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Hinckley, perfect timing, I was just about to bring up Cars & Parts recently.

I read Cars & Parts for 20 years and in the 1980s & 1990s considered it probably the best overall source for a combination of news/features/classifieds/etc. But in the early 2000s it was sold to another owner, the layout changed, some of my favorite writers left, and the magazine shrank. I stopped subscribing in about 2006. Now I have difficulty finding a copy on the newsstand, and last week when I did find a copy I could not find out how much a subscription cost. Pretty bad marketing.

I have been happier with Hemmings Classic Car. Will be anxious to see others opinions, Todd C

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I used to subscribe from early 70s to the 80s. I had way too many car mags coming to the house and stopped most of them then.

I did like the personal stories about collectors and restorers...like the series on Pop Rice, one of the first people restoring cars for a living.

I do recall I was sort of dismayed by the resto project section where a car was chosen, then found and finally the resto was covered.

The car in question was "Miss Vicky", a 56 Ford. They scoured the middle US looking for the "right" candidate and chose a rustbucket car that looked good from 40 feet. Prior to that, they located a rustfree 56 shell that looked mint; even the bare floors still had shining paint. I do understand that they hoped to show more types of repairs including rust, but I could never understand their choosing that junker. Afterall, many people make the same mistake in choosing a project. I recall thinking they should have bought both cars to make one good one.

The resto series was a turn off for me because it seemed to be aimed at the checkbook restorer. Just my opinion.

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but I could never understand their choosing that junker. .

Maybe it was because the "good" car would have no trouble finding a good home. My wife helps at the local animal shelter and some folks choose the saddest looking dog because it needs help the most. An admirable motive............Bob

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...in the early 2000s it was sold to another owner, the layout changed, some of my favorite writers left, and the magazine shrank.

It is still owned by Amos as far as I know. Rumor has it that they will soon not be printing at all. The magazine will only be available online, for free.

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My reason for asking about Cars & Parts is personal on a number of levels.

For years I have watched the old car hobby evolve with some magazines leading the change and others bringing up the rear. A great example of the former would be the Driveable Dream section in Hemmings Classic Car that was at the forefront of the movement to keep cars original and driven rather than restored and trailered.

For me these features hit close to home as I have never restored a car. I have, however, had a small herd of all original, rough around the edges, daily drivers.

About twenty years ago I began writing a weekly column for the local paper, Rust & Smoke, on automotive history for $15.00 per week. Since that time I have been fortunate enough to pen occasional features for Special Interest Autos, Hemmings Classic Car, and Old cars Weekly as a way of sharing my fascination with automotive history and supplementing the income from the day job.

The lions share of my published material deals with the American auto industry before World War II. This led to an opportunity to write for Cars & Parts.

A couple of years ago there was a shake up with Amos Publishing and Cars & Parts. Brad Bowling, formerly of Old Cars Weekly, assumed the helm from Bob Stevens. I should note Bob still writes regular features, the photography is still excellent, and the writers are still knowledgable.

I was asked to write a monthly column. After some discussion I agreed and the result is The Indpendent Thinker, a monthly column that profiles the overlooked and obscure people behind the success of the American auto industry.

In the past few months I have written about Ralph Teetor, Edsel Ford, Benjamin Briscoe, Ned Jordan, the Graham Brothers and a host of similar automotive celebrities. Then I started writing the book reviews.

A few weeks ago it dawned on me that I really didn't know what people thought about Cars & Parts. I know what I like in an automotive magazine but with the exception of letters sent to the editor wasn't sure what others in the hobby were thinking.

At every turn it is obvious our hobby is in a dramatic state of flux. The first generation mini van now qualifies as an antique. Young automotive enthusiasts are "restoring" cars built in the 1980s.

Even the automobile museum is changing. I recently covered the Automobile Driving Museum in El Segundo, California.

In addition to the static displays, on Sundays automobiles in the collection, on a rotating schedule, are placed out front. Visitors register our front and then are taken for a 15 minute ride in everything from a Twin Six Packard to a Pacer, from a Model T to an Airflow.

As an interesting side note this museum has garned attention from the younger set. One of the volunteers is a young man of 15 that was hooked after one visit.

Even though I see the changes and am fascinated by many of them some instill a wide array of mixed feelings. A perfect example would be a Cars & Parts feature where vintage cars are mated with modern components creating a hybrid of sorts, vehicles like a stock 1955 Ford with dual brake cylinder or disc brake conversion.

So, thanks for the comments. Thanks, for massaging my curioisty. Thanks for reading my long winded response.

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Like most people that have been in the hobby for 45+ years I too was once a Cars & Parts subscriber. It was a Hemmings with stories, but like Hemmings it got filled with Post WWII stuff and I dropped it sometine in the mid 1980's. Tough times ahead for any printed matter, good luck with your writing. :)

By nature I am a curious individual so lots of questions are asked. First, who reads Cars & Parts magazine? Second, what are your overall thoughts?
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I subscribed to C&P for many years and have about 25 years of them squirrelled away. My main interest in automobiles is hisory. C&P was short on this and when Menno passed on it left a huge hole in their historical content. I wasn't interested in the restoration articles and advertising. I finally decided that paying $30.00 a year for advertising was a waste. One more thing finally broke me from C&P. I was reading the magazine to learn American automobile history and they devoted the entire editorial content of one issue to Volkswagen. If it would have been Subaru I would not have been more disgusted. I also don't subscribe to Hemming's Motor News. Same reasons. However I do enjoy Hemming's Classic Car although they and I differ on what a classic car is. One thing I enjoy in HCC is the youth article every month. It's comforting to know that many young people still enjoy old cars. Another good thing about HCC is it's 2/3rds the price of C&P. I also enjoy Automobile Quarterly and have a complete set of it. No way will I let that one go. I also probably buy 15-20 automotive history books a year so I really don't have time to read a magazine devoted to classified advertisements and how-to articles. Am I not the typical hobbyist? Yes, but that is the way it is.

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I subscribed to Cars & Parts for almost 30 years, from college (where I was the only person there who read it) until about 2 years ago. I'd read it cover-to-cover (even the want ads), but my main interest was the history series articles. Towards the end there didn't seem to be as much of the history material, and increasing amounts of the "how-to" and "gee ain't this car neat" type features. Also towards the end the ad section declined making that less fun.

I used to keep the April issue in my Buick for car show and swap meet reference. They used to set the national schedule for the hobby with that issue, with subsequent issues updating it. Events I worked on had to be in that issue for people to know about us. I really miss getting that issue.

At one point my subscription expired without any final issue notice or billing for renewal. It was a couple of months before I even noticed. However I've kept every issue.

Hemmings' Classic Car and Sports and Exotic Car magazines have replaced C&P for me.

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I found C&P in the 1980s, and very much enjoyed the restoration articles and ads. They had a great nation-wide car show listing as well. I think that it began to get full of ads, and not much writing. There was a propensity to focus on the muscle cars. Month after month it became a bit tedious. I tried to go back and find a C&P Magazine, but there were none out there in the stores. They have a website, which is where I found that the ownership had changed.

I also saw a magazine called "Classic Car Magazine" which was basically an auction advertising media with little writing except for how some auction company did. I dropped that one!

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I have been a long time subscriber and a fan of Bob Stevens (longtime x editor) and the magazine. Bob is a top notch writer and overall great hobbyist that truly knows his stuff, bar none. I was fortunate enough to even have my 55 on the front cover along with a huge article that Bob did.

The magazine is definitely changing. I personally am not a fan of the restro articles. Like many publications it seems more than likely they are trying to entice more subscribers. I have decided not to renew when its time and this morning sent in for a subscription to Skinned Knuckles magazine. Figured I would give this one a try as it seems somewhat interesting.

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Skinned Knuckles is a different breed of it's own. I began reading it in the mid 1980s and dropped it in the early 1990s for no particular good reason. In the early 2000s I picked it up again and have subscribed since. It is a good source to keep for reference to back issues and it is focused on strictly authentic restoration. A magazine by hands-on real old car guys for hands-on real old car guys, and with good columnists too. It is not glossy or slick, in fact an issue today looks exactly like the one from 25 years ago, and it is so small that I called in for a mailing problem and was answered by the editor himself. Very nice.

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After reading West's comments I went to the web site and it appears that the free online subscription may be the case. It would also explain why I could not find out how to subscribe, the subscription link on the website says it is down and refers you to a phone number. Interesting concept. Personally I am still more a print media guy, but for free I will give it a look.

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I did like the personal stories about collectors and restorers...like the series on Pop Rice, one of the first people restoring cars for a living.

F&J, do you recall the year this series was published? I would like to see it, I was in the McPherson College restoration program in the 1980s and just missed the era of Pop Rice, who was a legend there and among old timers of the day. Todd

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I was unaware of the rumor that C & P was giving up on print. That is something I will check on.

I can attest to the fact that Bob Stevens is a car guy from the old school and a really personable fellow. It is an odd and twisted story but the short version is we met face to face for the first time in '08 after almost twenty years of crossing paths.

He and his wife stopped by the office on their way home to Ohio from LA. Bob had purchased a really nice little '57 Chevy and was cruising a bit of Route 66.

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F&J, do you recall the year this series was published? I would like to see it, I was in the McPherson College restoration program in the 1980s and just missed the era of Pop Rice, who was a legend there and among old timers of the day. Todd

Sorry to say that I don't know. Sorrier to say that I still owned all the issues I ever had, but they were thrown in a dumpster by the ex, just a few short months ago.

I learned a lot from the Pop Rice series. As I recall, most of the writing was done with him doing the talking. His story started during the depression and told of working for food and gas money while heading out west for a better life. One of the stops in the mid Altantic/mid South, where he stopped for a quick job, ended up being his new town...far from his goal of "out west".

I think he started restoring for early collectors in the late 30s.

I did try researching his name a few weeks ago and did not find as much as I thought would be on the web. It was then that I read about his connection with the college. I would have attended if I had known!

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Jim,

From reading these responses it seems like I must be the only one still reading Cars and Parts. I have been a subscriber since the mid 80s. It's true that the mag has changed over the years but what publication hasn't? I don't mind the articles on newer stuff or even the Resto-mods as I am interested in just about anything automotive. I like your articles since one of my cars is an orphan and I collect orphan automobilia. I just bought a few boxes of old C&P's from the 70s and early 80s and am slowly going through them as they were entirely prewar in those days. Keep up the good work!

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JIM, I TOO CONTRIBUTE TO CARS AND PARTS UNDER THE NAME BRAD GAVE ME "JUNKYARD JOE". I LOVE THE MAGAZINE AND REALLY LOVE CONTRIBUTING TO IT.

YOU KNOW, THE JUNKYARD FEATURE HAS BEEN IN ALMOST EVERY ISSUE SINCE 1988. MOST ISSUES CONTAIN A NEVER BEFORE HEARD OF YARD. I GET A LOT OF MAIL FROM THE READERS TELLING ME THAT THE SALVAGE YARD IS PEOPLE'S FAVORITE FEATURE.

TO DATE , WE HAVE COVERED OVER 330 YARDS. MY BEST GUESS IS THAT AT LEAST HALF OF THEM ARE STILL AROUND. I AM CURRENTLY WORKING ON UPDATING THAT LIST AS TO WHATS STILL THERE.

FEEL FREE TO EMAIL ME ANYTIME.

JUNKYARDJOE@CARSANDPARTS.COM

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It's only my opinion, but for me, also a long time C&P reader, it went downhill after a different editor got involved. I felt the format went toward too many new cars and lost touch with the old ones. EVERY feature of an early car had a photo of the steering wheel with the EXACT same caption: " Huge wood-rimmed steering wheel is a real handful" If I saw that one more time I was going to get sick. Does anyone remember when they searched for about 1 1/2 years for a numbers-matching 1963 Corvette and then ground the numbers off the block???

Edited by Steve Moskowitz
removed the name, against policy (see edit history)
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Ah Memories-started with C&P, Spoke Wheels and HMN in the 60s. They kept me going while in US Navy basic training. My new bride would circle all the good Model A parts ads before sending them along. We enjoyed them while stationed overseas, although they came too slowly to get any bargains out of the classified ads. Several issues even arrived with the guys in the post office having circled (or clipped out) interesting advertisements. I've still got a lot of those early issues up in the barn somewhere. Like a lot of you, there reached a point where there was a noticable change and some of the "canned" articles began including less authoritative info. I recall one issue where someone did a story about a brass era car and didn't know the difference between brass and brass plating, carbide and oil lamps, etc. At that point, C&P became the one we could give up when the budget got tight. I too believe that printed media is a tough business to be in. Just learned this week that a large paper mill near us will be closing. Newspapers are getting smaller too. Think I'll go out in the barn tonight, sit on the running board on the '14T, open a beer and read some of those old hip-pocket HMNs for old times sake. Might even try to find some of those old bumper stickers C&P used to give out at Hershey.

Happy motoring - and memories.

Terry

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Out of all of the magazines I have purchased in search of information about old cars in general, Cars & Parts issues are the ones I have saved. I think that almost every issue has a technique or pointer of some sort that will help me with the restoration or upkeep of my cars. I have always thought that most of the photos are clear and tell the story about what you are looking at. They FINALLY came out with an article about a 1931 Dodge Brothers coupe similar to my own cars and I was elated! It was even on the cover!! I was in heaven. I like the magazine and will probably follow it's course online. Just my two cents....or less.

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Our own West Peterson (AACA Members) was once the editor at C & P. Remember West's post said it was a rumor. Not a fact! I still read C & P and our library still subscribes to the magazine.

Bob Stevens is absolutely a class guy who has done a lot for the hobby and hobbyists. He is a friend to all of us and deeply cares about the hobby. Every editor works for the publisher and sometimes has to deal with the parameters given. If you do not like the product it is not necessarily the editor's fault. No wisecracks West!

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As a kid we always had old cars as transportation. However, this is not what led to my fascination with automotive history.

That began with boredom and curiosity about my grandfather who passed away shortly before I was born. He was in his early sixties when my dad was born in 1928.

I was sixteeen and we had relocated to my dad's hometown, Jackson in Michigan. The family homestead is on Hinckley Blvd. and for as long as I could remember there was a picture of my grandfather on the porch with Henry Ford that sat on the mantle.

I began haunting the basement archives at the library and discovered my grandfather was a prolific inventor. I also learned that counted among his contacts were David Buick and Benjamin Briscoe.

Fast forward a few years. The fascination with automotive history becomes more of a hobby as making a living became a priority.

My wife has been supportive of my addiction for all things automotive from our first dates. One our first date in 1982 I picked her up in my 1946 GMC, my daily driver at the time. Often we double dated in a 1926 Ford. She never winced or complained.

A week after we were married she brought home my first copy of Cars & Parts. Shortly after this, in an odd twist of events that is still unfolding, Bob Stevens came to Kingman to deliver a Corvette won by a Kingman man.

As it turns out the winner was the gentlemen who had purchased my 1942 Chevrolet truck. I was supposed to be a Doyle's house for the unloading but a last minute issue at work prevented that.

Well, long story short, as our budget allowed I picked up news stand copies of Cars & Parts and read my step fathers issues of Special Interest Autos. I was also filling the closets with all kinds of vintage literature, manuals, and books garnered from yard sales as well as trash cans.

It should be noted I am not the average car guy. I am deeply fascinated with all thigs automotive, have always owned something "old" as a driver, but I am mechanically inept. I can picture perfectly what needs to be done but when I go to apply that knowledge it is as though my fingers are tied together.

Still, I wade through tune ups and have rebuilt an engine or two. To a large degree I live vicariously through the automotive endeavors of others.

So, writing was a natural for me. My wife's gentle nudging was the catalyst that resulted in my first published piece, a feature on a very unique wrecking yard for Special Interest Autos.

Well, I dreamed of doing this for a living but so far it is the day job that keeps beans on the table. Still, these endeavors have been most enjoyable.

I have met some very fascinating people, received checks for sharing my fascination with automotive history, and been afforded the luxury of experiencing automobiles that are way beyond my budget.

Of the material published - more than one thousand feature articles and five books - it is my stint with Cars & Parts that has been the most rewarding. Through my monthly column, The Independent Thinker, I am able to give forgotten automotive pioneers a few minuters of fame.

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I would like to add that I have been a subscriber to C&P since the seventies. I had threatend to cancel my subscription when they started to do "Resto-Rods" with major modifications. For awhile, they were doing a series of articles on mods that were performed on a '51 Ford, similar to my 60,000 mile original car. As I don't personally agree with this concept, I believe that there must still be a lot of original or properly restored cars left that would be deserving of feature articles. You can add me to the list of Hemmings Classic Car readers who think that HCC is the best old car mag going. -John Ropelewski, Erie Pa

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I was also a C&P subscriber since the '70s. I enjoyed the magazine, especially articles by Bob Stevens. I noticed that I was not receiving all issues. I was paying for twelve but receiving ten issues. When I contacted their subscription office I was reprimanded for not understanding the cover date (news stand) versus the actual date. I decided to cancel my subscription when the woman started to yell at me. She could not understand that I was short two issues. I'm sure that I was short two issues. I was able to do the math without removing my shoes!

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I still have my back issues from mid 70s to mid 90s. Don't recall anything on resto-mods but that only confirms a good choice to say goodbye when I did. When I dropped some others had written in to complain about the changing focus and were basically told in the printed reply, "too bad, from our surveys this is the content our readers want" That is when I dropped it. I would have to say the AACA mag. is perfect in terms of content and quality for me.

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I really like Hemmings Classic Car (and also their previous Special Interest Autos).

My VERY favorite is Collectable Automobile, very pricy for a magazine but consistently great for 25 years. However, I am having the same problem as Rick60 with the short subscription. We got a discount coupon with our AACA membership (HELLO ANYONE WHO CAN HELP?!?) and after 20 years subscribing I used it and they are shorting me 2 issues just like Rick and C & P. I called and they said they would fix it but did not. I am very unhappy about this, but the magazine content is great every time.

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Kind of like the rest of you, I subscribed to Cars & Parts from the late 70's until the early 00's. I still have most of them. I stopped subscribing because the price went up and the content down to the point that I didn't think it was worth it. I get Collectible Automobile and HCC now and enjoy them both.

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I had been a subscriber since 1982. Through some mistake on my part I neglected to send my renewal in on time (Had to do with the renewals coming much much earlier than the true due date). I soon became aware that I was missing three issues. Since I had sent my renewal some time before this, I called and was informed that they would provide the current and the last issue, not the third. I was willing to pay (or shorten my subscription) but was told it couldn'y be done. I wanted this issue to maintain my continuity from 1982, and since they would not work with me, I cancelled on the spot and requested a refund. I got the refund and then wrote a letter to the publisher about what was happening to a 27 year subscriber because of some customer servicce policy. I never got a reply and now after 3 months, I don't miss it.

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