Thursday, July 23, 2009
Speed Mechanics Magazine
To custom car guys the magazine is sacred. When HotRod magazine hit the news stand in 1948, it created a fever for hot rodding that spread like wildfire. The success of Hot Rod, and the surge of enthusiasm for car customization, opened the print media floodgates, unleashing a wave of magazines aimed at capitalizing on the new trend. One early contender was Speed Mechanics. Based in New York City and edited by the former transportation writer for the New York Times.
Buying old magazines is what you do when the swap meet's not giving up car parts. The first issue I bought, I bought for an article on "corvettizing your Chevy". It was a 1954 issue, not very big, and the cover was more like the Saturday Evening Post. I liked the content so at $3 to $5 a piece I started buying all the older issues.
Content wise, Speed Mechanics has a little Popular Mechanics flavor. Most of the tech is aimed at souping up what ever you have without the luxury of over the top resources. It's aimed a little more at the average do it yourselfer. Great for guys on the starting end of the hobby. Being an east coast magazine, many of it's car features were east coast cars, and a lot of the tech articles were done buy east coast shops. Being an east coast guy myself, it's cool to see where hot rodding was in the early 50's on this side of the country. It gives you a feeling of kinship with the guys on the page.
Over a couple of decades of production, Speed Mechanics slowly blended in with all of the other Rodding magazines and eventualy dissapeared; but the first couple of years shine out and have a style all their own.