Seventy years ago, two icons were born in Southern California. In 1948, Robert E. Petersen published the very first issue of Hot Rod magazine out of his apartment near Hollywood. Volume 1, Number 1 was 24 pages long and cost 25 cents. Feel like rolling the dice and investing in a yearlong subscription to the brand new magazine? That would set you back $3.
In October of that year, in Baldwin Park (about 25 miles east of Hollywood), Harry and Esther Snyder opened the first drivethrough hamburger stand in California, a 10-foot-square structure aptly named In-N-Out Burger. A hamburger cost 25 cents, a cheeseburger 30, fries were 15 cents, and a soda cost a dime.
These two septuagenarians, still very much alive and kicking, celebrated their common birthdays in November at an event called Burgers and Burnouts. Held at the Auto Club Dragway in Pomona (itself an icon of SoCal car culture), the day included a massive car show, drag racing, live music, and a display of significant and historic cars that had appeared on the covers and pages of Hot Rod.
Wouldn’t you know it? B and B was held on the same weekend as the Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals. There was no way I was going to miss the 10th annual MCACN show. At the same time, as Hot Rod’s mid-1990s editor, I wanted to be a part of that celebration, too. The solution? Do both events, and enlist help from our deep bench of MCR contributors to flesh out the coverage.
MCACN outdid itself. We have run out of fresh superlatives to describe this event, and Bob Ashton and his MCACN crew raised the bar even higher for the show’s 10th birthday. By burning the midnight oil like it was nitromethane, Arvid Svendsen wrote up MCACN’s very special Scat Pack and Rapid Transit System display for this Mopar-themed issue scant hours after the show closed. Next month Arvid will bring you his report on the show overall. Matt Avery’s coverage of the Vintage Certification area (for original, unrestored cars) will appear in the April issue, followed by Geoff Stunkard’s story about the Barn Finds and Hidden Gems display in May.
We also used the target-rich environment of MCACN as subject matter for a new series of muscle car–related video stories by Kendra Sommer, who you may already know for her Cruisin’ With Kendra web videos. Our plan is to post a video on “Muscle Monday” every other week at the MCR webpage on hotrod.com.
Burgers and Burnouts
After filing a MCACN preview story for the website before the show even officially opened, I left snowy Chicago for a sunny Saturday in Pomona. A little bleary-eyed, I was grateful that MCR and Hot Rod Deluxe contributor Stephan Szantai was there to lend a big hand with the event coverage. I talked to a few people, lined up some future features, enjoyed a fresh In-NOut Double Double, and stayed coherent long enough to join several other past and present Hot Rod staffers on stage for an informal discussion about the magazine’s history, led by former Hot Rod editor and now Roadkill TV star David Freiburger. (How popular is Roadkill? David said he signed autographs for four hours before someone pulled the plug and let the guy take a break. And I knew him when . . .)
Here are a few of Stephan’s and my photos from B and B to give you a taste of the event. More coverage is online, and I’m sure Hot Rod will run its own magazine stories, too.