More magazines pile up in Buckley's motor emporium


Author: Martin BuckleyPublished:

It’s been a really good period for acquiring stacks of old car magazines just lately. Jason (the chippy just across from my vehicle emporium) swapped me a huge pile of 1960s Hot Rod in return for using my broadband.

These are a funny mix of highly technical features on the latest V8 engines, endless stories on chrome-laden dragsters and hot rods mixed with adverts for the latest muscle cars that make me realise how little I know about American cars.

To be honest, it all turns into a big boring gloop in my brain what with all the different engine sizes, options (I’m still not clear what a Hurst Shifter really does) and all written in the sort of slick patter that makes me bilious.

Among them is a cache of the primitive English equivalent called Drag Racing and Hot Rod from 1965-'68.

These slim little magazines from the earliest days of the hobby in the UK had a wider brief than the US equivalent, covering pure dragsters, hopped up A35s, Jag-powered Austin Sevens and drag bikes.

There’s even a story about Roy Orbison who visited the Racing Car Show and told a Drag Racing and Hot Rod reporter about his personal collection which included, among the custom cars, a pair of vintage Bentleys.

The best reading in the collection comes in the form of 10 late-'60s copies of Car with their beautifully contrived front cover imagery (what’s wrong with showing cars standing still?) and truly inspired writing from the likes of Doug Blain, LJKS etc.

Literate, informed and fearlessly critical they made me pine for the days when I couldn’t wait for this magazine to appear on the newsagent’s shelf.

Mike, the book dealer who shares the mill with me, is another source of odd magazines.

The late 1930s part-work on vehicle repairs he gave me the other day (lead image) is written in the Cholmondeley-Warner style as are the three or four issues of The Sketch and The London Illustrated News he dug out.

Yet I love them for their stiff upper lip adverts for Humbers and Daimlers.

The Sketch from 1937 features a quarter-page advert for Park Ward Coachbuilders, and the rather rakish Hudson Eight with Tickford Foursome Coupe bodywork. ‘On pleasant days,’ runs the copy, ‘the choice of two hood positions makes instantly available the advantages of a superlatively comfortable open tourer’.

They don’t write 'em like that any longer.



A pile of Hot Rod mags beside the toilet and an empty bog roll insert. Surely you wouldn't !
Incidentally, a Hurst shifter is an aftermarket gear linkage used to improve the shift quality on manual 'boxes, though not by much if the Hurst setup on my 1970 Camaro is anything to go by.
For a bit of fun, it's worth watching the Motor Trend Hot Rod Roadkill videos on Youtube. The best is the engine swap in the car park of a parts store. The Lambo / Rat Rod comparo is pretty good too.



You can never have too many old motoring magazines. Totally agree with your comments about Car magazine in its heyday.

I sincerely hope that these mags all come with the great smell of Loft for Men.

Chris Leopold

Chris Martin

Being the thoughts of Mr Buckley, I thought from the headline this was going to be a smutty reminiscence about old copies of Parade, but alas no. Anyway, if it has to be about car mags, we may as well be discussing Car as one of the gone-but-not-forgotten greats. It may be hard to imagine today just how stuffy and boring Motor and Autocar could be back then, and if nothing else Car upped the game for all.
As for Hot Rod, I admit to being old enough to remember how exotic they seemed to a young lad in sixties Barnet looking out on his dad's rain soaked Hillman Minx in the driveway, and fantasising about T-Bucket's, Deuce Coupes and the like. In true train-spotter style I even knew all the engine options for not just the obvious Mustangs and Corvettes, but the more obscure GTOs, Barracudas or even Corvairs.
Agreed, their writing style was a bit 'American' shall we say, but should provide hours of fun for when Martin has had one vindaloo too many.
By the way, the one on top of the pile shows George Barris's 'Surf Woody' on the cover - where is that now?
Chris Martin


Don Callum

In New York City in the 1980's and 1990's I was fortunate to live near the Gem Spa a soda fountain and newsagent at the corner of St. Marks Place and 2nd Avenue. It is one of the very few left.
I used to eagerly await the arrival of the latest CAR magazine, its sister Sports Car, and what grew to be my favourite Classic & Sportscar.
A visit to the Gem could cost me quite a bit as it could involve 2 or 3 British magazines (the US ones -Road & Track, Car and Driver, Autoweek- I got for free at work) a couple of papers and a pack of cigarettes.
I would read every article in those magazines and would prioritize them according to my personal preferences.
I saved all of these magazines for years and it was only when we had purchased a home in New Jersey in 2000 that my wife suggested that perhaps my collection shouldn't make this move with us.
I miss those days. The internet just doesn't do it for me.


I think most classic car enthusiasts can relate to a job lot of ancient ephemera with a wistfully nostalgic smile, and a degree of boyish pleasure.

I used to spend my pocket money, during the late 1970's/ early '80's on Car, Street Machine and (here's one for the nerds) Car Buyer.

Car Buyer was a weekly paper costing 10p, with an orange cover, and akin to those modern freebies you find outside a supermarket these days. I would, at the tender age of twelve, scan the dross in the hope of discovering a Ferrari Lusso, or Maserati Bora in the px clearance section or the "Car of the Day" header. Incidentally, I once saw a brown Maserati Bora at a salvage yard in Ilford with light frontal damage - a rare sight and a glimmer of a fantasy world to a 12 year old boy travelling up on the tube from a boring Essex village where nothing car-related ever happens.

Car magazine, up until the redesign in 2000, was as good as automotive writing and photography got - apart from the limited run Supercar Classics and the forgotten Peter Filby Alternative Cars.

Luckily, I recently managed to acquire a large collection of Custom Car magazines from the Seventies (after you with the cardboard tube), Motor, Autocar and many others. I was already a monthly subscriber to Thoroughbred and Classic Cars, and Classic and Sports Car.

Interestingly, for me, I take more pleasure in the parts of these ancient tomes that weren't sweated over by pen-meisters or click-click artists; namely the privately placed adverts for Aston DB4's or Ferrari 246 GT's, and company advertisements for unusual and low-volume cars such as the Probe, or even the Argyll GT.

With regards to Motor and Autocar, most pleasure is gained from reading between the lines scribbled by the self-indulgent ramblings of the over-fed motoring "hack" and the "ever so polite" press releases to piece together the real events unfolding with current issues such as how good is the DeLorean - really, was a Lamborghini Urraco worth the price of a four-bedroomed house in the country, what's the real story with British Leyland cars - will a customer car last as long as the pre-prepared test cars loaned to the "I'll scratch your back if you'll scratch mine" brigade of journo,

I am a huge fan of classic Gt cars and sports saloons. but I have to admit that one of my favourite articles came from Car magazine (most of my faves do) entitled "5,000 miles in a week"
where they took a standard and new 1.4 Ford Escort and reported on the weeks events, from early morning starts to laps of the M25, to late night blasts across half the country - ending up in some remote part of the UK watching the sun rise for no other reason than to put miles under the car.

My second favourite article ever was written by Steve Cropley when he tested the new Ferrari 328 by directly comparing it to his own '76 308 GTB which reads along the lines of :
"As soon as it was beyond doubt that the Ferrari and I were going to leave the road at speed, several interesting questions began to form in my head".

ok, enough from me - haha


Jason the chippy must be giving your broadband some stick. That's quite a haul.

Hot Rod was always the stuff that dreams are made on. A different take on motoring altogether. It got me. I started making Monogram hot rod kits, bought a Mustang in the '70s and now live in Florida.

I get to see it for real every Friday night at Biff Burger here in St Petersburg:





I must be the other guy that bought Alternative Cars. I'm a terrible hoarder but alas I have no idea where my copies are now. It would be interesting to re-read them. I wonder how many of the cars featured would have at least moved to Classics-On-The-Cusp status. (There may be an interesting thread there for future classics).
I am also interested in the wide variety of Japanese machines (and the reasons for them) but the available UK magazines descended after the first issue into endless variations on the same 2 or 3 types of coupes with ridiculously hopped up powerplants and paint schemes - ie: Max Power without the subtlety. A missed opportunity as far as I am concerned but doubtless spot on for their target audience.


These are quite rare actually. I wonder if there are any markets for these old car magazines. A car specialist would definitely appreciate the magazines more than any regular joe. Who knows, it might be worth a pretty penny in some black market somewhere. 


Best regards / Peter Mould / pmwltd

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