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DRIVE! Magazine Review

DRIVE! Magazine Review

DRIVE is your blue collar print-media periodical.  There is nothing fancy or flashy about this little work-horse of a publication.  It’s free and found at speed shops, custom car businesses and my favorite place, the NHRA Wally Parks Motorsports Museum sponsored by Auto Club of Southern California.  For a free magazine it is packed with useful and interesting information.  The editor is Ben Oh and he has put together a great team, including Roger Rohrdanz, Bob Ryder, Tom “The Mongoose” McEwen and Pete Chapouris.  For readers who want to make sure that they can find a copy every month there is a subscription price that runs around $20 per year in the United States and $44 outside the country.  Basically you are simply paying for the postage when you buy the subscription.  I have had no trouble finding DRIVE and they don’t mind if you take a few extra copies to pass around to your friends at the local diner or donut shop.
Here’s what you get in this magazine; some great photographs by some of the best photographers in Southern California and elsewhere, and informative stories on car shows, shop tours and mechanics.  The cover is glossy, but the inside of the magazine is not.  The quality of the photographs hardly suffers though.  The editors do a great job of color reproductions on paper that is not glazed.  The photo captions are excellent, especially those that are done by Roger Rohrdanz.  The text content is also very good. Pete Chapouris is the owner of So-Cal Speed Shop and a long-time car builder.  Tom “The Mongoose” McEwen revolutionized Funny Car drag racing, name branding and promotional sponsorship.  There is a staff that finds and brings stories and car show events to you from all over the nation.  The stories and articles are not excessive and sometimes they could be longer and more involved, but at least they cover the basics. The advertisements are in themselves very interesting.  I know many readers who read DRIVE just for the ads.
The Shop Tours are more than just free ads.  The purpose of a shop tour is to look deeper into a company than an ad could, but the staff does a good job in raising an awareness of what the advertiser’s products are.  Readers like to familiarize themselves with what a company is all about, what experience they have and what similar interests they may have with the shop owner.  I always enjoyed going out on assignment to do shop tours.  The owners are glad to see me and they tell me the history of the business and we form a bond.  With a number of suppliers and merchants ready to sell you their products it is helpful to read these shop tours as it helps the potential buyer to form their conclusion whether to buy at that business.  DRIVE is more than 50% advertisements, but don’t sell this aspect short.  The ads are well done and if you are looking for hot rod or custom car parts and accessories this is a valuable source.  It is one of the best magazines as far as I am concerned.  Likewise the TECH section offers interesting articles on speed equipment.  Many a hot rodder has been spared time and money by reading these articles and avoiding the mistakes that others have made.  The TECH section of magazines will quickly tell you whether a hot rodding magazine is up to snuff and DRIVE has a good TECH section.  
DRIVE runs to about 112 pages and its FEATURE section always has very good articles. In Issue #306 (February 2015) there were articles on the SEMA Show in Las Vegas, the Pro-Touring, Luxury and Muscle Car Meet, and a gallery of SEMA Show photographs. The prize section is the EVENT listings from all over the country.  The listing is broken down into regions and then by dates.  It is one of the most comprehensive listing of car shows and events in any publication.  It is a major reason why hot rodders and car guys look for this magazine.  I use it to plan my schedule and to avoid conflicts.  It is a free listing and car clubs and car show promoters should take advantage of this service by DRIVE.  My advice is that car show operators should avail themselves of every opportunity to promote their show and DRIVE is an excellent means to let the public know about your event.  Another reason that I like DRIVE is that it never seems to go out of style or date.  Picking up a free magazine several months old is just as interesting as a current issue.  The ads, photos and stories are just as current today as they were months ago, unless you are after race results.  Due to the long delay in publishing dates you will find most of the stories in print maybe a month or two late and the magazine is published monthly.  Even with a few detractions I have to say that DRIVE is a great magazine for the hot rodder and car guy.  I rate DRIVE a 7 out of 8 spark plugs.
Gone Racin’ is at [email protected].