If your monthly diet of reading material doesn’t include The Rodder’s Journal, you really ought to do something about that. We firmly believe that the creators of hot rods and custom cars deserve their place at the table when it comes to seating the truly exceptional people who influenced American car design as the auto industry was still evolving. Rodders and customizers gave birth to the speed equipment industry, which is a billion-dollar business today, and convinced the industry that a market indeed existed for performance or personalized cars that were affordable. Older, landmark rods and customs with documented histories have deservedly earned themselves a place on concours show fields. No publication, anywhere, treats these cars more respectfully, and proclaims their place in automotive history more loudly, than TRJ. If you agree that these cars were works of art, then TRJ stands as an artistic journal. Each quarterly issue runs upward of 160 pages, on very heavy paper, with the finest writing and most evocative photography that rods and customs enjoy anywhere. If you’re serious about automotive history, you need to be reading this magazine. Period.
One of the good things about getting to know TRJ is the opportunity to browse its online store, which offers a whole range of rodding goodies, including a library of specialty publications. This title is the latest. Bob Larivee Sr. was the producer of the longstanding, legendary Detroit hot rod show known as Motorama. His role in putting it on ideally positioned him as a historian of rodding and performance in the world’s automotive capital. This book, Hot Rod Detroit, is the result. In 299 softcover pages, Larivee takes the reader on a rollicking, authoritative ride through the history of high performance in Detroit. Exhaustively detailed, with more photos than we could count, this work is more extensive than we imagined when we placed our order. Local cars are extensively covered, naturally, as is the the history of the show, but we were pleasantly surprised to learn that this book also focuses closely on the great shops, the immortal Detroit Dragway and even local stock car action, whose luminaries included the author for a time. Celebrities that march through the narrative include Adam West, Leonard Nimoy and a very young Bob Seger. Some past books that have dealt with similar stories have been amateurish and incomplete. Not this one. It costs 30 well-spent dollars. Visit the TRJ website or call 800-750-9550.