Richard Truesdell laments the loss of such classic car magazines as Automobile Quarterly, Motor Trend Classic and Musclecar Enthusiast. But the realities of the print-on-paper world are such that producing a glossy-surfaced, real-paper (even if it’s recycled) publication is very expensive.
And as Truesdell points out, as much as we all enjoy browsing the various titles, “the newsstand is a flawed distribution strategy where typically 60-70% of all magazines printed end up in landfills.”
But instead of writing an obituary for the classic car enthusiast magazine in the age of the Internet, Truesdell and his team at BCT Publishing are using web-based technology to launch their own brand-new classic car magazine, Automotive Traveler’s Classic Car. Truesdell has a multi-decade history in automotive writing and photography and he and his team have been producing the automotivetraveler.com website for several years.
The premiere issue of Automotive Traveler’s Classic Car includes 100 pages. Truesdell promises subsequent issues will be just as substantial.
The cover of the premiere issue features five vehicles — the 1979 Le Mans-winning Porsche 935, one of the 1969 Chevrolet Camaros that served as NASCAR pace cars, a Chrysler Turbine Car, a Fiat Abarth Ghia 2300S coupe (aka the Poor Man’s Ferrari) and the two-seat prototype for the Studebaker Avanti. Each of those cars is covered in well-researched and insightfully written stories with lushly photographed and multi-page displays.
And the magazine includes other articles as well, plus there are QR (Quick Response) Codes you can access for additional words, photos and even videos. Imagine, Truesdell writes, getting owners of, say, three mid-’60s American luxury cars — an Imperial, a Continental and a Sedan de Ville — together, let them drive each other’s cars, and then listen to their comments behind the wheel and their post-drive conversation as well.
That’s coming, but for now, the premiere edition includes such features as a piece on James Bond’s Aston Martin DB5, a report on the 2014 Desert Classic concours, and more, including my personal favorite — two delightful pages of then (classic postcards) and now (recent photos) showing old car dealerships and what they look like today.
Oh, and no trees are felled in the production of this magazine — unless you demand it.
Automotive Traveler’s Classic Car is a web-based magazine that you can read on a variety of screens. Or if you prefer, you can order an ink-on-paper version produced through print-on-demand technology and available from amazon.com.
Truesdell adds that while the first couple of issues will be priced in the $15 range, as circulation increases, cover price not only can but will shrink. The goal, he says, is for ATCC to become a quarterly, priced at, say, 10 bucks an issue, about that same as you pay now for one of the British-based classic car magazines you still might find at your local bookstore (assuming, of course, you still have a local bookstore and it still has a newsstand).
“Can this plan be successful, editorially, as well as financially?” Truesdell’s column asks.
“I believe it can,” he answers, “as ATCC won’t be supporting a huge publishing infrastructure overhead. It will be a magazine produced by enthusiasts, for enthusiasts.”