From time to time we mention car magazines that are good sources of information for the auto enthusiast. Magazines caught on in the late 19th century in the United States when the predominately rural population found in them a convenient way of keeping abreast of the world at large. And advertisers found that they could reach an audience that had the disposable income to purchase their wares. It was the golden age of the American farmer and it was their discretionary funds that magazines’ advertisers were after. That this was also the dawn of the horseless carriage meant that automobile magazines were readily available.
In the US, motoring magazines like, The Horseless Age, a faint hope at the time of it’s first publication, and Automobile (the original,not the magazine David E. Davis eventually built) we’re available at the turn of the 20th century and they detailed all of the doings of that new dangled creature, the auto-MO-bile.
The car magazines did a very good job of keeping enthusiasts up to date on the happenings in and around the automobile industry and of course, the staple of buff books, the vehicle review. When they covered automotive history they did so sparsely and not often in depth. And the focused coverage of automotive history had to wait until the debut of Automobile Quarterly in the 1960s.
Automobile Quarterly has taken on the niche market of historically minded enthusiasts. Finding issues of AQ in an enthusiasts library is a dead giveaway to the depth of their passion (or insanity, as many spouses will attest). The magazine is a bound book printed with a landscape orientation, the better for automotive photography. They cover cars, car people, and the history of marques. The scholarship of the magazine is one of its hallmarks, and having an article make the cut for AQ is a big deal. It’s been in publication for over fifty years and as the name suggests, is issued four times a year. It’s pricey, but the content is worth the price. And, when you find yourself hooked, you’ll be buying back issues and lots off of eBay.
A good collection of AQs is a treasure move of automotive knowledge, including quite a bit devoted to BMW.
PS – the old magazine, The Horseless Age, is available as PDF files on the net – a really good source of information.