Anita… That Girl…
So it was the summer of 1948 and the July issue of Hot Rod Magazine just released. It was a fine issue of the publication, but it was an early issue and distribution wasn’t quite there yet. Robert E. Petersen just wasn’t sure if the whole idea was gonna work or not, but he pressed on and continued risking huge money issue after issue. The July issue, however, was a turning point of sorts.
See, it was that very issue that introduced the hot rod world to Anita Smith. Who is Anita Smith? I’m not exactly sure… Nor was Mr. Petersen. However, her picture (as seen above) was printed in the racing spotlight of the July issue and as a result, the magazine received a great deal of mail. Everyone wanted to know who the hottie was… A fella or two even wanted to marry her. In fact, the response was heated enough to give Mr. Petersen some comfort.
“Maybe folks out there really are reading this damn thing?”
Mr. Petersen pressed on, Anita became a bit of a legend among old time hot rodders in the know, and Hot Rod Magazine became known as the publication that started it all.