The veteran (old-guy) STREET RODDER readers may remember "Across 49th Street," the column that started out as a way to embrace all things street rod, regardless of model year. And so it is--the more things change, the more they appear to stay the same. With that, welcome to the new old STREET RODDER as it undergoes a change to the way it once was.
For starters, if you have taken a quick look through this month's issue, you surely have noticed there are plenty of car features and tech stories, but you may have also noticed something a little bit different. Again, if you are a veteran reader of SRM, you can remember back to the days when the likes of post-'48 cars were on the pages of SRM. As time went on, less and less post-'48 cars appeared, until 1990, when Custom Rodder came on the scene and SRM all but dropped coverage of the cars from "Across 49th Street." Well, almost, for during the next decade, every now and then, an early '50s-era car would appear, and for those of you who remember the "Classic Images" segment produced by Steve Coonan of The Rodder's Journal, he would flavor the column with a non-pre-'48 car every now and then.
Producers of outdoor car shows have long since realized that many a street rod fan also liked and oftentimes owned a post-'48 ride as well. The Goodguys Rod & Custom Association has always recognized both sides of the "street," making its events open to a wide range of years. Now all but one of Goodguys' street rod-oriented events is open to up-to-1972 models. The National Street Rod Association, whose roots go as far back as any association within the street rod world, has added two events to its calendar that cover cars up through 1977.
In keeping with what is happening in our hobby and reacting to readers wishing for a broader breadth of "street rod" information, we will expand the format of SRM to cover cars built in the '50s and '60s. Within this world, there are numerous cars that could be featured, but we have defined those cars that you will see to be "fullsize" models. There are already plenty of magazines out there covering Camaros, Chevy IIs, Rancheros, etc. In looking at what you SRM readers build once you have your pre-'49 ride in the garage, it appears most of you like the fullsize rides like the Chevy Impala or Biscayne, Ford Galaxie or Starliner, Pontiac Bonneville or Catalina, and Buicks, Olds, Mopars, etc. So, SRM will feature these full-figured rides, staying away from the musclecars and smaller body styles.
I'm sure there are a number of SRM readers who would have preferred not to expand the years of coverage. I understand your feelings, but there are forces out there saying we need to stand back and take a look at what is happening to our hobby, and for the magazine to continue to be everything it has been, and hopefully more, we need to adapt. Keeping up with the times might be a good way to look at it. Before you run out into the streets screaming "foul," give SRM a chance to show you how we can expand our coverage so you have an even more enjoyable and informative magazine. Back in the first issue of STREET RODDER in May 1972, the plan called for us to produce a magazine that appealed to many a rodder, no matter what year his car was, and that continued up through 1990. During the '90s, SRM backed off of the post-'48 car, but now it appears the time is right to once again look at these highly desirable, collectible, and fun-to-drive cars.