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When there were far fewer people around, far fewer laws and regulations, when the legal speed limit was 75 mph, when gas was cheap, when driving was a pleasure, if you owned a hot machine you could point the grill down an empty road and go!

Northwest Rods Magazine

A number of people have inquired about a rodding magazine that was published in Portland, Oregon in the late 'Fifties. It was a "little" magazine with a short life. Only four issues were published; the first two were called Northwest Rods while the last two were called Northwest Rods and Sports Cars. The dominant word in both titles was "rods". The magazine published features on motorcycles, dragsters, sprint cars, customs, etc., so I assume that the change in titles was not simply to identify any shift in content but to attract a larger audience. The magazine was published from October, 1957 until April, 1958, a period when the interest in sports. cars sky rocketed. But that was also true of custom cars and car shows.

The magazine was the creation of Peter Sukalac, who contributed photos, stories, elbow grease and money. Sukalac was a photographer and journalist who contributed hundreds of articles to automotive magazines between 1954 and 1980. His work put Oregon on the map in the hot rod world. He understood design and workmanship, and the examples in Northwest Rods are quality machines. His publication is much closer to the small size Hop Up or Rod and Custom than to the East coast small mags in layout and editorial matters.

There was a large audience for this regional magazine, and it should have continued. It didn't fail, it ceased publication, and the reasons were complicated. Although Sukalac died in 2002, there's an article on his magazine in my book, Fifties Flashback, and an interview with Sukalac, perhaps the only interview he granted, in my book Hot Rodder.

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