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Magazine Review - The Rodder’s Journal

Magazine Review - The Rodder’s Journal



The Rodder’s Journal
Magazine review by Richard Parks, photographic consultant Roger Rohrdanz


A sampling of typical magazine covers

The Rodder’s Journal is a quarterly magazine published for the custom car and hot rod enthusiast. It’s a high quality magazine on the finest glossy waxed pages. The photographs are superb and the writing is exceptional. The Rodder’s Journal makes the National Geographic and The Smithsonian Magazine look like 2nd rate publications in comparison. Like the National Geographic, the topics in The Rodder’s Journal are printed on the spine of the magazine. The newsstand price is $12.95 and the subscription rate is $40 a year for the four issues. These prices have remained steady for the last ten years and The Rodder’s Journal is worth every penny. The book is a full quarter inch thick and runs about 200 pages. You won’t find many books as nice as The Rodder’s Journal. The research into the articles is well done and accurate. The photographs are the best of any that I’ve ever seen, even in coffee table books. The Rodder’s Journal is located at 263 Wattis Way, South San Francisco, California 94080, or call them at 1-800-750-9550. The magazine began publication in Connecticutt, then moved to Huntington Beach, California and finally relocated to San Francisco. The Rodder’s Journal prints 50,000 copies each quarter and makes a serious effort to bring its readers the best stories and photographs on the hot rodding scene, past and present. The magazine is distributed throughout the country and in England, New Zealand and Australia, which have their own hot rod culture to be proud of. Articles and photographs from reporters in those countries also appear in the magazine. You can also find The Rodder’s Journal at Autobooks, Barnes & Noble, Borders, Petersen Automotive Museum, the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum and over 115 regional dealers and distributors.

Steve Coonan is the owner/publisher/editorial director and does nearly all the photography. He is joined by some of the best writers and researchers in the automotive world who contribute to this fine magazine. Editorials and columns are short and to the point so that the historical articles, current events, text and photos can take center stage.
 Only Arizona Highways can claim to have equal photographs and that is a debatable point. The artwork and layout of the magazine is simple and straightforward. This is one of those magazines that actually exceeds coffee table quality. Steve manages a staff of about 10 people who put together the magazine, ad sales and distribution and they are friendly and willing to answer your questions. Chasity Smith is the Marketing Coordinator and answered all of my questions along with Jerry in new subscriptions. The Rodder’s Journal is so beautiful and special that it is important that you find a special magazine case or cover to hold them so that they aren’t excessively worn. This is the type of magazine that you will not only cherish reading but will keep together as a set to pass on to the next generation as collector’s items.

   Some of the topics included Bonneville, Connie Kalitta’s the Bounty Hunter, Tom Medley’s cartoon character Stroker McGurk, Hot Rods at the Pebble Beach Concours, the all steel 1932 Brookville Roadster, Boyd Coddington, Joe Nitti’s Highboy history, Chrisman’s Chryslers, Surf Rod, George Barris, Wally Parks and much more.  I enjoyed the article on Australian “down under” hot rodding and an article on hot rodders who went boat racing in the 1940’s including Eddie and Bud Meyer and Frank Baron. The Rodder’s Journal gives each article plenty of space to develop the story and photo coverage. Many articles went ten pages or more, a writer’s and photographer’s ideal publication. Some of the better known writers are Joe Kress, Michael Gregory, Terry Cook, Ken Gross, Thom Taylor, Jay G. Fitzhugh, Pat Ganahl, Greg Sharp, Steve Sanford and others. Steve Coonan is the main photographer. The historical articles are booklets in themselves. The material is well developed and the photographs expand the story. The magazine allows the writer to go into the subject matter in depth and detail. Resist the urge to cut the photos out and frame them. Instead, contact the magazine and see if they have posters of your choice for sale. For more information about The Rodder’s Journal send an email to [email protected], call 1-800-750-9550 or go to their website at

Gone Racin’ is at [email protected]