About Us

History of SA HotRods

In 2007, Joe van Zyl started SA HotRods Magazine. Joe grew up in a Hot Rod household and spent hours with his dad in the garage building custom cars. SA HotRods originally started out as a website www.sahotrods.com. The demand to see local Hot Rods and muscle cars was there, but there was no platform to show it. In September 2007, the first Magazine hit the shelf. Originally SA HotRods started as a once a quarter magazine.

This was to gauge the response and see how big the market really was. There was no Rodding industry in South Africa at that time but people have been building Hot Rods since the 1950’s. There were a few small companies importing parts and that was it. Guys were building cars from home. There was only a hand full of Rod building shops around and Rodding was a hobby not an industry. This was a huge challenge as every potential advertiser had to be educated regarding what Hot Rodding was and getting advertising was extremely hard.Even building content was hard. We had nothing.

There were other aftermarket magazines focusing on Japanese and German cars who all had huge financial backing and large infrastructure. And then there was this little Rodding magazine trying find a place in the industry.In 2010 Joe sold his beloved 1949 Chevy Fleetline and put everything into the magazine in order to take it from quarterly to monthly. It started out with a small print run. Rodding was starting to take shape in SA but there was still more work to be done.

A boost came when Joe did a local TV show called Street Rod Africa and had a chance to put the Magazine on TV. Joe later on followed it up with his own TV show called The Rod Shop, which focused on the local industry. TV Shows like Fast ‘n Loud and Count Customs started putting Hot Rods and Muscle cars on the map. Since then, SA HotRods has run articles and offered prizes which have been sponsored by the Gas Monkey team.

Today, SA HotRods Magazine is a house hold brand name in South Africa, distributing over 10 000 magazines a month with a average sale of 50% to 60% per month. And yet we feel we are still at the beginning