Every now and then, I wax nostalgic and thumb through the volumes of old magazines I’ve amassed over the years—not so much to take a trip down memory lane, rather, to gauge how the hobby has progressed as well as the magazines themselves. The various trends are obvious, but what really stood out in particular was how important the collaborators are to the look and feel of each individual issue. I realize that the editor is often solely credited with that, but without the people he or she relies on month in and month out, there’d be nothing more than a pile of words.

I’ve always had a game plan for what I see as the best overall direction for Rod & Custom content-wise (something not everyone agrees with). But again, content’s nothing more than a bunch of words without not just appropriate imagery, but proper graphic layout as well. That last portion has become ever more important over the years, and to be honest, it was one of the key factors when I took over the magazine not too long ago. If it weren’t for Aaron Kahan, I highly doubt R&C would look anything like it does today. I’ve worked with many art directors in my career—some easier to deal with than others—and experience has proven that it’s key that the person laying the magazine out have at least some personal connection with the subject matter. You won’t find a more dedicated person than Aaron; his hot rod genealogy and raw talent put him in a league all his own. When an editor and art director are constantly on the same page, literally, the end result couldn’t be better, and that’s exactly what I’ve got going now.

The photography is another aspect that I’ve come accustomed to “farming out” to some degree. While I wouldn’t consider myself a novice shutter bug by any means—my anal retentiveness applies to my own photo-taking skills—I don’t consider it my forte, despite how much I enjoy doing it. Fortunately, I’ve been able to collaborate with two of the best shooters in the business: Tim Sutton and John Jackson. Over the past two years alone, their work has graced some of the best-looking covers in my eyes, and the accompanying features simply speak for themselves. But most importantly, their photography has come to truly represent the identity of R&C.

And now we come full circle back to the content. I’d be remiss if I didn’t credit the importance of not only my righthand man from the left side of the road, Kev Elliott, but my managing editor, Sarah Gonzales. Kev puts out (content, that is) like no other, carrying a workload others would quit over. While I still have a difficult time understanding him—verbally and on paper—I know I can rely on him to come through with the types of editorial that many readers look forward to. And thanks to Sarah, all of this content I speak of is as legible—and on time—as it can possibly be. If it weren’t for her, it’s probably safe to say that we’d be lucky to get 11 issues out a year, if that!

Every magazine I’ve produced has always been a team effort, but never before have I had the pleasure of working with such a well-rounded, talented team as this.

The various trends are obvious, but what really stood out in particular was how important the collaborators are to the look and feel of each individual issue.