Status of America's Classic Car Magazines?

I noticed the latest issue of Hot Rod magazine surprisingly wasn’t for April or May. It was for “Spring”. I believe it was published monthly since 1948 until now. It appears the frequency of publication has changed from monthly to quarterly. & quite a few other formerly classic vehicle magazines have either ceased publication completely, or switched to electronic publications (internet) only, e.g. Classic Truck. Any theories what’s going on?

By way of contrast, of the UK Classic Car publications I’m aware of, they seem to be going strong, no change.

I don’t know but I stopped them except hemmings. Just found them not useful or interesting anymore. I did get a notice from one of my diy magazines that they will be increasing prices and maybe reducing issues due to increased paper, postage, and other costs. Gonna be a rough patch.

I found Hot Rod’s “To the Rescue” articles quite interesting. Each month they’d address a reader’s particular car problem by taking the car to their shop and taking it completely apart if necessary to figure out the cause and effect the repair. The “we’ll stop at nothing until we figure it out” theme made it particularly interesting. Unfortunately they stopped including that series of articles a couple of years ago. Presumably it was expensive to produce.

I don’t find photos of nearly perfectly restored classic cars very interesting myself; but quite a few readers must like that by the number of pages devoted to the topic.

I’m wondering if rapidly increasing mail costs are one of major problems? If so, it seems like something could be done about that.

Internet’s the main problem, ALL printed media has seen HUGE reductions. No reason car mags would be different. I was particularly affected by the shut down of National Geographic magazines.


Car and Driver recently announced they are going to 6 issues a year. Larger issue for sure, but still just 6.

The reason is that people dont buy printed publications anymore. They read what they are interested in on their hand-held device, like i am doing now.

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Agree the internet is the cause of magazine decline. So is video. Young people don’t want to read.

And the chicken and egg reason… the magazines lost readers because quality declined, or the quality declined because of lost revenue from lost readers… Discuss…

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Same problem with the newspaper, Our local paper has started asking for donations to help support them.

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Newspapers did this to themselves. They offered free news over the early internet…day old news… for free and then later wanted to charge for it. Clearly a mistake.

Another mistake… bite sized news articles with no depth. The internet can provide that quicker. Newspapers need to offer long form, indepth reporting not found on the internet… at the time, anyway.

But news papers could not be convinced that they had to change… so they didn’t and now there are far fewer local papers.

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Not to mention, tons of errors in the online editions of newspapers, because articles are submitted directly from journalists’ mobile devices.

Misspellings, sloppy grammar, run-on sentences, or incomplete sentences, abound now.


The winds of time bring change, old troglodytes like me may resist, but as the Borg say “resistance is futile”.


Heck, that is the way a lot of the 1st time posters wright on here… :man_facepalming: :laughing:

And don’t get me started on punctuation, it does make a difference… lol


Ah you must listen to bill too. I wrote the word down to look it up but never did until now.

Let’s eat grandma.
Let’s eat, grandma.
Yes, it makes a difference!


The only car mag that I’ve subscribed to for the last decade or so is Hemmings Classic Car. They still publish a monthly issue, but it is entirely possible that they too will change-over to publishing every two months. I hope that it doesn’t happen, but… they did merge their foreign classic car mag into Hemmings Classic Car a few years ago, so I suppose that anything is possible.

OTOH Life Magazine will start printing again. We’ll see how that works out.

Motor Trend’s response to lost magazine sales was to buy the Speed Channel (or whatever they called it at the time). Long time writers for Hot Rod and other magazines David Freiberger and Steve Dulcich (probably others) are featured on several TV shows along with numerous new age contributors from YouTube. Times change and the old guard has to deal with it.

As for newspapers, the Washington Post has several weekly features that contain basic information then reference full articles only available to subscribers. It seems that their online subscriptions are much cheaper than print subscriptions, just as the Baltimore Sun is. I am a 50 year subscriber to the Sunpaper and don’t plan to change. I might reconsider ii their quality drops. In addition to using the usual news services the Sun now reprints material from the New York Times and Washington Post. They used to have their own staff to cover those issues but can’t afford to do so now.

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When I google “Car & Driver road test” or “Car & Driver review” or the same for Motor Trend or Road & Track, I often get results of road tests and reviews from 30 - 50 years ago, along with more recent such scans and uploads.

I find the older road tests and reviews to be far more reverent, and more thorough that ones published since the 2000s. They encapsulated the test results and vehicle specifications into a neat chart at the end of the article.

Today’s automotive periodicals seem to cater toward attention deficit, and those who have no time to sit and read, but would prefer to flip through lots of pictures. No substance or depth to modern publications.

Same goes for older issues of Astronomy Magazine and Stereo review, publications relevant to my other interests.

My regional newspaper–to which I have subscribed for at least 30 years–keeps getting thinner and thinner. At the same time, they keep increasing their monthly subscription fees. So, thinking that they might operate in a similar way to cable TV companies, I phoned them to say that I was dropping my subscription.

Surprise! :smirk:
Just like the cable companies, the price is not a fixed amount, and they agreed to reduce the cost.

A couple of months ago, they stopped publishing their Saturday edition, and that reality–coupled with the ever-thinning content of the other 6 days–tells me that they are likely moving toward the end of their printed editions.

Recently, I got a mailing from them telling me that I could save some money by migrating to digital-only–which I will likely do. I think that the days of the print edition of newspapers are now coming to a close, along with things like cursive script, paper personal checks, cash, incandescent bulbs, drum brakes, CRTs, and other vestiges of a bygone era.


As a long time subscriber to Hot Rod, Car Craft, Car and Driver, Autoweek and sometimes Popular Hot Rodding, I noticed the decline in quality and my lost interest in the yearly “Smallblock Chevy Bolt-ons for Power” in a fuel injected, electronically controlled age. OK so Car and Driver, Autoweek, BMW’s Roundel and SCCA’s Sportscar magazines still graced my pile.

Sportscar was a given as I was an SCCA member so I could race… the magazine wasn’t really interesting. The Roundel’s editor, Satch Carlson was a favorite writer booted from Autoweek but Dutch Mandel still had a hand in sp I kept subscribing. All just faded into such mediocrity that I stopped them all and picked up Grassroots Motorsports.

These paper editions have been replaced by digital subscriptions to Grassroots, a free newsletter from Hagerty (edited by Larry Webster formerly from Car and Driver and Road and Track) Material well worth signing up for as is Grassroots. Hemmings is in a similar position as is Classic Motorsports. These are all companies that have “figured out” publications in the 21st century. A format acceptable to Boomers. They include video content for Millennials and Gen Zs.

I predict the others will fail if they, too, don’t figure it out.

I stopped subscribing to magazines over a decade ago. All that content can be found on-line. Most magazines now have a digital footprint. Most newspapers have a digital footprint. Easier to read on-line. What I absolutely HATE are the news video articles. Has nothing to do with the younger generation not wanting to read…but everything to do with Ads. They are embedding the ads into the video content so you ad-blocker won’t work. With text I can skip the printed ads I don’t want to read (which is 99.9999999% of them). With the video article - I can’t. Hate it. It’s so bad now I’m skipping all video articles. There ads before the article starts…several ads.