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The first 10 years proved to be a rocky road financially.

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 entity.

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 quality paper!

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 April 1974.

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 off.

NZ Hot RodNZ Golf Magazine was launched soon after and it too was given the bum’s rush after 16 issues.

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 ‘Campbell’s Column’.

Rob stepped into the hot seat when the mag went monthly in Feb ‘69 and according to my estimates would have written about 420 editorials.

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 the years.

Magazines do not generally attract the prolific letter -writers.

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 Zealand-wide.

Not just motoring magazines but newspapers, the lot.

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New Zealand Hot Rod Magazine