The Popularity of The Hot Rod Culture

     According to Hot Rod Network, 70 years of Hot Rod Magazine was kicked off by the Hot Rod Exposition in LA in 1948, marking the first event celebrating the market potential of hot rodding as an industry. The impact of popular culture on 1950’s Hot Rod Culture is still observed today. The ramp up of popularity of folks absorbing the scene popped up everywhere including impacts in street racing’s transition to tracks, and popular culture indicators of changes in the music scene, movies, TV, and even on language. One of the larger impacts is in the creation of Hot Rod Shows. Seeing that the first Hot Rod Exposition held in 1948 LA helped to legitimize the past time (photo HRN), it is no surprise that today’s car shows and the vendors to support the past times popularity is still growing (Taylor, 2013).

     The last SEMA show in Vegas attracted 162,000 attendants from custom shops all over the world, to find out the latest trends and products from 2,400 exhibiting companies, and the press was everywhere to cover the now $45b industry event (SEMA, 2018). With lots of folks wondering if the hot rod scene is waning, the clear answer is nope. SEMA indicates that our youth are actually fueling growth in the industry where eight million 16-24 year olds personalize, upgrade, and accessorize their cars. The fandom of this uniquely American culture is seen at the 1948 Exposition, has grown dramatically as other hot rod runs, car shows and nationally sponsored industry and fan events still gather thousands of enthusiasts (photo SEMA).

References: SEMA (2018). 2018 SEMA Show Fact Sheet. Retrieved 20190218 from:, T. (2013). The History of Hot Roding – 1940s and 1950s. Retrieved 20190218 from:

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