The first 10 years proved to be a rocky road
Unlike other magazines, which were part of a large
publishing corporation producing a variety of mags and sharing
clerical and advertising pulls, NZ Hot Rod was a one-magazine
The 1973 oil crisis hit them hard as no-one wanted to
advertise in a mag full of V8s.
If you thumb through copies of that era you’ll find that in
some months there’s virtually no advertising at all.
Magazines depend on the revenue from ads and when that dries
up you have to either cut costs or change tack... or both.
You only have to read the editorials in Feb and March 1974
issues for example, to understand the situation.
And then to top it off, there was a world wide shortage of
Another tack was the launch of NZ Motorcycle magazine, based
on the same format as NZ Hot Rod, the country’s first
part-colour mag dedicated to bikes, which hit the bookshops in
Its impressive cover shot of Wally Pushkey on his V8 drag
bike at Champion was the perfect launch-pad aimed at a market
going nuts over motorbikes.
After just 18 issues it had become such a financial burden
to Campbell Publishing that a decision was made to retire it
NZ Golf Magazine was launched
soon after and it too was given the bum’s rush after 16
If it was not for the fact that NZ Hot Rod magazine was
published by hot rodders with a genuine interest in the sport,
not producing the mag purely for financial gain, then it would
have been history at that point in time.
Even though it was NZ’s biggest selling auto mag at that
time,it certainly was not the ticket to early retirement or
millionaire status that some people imagined.
As mentioned prior, Bob Rossiter was the first editor and
his column was titled ‘From Behind the Wheel’.
Anthony Cox took that role from April/May ‘68 and ‘From’ was
dropped from the heading.
Rob Campbell had his ‘Stirring It’ column followed by
Rob stepped into the hot seat when the mag went monthly in
Feb ‘69 and according to my estimates would have written about
That’s a lot of writing, and reading through some of them, I
would have to say that he really put his head on the chopping
block some months.
Then, of course, the editor has to decipher and pass
judgement on the letters... and there were some beauties over
Magazines do not generally attract the prolific letter
Rich Neale did give Rob a short break as editor, coming on
board as Assistant Editor from Jan 1974.
Rob was still Managing Editor, so had his say on current
topics and global events,which I dare say, had that
anti-establishment streak about them.
However, one fact which cannot be disputed is that Rob was
probably the longest serving editor of any publication New
Not just motoring magazines but newspapers, the lot.