If I knew what I was getting myself into a year ago, I don't know if I would have done it, or if I would have been even more excited to do it. Lug Nuts is about 1 year old, and I thought it would be a good time to take a moment to take a look back.
For whatever reason when I was starting the magazine it never really occurred to me that I might make a lot of friends, and that has probably been one of the biggest surprises for me.
The difficulties varied a lot between the different issues, the first issue was difficult because of the timeline, and getting access to cars. I started it with very few contacts and networked from there. I got information about a garage crawl, emailed someone who had no idea who I was, got a spot for the garage crawl, and showed up there, not knowing a single person. I left there, having met some of the ELTA, a London car club, and the man behind North American Rodders, a large facebook page.
Putting together the first issue, in essentially one month, with the limited knowledge, and limited contacts was a great accomplishment when I look back. I feel honoured to have covered the cars and stories I did, and when I was in Detroit for Autorama, the car featured on the cover won Best Traditional Hot Rod!
The second issue came together in a much better way. It was well-rounded, and well-recieved, and is currently sold out. Using connections from the garage crawl, I was introduced to two of the cars, since they are both part of the ELTA.
Connecting with the ambulance from Issue #2 is a story in itself. I was in Stratford for a reason I can't remember, and am thankful I was. I was driving by Speedy Glass and saw this Ghost Busters looking vehicle halfway out the door, probably because the vehicle is as big as an elephant. The first thing I did was hit the brakes and turn around to go back and check this out. The folks working on the car said that their would be back in a bit, so I could either take a look at the car and leave, or wait. Well I waited. I sat in the parking lot for over half an hour, feeling a bit like a creep, but it's all about the possibility of the next great story. When I finally got to meet Mark, the caretaker of this gorgeous piece of history, we quickly connected, I gave him a card, and took a few photos as he pulled the car out. Mark texted me, and we arranged a time to meet a while later. The great thing about the Gilpins, who own the ambulance, is that they treat this car in a fantastic way, but still drive it. I met up with Mark at their place, and hopped in the car, and went for a drive. Since it wasn't in an area I knew, I went off of a lot of his ideas, and ending up on the beach, I knew we had something special! With the beach, and no rush, I took some shots with the sun up, then waited for the sun to drop behind the lake and got the shots at night with all the lights flashing.
Once you get ahold of a car guy, it seems to be no problem getting the rest done. They are the easiest people to work with! I found that out with both Ian and Rollie, which round out the rest of Issue #2. I simply called Rollie, dropped in to see him one time, and after that we arranged the photoshoot and that was it, really easy. With Ian, I met him at a car show, was really impressed with the car, chatted a bit, and from there we arranged the shoot, the Rolls went on to take Best of Show at British Car Day later last year!
The third issue was difficult because of the timeline again, and getting in contact with people. The success of it was in the content, and the uniqueness of each vehicle and story.
I met Bill, the owner of the milk truck, at a vintage racing night held by the Delaware Speedway. I saw the truck, found the owner, we chatted, and the rest is history, once again, car guys are just easy to work with.
The last story in the third issue is probably my favorite of the year, and the full story is probably one of the craziest stories I have heard in my life. Unfortunately the magazine only has space for a limited number of words, and most of the really good parts had to be cut. We are wanting to do a follow-up story in about 2 years with a different car that has even more history with Tahir and his family. Hopefully in the follow-up story we can properly tell the rest of the story. Most stories seem to go this way, where there is always more to the story, and we don't have the room for it.
The first year overall was pretty tough, and I don't expect it to get easier right away, but I wouldn't change a thing. I have had the time of my life, getting to hear the stories first-hand, and getting to pass the stories on to other people via the magazine. Making new friends that I'm sure will become long-time friends.
One other thing I have come to learn in the past year, and it's a biggie, is the history. Now I have only begun to learn it. There is a lot I have to learn, but I have learned its importance. I want to preserve in the way I can, and share in the ways I can, and most of all, pass it on to anyone who will listen.
The importance of the old photos and magazine has become more apparent to me, as has the people who lived through the golden age of drag-racing. Along with those people, I want the magazine to inspire a younger generation too, so the stories and traditions of hot rodding, customizing, and drag racing can continue.
I can't wait to see what the next year holds. Many things are in the works. Keep watching and get excited!