’t even try the typical drug store), you can still count on Motor Trend Group’s Hot Rod, launched in 1948, and Motor Trend – introduced in 1949 – to be on that depleted shelf. Both mags were born in the fuel-infused excitement of postwar California, and both were the singular vision of Robert E. Petersen.
Of course, to survive 70 years (or 70 days) in publishing, you need far more than a recognizable title. For Petersen it was all about the talent, allowing that talent to create the content, and then promoting the hell out of that content. There’s no point in producing great words or photography if no one reads and/or sees it.
Matt Stone, a former executive editor of Motor Trend, puts both an inside knowledge and outside perspective into the story of Robert Petersen. His collaborator, Gigi Carleton, worked for Margie and Robert Petersen as both an executive secretary and personal manager. And Ed Iskenderian, still running the camshaft business bearing his name, supplies the foreword, writing as only a key figure in the performance industry – which Petersen so carefully chronicled – can.
If your garage has a library, Matt Stone’s Hot Rod Empire should be on one of its shelves.