TALES OF 40 YEARS #14 – LEANING TOWER OF MAGAZINES

John Gunnell |

Over the years Krause Publications had many successes with hobby publications and management usually felt what worked in one hobby would work in every hobby. I argued that the old car hobby was different. In other hobbies people went to shows to sell things. In the car hobby people went to show off their cars. They bought things at shows, but most of what they bought was parts to restore the cars they wanted to show off. Anyway, management thought every hobby needed a price guide, a news publication and a monthly magazine. In the car division, we always had trouble with the monthly magazine idea. We started a publication called CAR EXCHANGE that featured stories about mostly postwar cars in it, but it only lasted three years. It was really one of the first “muscle car” magazines, but it was a few years ahead of the curve and by the time muscle car collecting caught on big, CAR EXCHANGE was gone. Later we started a magazine called CAR CORRAL that was 100 percent advertising. We took a full semi truck load of magazines to the East Coast to launch the magazine at Carlisle and Hershey. We thought most of thwem would be gone by the time Carlisle ended and that we could take the remainders to Hershey in the OLD CARS WEEKLY trailer. Unfortunately, only a few skids of magazines were given out at Carlisle and then we had to hire a truck to move the still-loaded trailer to Hershey. That was the year that Hershey opened some brand new fields and a year that it rained cats and dogs. The earth in the new fields was like a bog. When we arrived at the swap meet, the trailer was starting to lean towards one side. We were afraid it was going to tip over. Luckliy the company groundskeeper — Herman Gjertson — had traveled to Pennsylvania with us. He figured out how to keep the trailer propped up with pallets and timbers. However, it had moved so much that when I started to take off with the rental car parked next to the trailer, I did not realize the trailer had shifted so much. I did not expect the trailer to scrape the side of the Lincoln Town Car and knock the chrome moldings off. Luckily, no body damage was done and we pounded the moldings back onto that Lincoln Town Car with a block of soft wood. Unless you knew what had happened, you could not spot the minor scrapes in the chriome. Shortly after that trip, we gave up on CAR CORRAL magazine. In fact, I don’t think I ever heard the idea of a monthly mentioned after that.

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