The growth of STREET RODDER will forever be linked to the loyalty of you, our readers. Coupled with this is an important ingredient to the wellbeing of SR and the hobby. Barely noticeable in the '60s, it began to come into its own in the '70s and then enjoyed enormous growth throughout the '80s. It's this birth of an industry and its continued growth that has us where we are today.

Senior Editor Ron Ceridono said it best when he pointed out, "As raw building materials from wrecking yards and other traditional sources began to disappear, the fledgling aftermarket developed new products to replace them. As a result, today it's possible to build the street rod of your dreams from all new parts."

In an attempt to give you a look at 40 years of SR we thought we would present the timeline of a magazine and an industry. We have selected 40 products from the past 40 years that didn't exist before SR but came about because of a rapidly growing industry. However, the desire by more and more hot rodders to build a car and build it quickly created an industry to satisfy this desire. The collection of parts you see are early examples of products all of us know about, many of us have used, and plenty of us will continue to desire for years to come.

"I sure hope you guys make it."
—Tom Bigby, Stilwell, Oklahoma, Rodder Mail
STREET RODDER magazine, May 1972, Vol. 1, No. 1

"Suddenly, it's 1948. A strange and wonderful metamorphosis has come over hot rodding in this past decade, a change quiet and subtle but ever so decisive. Street rodding has surprised all but those who know by emerging as a major factor in the hot rod sport, ranking second to none as the foundation for automotive enthusiasm these next many years." — LeRoi "Tex" Smith

Those words comprise the opening paragraph of an article called "Street Rodding: State of the Art" that appeared in the May '72 issue of STREET RODDER magazine. Tex Smith, one of SR's founding fathers, had no crystal ball, so any prediction of where street rodding would lead in the "next many years", could only be a combination of educated guessing and wishful thinking.

From our vantage point here at the end of 2012, it's easy to see that Tex got it absolutely right—and to realize that he was smart to not get too specific with his predictions. Because without that crystal ball, nobody could have known that street rodding, or STREET RODDER for that matter, would still be going strong in the 21st century, or have foreseen some of the twists and turns in the road leading from 1972 to 2012.

Street Rod Shows
Car shows dedicated to street rods and customs were already well established by the early '70s. The Grand National Roadster Show goes back to 1950, two years after the famous Hot Rod Exposition—not to mention get-togethers at the local drive-in. But when Tex Smith and Tom Medley organized the first Street Rod Nationals in Peoria, in 1970, the timing coincided perfectly with the Street Rod Revival.

STREET RODDER has covered NSRA events ever since, in addition to hundreds of other events, including the L.A. Roadsters Show. Goodguys has been evolving its own rod and custom shows since 1983. Today, shows across the country provide rodders with a destination to drive to, and a chance to show off their street rods—as well as giving spectators the chance to see the country's best cars—in a setting hundreds of times larger than the drive-in. Our own driving events, like Tom's Fun Run and the Road Tour, have taken the show on the road, and our Top 100 program has given us the chance to participate in the presentation of awards. And, as always, shows provide SR with a large amount of material

Henry Hirise
The first issue of SR introduced readers to the two men who contributed to this magazine more than any other: Henry HiRise and his creator, artist Dave Bell. Henry promised us from the start that he'd "be doing wild things the cartoonist hasn't even thought of yet." We were sad to say goodbye to Dave earlier this year, but for 40 years, Henry HiRise kept his word and kept us entertained with his cartoon enthusiasm.