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Hot Rod

Hot Rod March 2018

Start running with HOT ROD - the biggest, baddest, car-guy magazine in the business! We bring you the broadest performance car coverage you'll find anywhere. From one end of the smoking¹ rubber road to the other. Barn finds, hot rods, rat rods, race cars, home-built super cars, land speed racers, the latest Detroit iron, and classic muscle - if it¹s hitting the streets, you¹ll read about it here first!

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4 min.
where it all began—for me

The story of how I got to this chair isn’t typical of past HOT ROD editors. There is no long history of fiddling with 1932 Fords in my grampa’s garage or camping out at Bonneville. My ignition point was a model-car kit I got in 1969 at the age of six. That, and about a zillion muscle cars pounding the pavement in my hometown of Greensboro, North Carolina. By the time I got a driver’s license in 1979, the party was over, but the fire still burned. My first car—a more-door 1972 Malibu with a lame 307—might be Freiburger-approved in 2018, but was the butt of jokes in 1981. By then, my interest in cars extended to NASCAR, a time when “stock cars” still resembled the ones in showrooms. My job…

1 min.
better late than never: the swamp rat’s first nhra photos, 1955

Hidden among more than 3 million black-and-white negatives in the Petersen Publishing Co. archive are certain unpublished outtakes whose historical value has risen from worthless to priceless with the passage of time. Sixty-three years after a youngster earned his first NHRA victory at Lake City Airport near Jacksonville, Florida, some longtime readers may still be wondering why HOT ROD’s Nov. 1955 event coverage omitted the 12.1-second, Merc-powered rail that won the A/Dragster class (at 106.88 mph), then overall Top Eliminator (108.17). “I learned later that the guys in the California office of HOT ROD...took one look at my heap and laughed out loud,” Don Garlits asserted in his 1967 autobiography, “King Of The Dragsters” (coauthored by Brock Yates). “They decided it was just too ugly to deserve a picture.” Then again,…

2 min.
the hot rod archives

20 YEARS AGO March 1998 (160 pages, $3.50): Honoring HRM’s first half-century, Cruz Pedregon’s Firebird “heralds our re-emergence on the national drag racing scene,” Editor Ro McGonegal explained of a rare fuel-car cover (historically poor newsstand sellers). Gray Baskerville shared the story of Frank Currie’s incredible Bonneville Nationals adventure. Determined to break 200 in a street-legal roadster, he set sail on a road trip that took him 2,218 miles and up to 197 mph—twice. Frank also joined the “360-degree club” by spinning out—twice—before turning over the seat to old salt Duane McKinney, who clocked 205. 40 YEARS AGO March 1978 (116 pages, $1.25): Though “the van thing” had pretty much played out, Ford and Firestone were late getting the memo. Petersen’s ad guys were nonetheless glad to play along with a program that…

4 min.
hot rod anything! the coolest two-stroke you’ve seen

You could probably build this engine with just a hand drill; it’d take a lot of time, but you could do it!”— Joachim Hall It was while describing how he engineered his own hall-effect-triggered, ignition-control module that we knew Joachim Hall, or Makerj101 as he’s known on YouTube, was perfect for Hot Rod Anything. The 22-year-old engineering student started off admitting that he learned more from the prolific online streaming service than in any textbook: “I read very little, so most of the knowledge I’ve gained is from YouTube and the internet,” he explained. “I usually look at YouTube first, and if I find nothing else, then I’ll find an article to read. I try to give back by sharing my builds and experiments on there.” It was through finding Stirling…

8 min.
take 5 with ed welburn

Ed Welburn started working at General Motors as a designer in 1972 when he was 21 years old. By 2003, he had risen through the ranks to become vice president of global design. With that, he became the highest-positioned African American in the automotive industry. He retired last year, leaving behind a legacy that includes the 2010 fifth-generation Camaro, the C7 Corvette, and every current Buick, Cadillac, and GMC. Welburn now operates The Welburn Group from an office that allows him to park his silver 1957 Corvette next to his desk. HRM] Was there a car you particularly admired as you were growing up? EW] I’ll never forget the first Corvette I ever saw. It was 1956 and I was five years old, the best I can recollect. I would suspect it was…

1 min.
automotive archaeology dodge superbee buried with mopar treasures

Hidden deep in the woods of Michigan sits a Quonset hut full of treasures. A family that had worked for generations at Chrysler was thoughtful enough to tuck away a variety of cool Mopars and memorabilia from their time with the company. Inside, there was a 1969 Dodge Superbee, a 383 big-block car with air-grabber hood, a 1930s Plymouth coupe, and a 1971 Dodge Dart Swinger. All were safe and dry in the building, so none had really deteriorated. The cars were not the only treasure, as the family had been able to save rare pieces of Mopar memorabilia like jackets and cufflinks.…