Owen Campbell’s involvement with the magazine dates back to
He was an art director at Campbell Creative and it was a
natural progression for him to join the magazine team.
With a good grounding and understanding of typography, and
with artistic skills, he attributes this as something their
family inherited from their Grandfather Campbell.
He never went to art school but acknowledges he had “a damn
good art teacher at high school”.
His talents as a singer/ songwriter were demonstrated on a
45rpm record available exclusively to NZ Hot Rod readers in the
Dec ‘75 issue.
The Big ‘O’ rendition on brother Gene’s ‘Pink’ label even
rated a mention in a book called, for the record - ‘A History
of the Recording Industry in NZ’. Allan Porter, east of
Manurewa, was NZ’s first freelance official NZ Hot Rod mag
He was actually self-employed and contrary to popular belief
was never an employee of the magazine.
His car features would number in the hundreds but it’s his
drag racing photography which has made him a legend.
Allan was an early member of
Auckland Hot Rod Club and was introduced to Rob at a club
meeting as someone who could be of benefit to the new
phenomenon of NZ’s first rod mag, just as issue number two
went on sale.
By August 1969 Allan was listed as a contributing
His first published photo was actually in an early 1968 Car
Craft mag, USA. What was it? Wild Thing.
I asked if there was one photo he’d describe as his
favourite: He was caught between two: His studio photo of Noddy Watt’s black
Y-block T-bucket for Jan ‘90 issue, and Dave Walls’ 1934
Ford coupe in June ‘89 magazine.
Mal Bain’s best photo without doubt was his action shot of
Greg Taylor’s horrific accident in Ron Collett’s dragster, shot
from a cherry-picker.
The tumbling, spiralling rail went beneath him a half-second
after the shot.
It featured on HRM’s April ‘84 cover, made the front page of
the NZ Herald and Reuters agency sent it around the world.
Owen Campbell’s favourite cover was May ‘88 featuring the
Pavlovich/Piaggi T-bucket, and a close second
was the May ‘86 cover showing Garth
Hogan and an orange Willys coupe.
Rob’s favourite is August ‘81 issue, a brave departure from
the norm and the story behind the big question-mark ruffled a
few feathers at the time!
What about a car shot? It would be the Mustang on October
Mal Bain’s association with NZ Hot Rod dates back to 1974
when he was a mechanic at Checker Motors in Newton Road
close-by to the mag’s office.
Through a common interest and knowing the magazine guys, he
began taking photos at the drags with a Kodak 126.
Some were published and he graduated to car features.
He admits he didn’t know anything about cameras in those
days, and his mentor was Allan Porter who obviously taught him
a thing or two because he rose to the role of Chief
It would be a hard task to mention all the correspondents
who’ve contributed articles over the years.
Their work reflects the different styles of writing and
broad range of vehicles featured over the length and breadth of
Everyone likes to read about a car that resides at the
opposite end to themselves, that they’ve never seen in the
In fact it is one medium in which you have the opportunity
of submitting an article which you think is worthy of