Writer and philosopher George Santayana maintained that those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. He intended it as a warning but typical of rules there are always exceptions.

For 60 years Rod & Custom has shown us that there's something to the past that's worth repeating. Born of an outcropping of Quinn Publications' popular Hop Up magazine when it went full-format, R&C always seemed to know where it came from. True, there were times when it didn't exactly look like it knew which way to go but for the most part the title finds common ground in two seemingly opposite places: the past and the future.

In those six decades of showing how to meld the performance of tomorrow with the flavor of yesteryear, Rod & Custom's staffers amassed a staggeringly large body of work. Though plundered over the years and in some places incomplete, it gives us insight into how its past looked and felt. Typical of most history, this photo archive is a metaphorical gold mine. In fact, if it has any shortcoming it's that only a few select people have access to it.

What follows is our attempt to give you access to a tiny part of that archive. These are the cars, people, and events that made builders from bystanders. This is the proof that its editors encouraged people to think creatively and dream big, but more importantly that mere mortals could do incredible things if they set their minds to it. Most of all, this is a title that made it all look fun.

The unfortunate part is the completeness, specifically the lack of it. Not very much of the material prior to 1956 has been organized or scanned yet. There are numerous gaps in the earliest scanned material. Freelancers were largely responsible for the magazine's diverse content but we don't have access to a good deal of it, at least at this point. We do have access to freelancer George Burnley's collection, some of which appears here and hasn't ever seen the light of day, much less publication. Sadly, it gets really spotty through the late 1960s and ends in the early 1970s, a critical transition and revival period.

But that ignores what's there. It's so huge that it's close to impossible to see it all, and trust us, many an editor has sat there bleary-eyed, head in hand, fighting off sleep to see that next morsel of historical goodness. It's like a drug.

But what it really teaches us is that there really are some parts of the past that are worth repeating. And the exception to Santayana's quote is that we can't get there if we don't know what it looks like. So consider this your ticket to yesterday. Brought to you by the editors of Rod & Custom, where past is prologue.