TMCP #473: Steve Rupp – The Life and Ever-changing Times of a Magazine Writing Superstar


Steven Rupp:

Turning up like a Bad Penny

This week, marks the return of Steven Rupp! You may not remember hearing Steve on this show unless you go way back to one of our very first interviews in episode 37. Back then he was working for Camaro Performer magazine and loving it! He started at Motor Trend as the Technical Editor for Popular Hot Rodding before moving to the Camaro only publication where he wrote tech articles as he built fast cars. He went on to helm Super Chevy Magazine as well as other publications and is today one of the most highly read authors on the MotorTrend family of website magazine publications.

Tri Tip – The start of Pro-Touring?

I ran into Steven again and thought it would be great to get an update on what he has been up to, and most specifically to understand how magazine for him has changed since 2010.  To put it short…..nearly everything has changed except the love for cars!

Admittedly, in 2019 the magazine landscape changed significantly and there was quite a but of downsizing of the print industry. He’s still with MotorTrend though and was able to give me some great insights about how the closings of many magazine have affected not only where he works but the industry as a whole.

Print publications do still exist but the magazine websites are now the front door to content. People use as-needed search topics (Google) to find tech content and his goal is to be the first resource they find (ex. “How do i install an MSD distributor in a small block Chevy?”)

He said the way articles are released has changed dramatically also. Magazine space is at a premium and in order to sell high quality magazine with articles people want to read the publishing companies are now using the internet to proof out articles and concepts before they print them (i.e. the really heavy internet hitters get promoted to the print edition).

Like most people in the automotive industry, Steven loves his cars and has had a couple that are pretty amazing. He admits that with his access to cheap parts left over from magazine article and contacts he has made in the industry he can get carried away and make some crazy stuff.

He built one of the more famous Camaros called “Bad Penny” in the early days of Pro-Touring and it won one of the early OPTIMA Ultimate Street car Invitationals! He just recently purchased, updated, and sold the famous ’69 Camaro called “Tri Tip” originally built by Mark Stielow to run One Lap of America. Tri Tip has an extensive history of it’s own and is debatably the very first Pro-Touring car made. Steven plans to update the car but keep it as if Stielow had continued to update it over the years. Today Steven just purchased a 2019 Camaro ZL1 1Le because he “needed a fun car”….and new cars are both fast and comfy! He’s hearing it up now for the 2021 Hot Rod Power Tour.

If you would like to read more about or from Steven, you can find him at MotorTrend or on many many articles around the internet and in print.

Thanks Steven!

-Rob Kibbe


This interview sponsored by our pals at National Parts Depot – your premier source for muscle car restoration parts!



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