Automobile Quarterly Future Uncertain

Since the May 2011 passing of Automobile Quarterly publisher Gerry Durnell, AQ has been on a gradual decline while its present owners attempt to seek a buyer. Acquisition prices for the venerable title have reached as high as $1.5M with no takers. With just under 5,500 paid subscribers and an average reader age approaching 70, revamping the brand for the 21st century will pose a challenge for anyone merely willing to assume the sub liability.

Today, CPI just learned that AQ is tied up in an estate settlement, lacking the funds to continue publication.

Has AQ’s time come and gone? Perhaps not. While the revamping challenge will prove considerable, a number of new media opportunities could re purpose the brand into 21st century relevance. AQ’s mantra was that to serve discerning collectors of fine autos and automobilia, and that market remains strong and affluent. However, who outside AQ’s declining cadre of loyal followers recognize the brand, let alone willing to cough up eighty smackers per year sub price? Yet its premium packaging could be combined with lucrative paid advertising, and with the web becoming an increasingly visual medium (Facebook, Pinterest, blogs), AQ’s content library could also represent a handsome online revenue stream. Using a metered system, some percentage will pay for premium content. The question remains, however: What do AQ’s assets bring to the table that could not be delivered by web-only start ups? Check out the The Old Motor.

Our library of AQ began around 1970 as a present to my father for that year’s Christmas (you could say it was a communal gift). Issues could be ordered with the subscriber’s name gold-embossed on the cover. I have a complete set ending with Volume 40. Dick O’Kane’s hilarious piece from Volume 8/4 “Grendel” is the stuff of legend.

Let’s hope for a new beginning for a publication that held our esteem and captivated our attention for decades.

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UPDATE JUNE 8, 2013.

AQ’s website is in fact live and continues to solicit subscription income. Shame on you!

Popularity: 79% [?]


Eric's Consulting Services for Publishers

There Are 137 Responses So Far. »

  1. Eric,
    You are spot on in your comments. There are several dynamics going on in the automotive collector market. First of all, through the internet, information has become less expensive to obtain so that with minimal cost an “expert” can start an on-line publication with much less fixed costs than the established media that depend on bricks, morter, and a large staff of writers, copy editors, photographers, etc. But even existing publications have apps and web sites that provide much of the content of the magazine for free. Next, for a fine publication like AQ, which is meant to be saved, there are less customers. Anyone younger than the baby boom generation does not save or collect to the extent the boomers and prior generations did. A decline in coin collecting, stamp collecting, book collecting has already taken place. Dare I say car collecting is next? Take a look the next time you are at a car show. Is the average age 70+? It has been for the shows I have attended this summer. The younger people are not there to buy at the swap meets or to buy at the auction, but rather to accompany an elderly relative. That has serious consequences for the hobby and its publications. If you can’t make it to Pebble Beach, just watch the auctions on the Speed Channel and do your own quick survey of the audience and the bidders. Younger folks are also less interested in obtaining a driver’s license. The US has started to mimic Japan in this regard where the percentage of young people with a license has actually declined over the last ten years. If they don’t know how to drive, will they be collectors when they obtain income levels to support such a hobby? I doubt it. Will or can the Chinese buyers replace traditional customers? Perhaps. But a quick tariff on imported vehicles could change that overnight. So what we are seeing will continue–a decline in interest in automotive print media for a variety of factors including demographic changes in interest. At least three of the Big Four auto magazines are now located in Ann Arbor, Michigan so that the next consolidation can happen with relative ease.

  2. Tom… excellent points.
    Today’s Sports Tuner market is the one bright spot as you elude to. Cheap thrills for far less than the restoration of a sixties Mustang and donor cars abound.
    Car vents in the northeast are similarly afflicted by a lack of youngsters. I try to haul my three along but their teens years are very much operating outside the parental box.
    As for magazines, at this blog’s launch in 2007 not many agreed with what appeared to be reactionary predictions for the end of print. In just recent months, even the most pro-pub bloggers have caved. Really, it’s a silly debate, almost like those twisted souls who insist mechanical brakes are superior to hydraulic.
    The death spiral for automotive mags will have a long tail. As long as some profitability sustains, publishers will forge ahead. And there’s much ego at stake for the smaller mags whose lives and publications are one.

  3. CORRECTION: A source has indicated that AQ is planning to continue publication while it seeks a buyer.

  4. In reference to Automobile Quarterly’s decline… If you read the AQ “Packard Conceptualized” article in one of their 2010 issues (and this year in Keeneland Concours hardbound program)… and then read several issues of Packard Club’s “The Packard Cormorant” magazine, you may be surprised at the similarities. Even entire sentences–without attribution (or permission) of the actual author. This fact is particularly notable in the history of the Packard Predictor… and Packard Panthers.

  5. ERIC,

    I have written an article for the “next” issue that is supposed to be out shortly, called “THE DESIGN OF THE DETOMASO MANGUSTA”.

    Regarding young car enthusiasts, there may be a gap, younger people, 4 to 10 are spurred by the Cars movies, they are rabid car fans, even watching Speed Channel, etc. To them the commercials are even notable.

    Thanks for the information.

  6. It’s over for AQ. Publishing has ceased with the fall Hershey issue (a very nice effort, by the way) and the publication’s coveted archives of automotive history and art have scattered to the wind. Say goodbye to one of the great publishing achievements of our time.

  7. Sad to hear that AQ has ceased publication. I’ve been a subscriber for over twenty years and am lucky enough to have a complete ‘run’ except for the last issue which I did not receive. I paid my subscription last September and it was charged to my credit card account but no issues were received. A sad and ignoble end to a fine publication.

  8. As of 4/22/13 you can still renew on their site. I also renewed last fall and have tried to call AQ, but nobody ever answers, returns calls or emails.
    Isn’t that fraudulent to continue to take money under the circumstances?

  9. Anybody know where I can purchase Vol 50 Nos 1-4 ? the AQ site is closed, and so, I presume, is the availability of an issues.
    Please contact me to let me know if you have Vol 50, and how much to send to W. Europe.

  10. I was a contributor to AQ since 1981. In 2012 I wrote and submitted my history of the Rolls-Royce drophead coupe up to the present day. It was to appear in Vol. 52, No. 2 but it is becoming obvious that won’t happen. Greg Perigo took over as publisher in an effort to find investors, consider the possibility of advertising, and bring AQ to a new readership. There were a lot of financial issues to be dealt with apparently. Many car enthusiasts and subscribers are sad over this.

  11. Greg made an admirable attempt to rescue the brand. Hubris on the part of the owner meant AQ is no longer. After 50+ years it had a great run.

  12. This is terrible news. I started subscribing in the mid 1980s and have since built a complete collection at great expense – I am in the UK so these books were never cheap.

    I would have thought some UK publishers might have been interested in buying the brand. Perhaps it would have made a nice companion to “The Automobile” which seems to be doing well.

  13. I have my grandfathers collection of AQ from Vol. 6 to 25 mostly complete set of 4 for each year. I am looking to sell them as complete collection. Do you know of anyone who might be interested? Some are enbossed with his name. Also have Vol. 1 #4 1963 edition.

    Chris

  14. I am appalled that AQ keeps taking our money and not delivering issues. Last issue is a year and a half ago…first quarter 2012 – their website today still calls it “current issue”. I have been receiving this magazine since its very first issue, and, even though they were already tardy in delivery, I faithfully renewed in Oct. 1012. I (and evidently 5,500 others) have not received several of our issues….(what about 5 or 6 issues now?). This milking for last monies from loyal subscribers and “new subscribers” (poor fellows) for more cash without intention of sending issues is an “Ignoble ending” indeed. They are still taking money for subscriptions (as of today, May 27th 2013). Shameful Thievery. I am afraid I have quite lost faith in AQ’s current intentions. I discourage anyone from sending them money.
    Now why do I see merely one other complaint re AQ delivery at BBB website? (I filed complaint today takes c. month to process) Why can I not find a class action suit pending? (So far I have filed complaint at consumer-classactions.com)

  15. I had to laugh at renewing in Oct 1012…2012 of course.

  16. Not the way to run a railroad. It’s one thing to close up honorably, another to steal.

  17. …and for what it’s worth I listed complaint against Greg Perigo’s AQ at consumeraffairs.com. It may be fruitless, (receiving any refund or issues or justice), but it seems wrong to me to passively or silently accept this thievery. And you know it’s not the lost money, it’s the principle, that and what business and law we allow in our country – shall we sit quietly while a company operates fraudulently? So I must speak out, and use what forums I might. I encourage other subscribers to do the same.
    …(and BTW is Perigo not similarly shamming with his shuttered LAKES magazine??)

  18. I have looked hard for articles on AQ and Perigo, the AQ estate and recent status…found very little to chew. What would be the source for Eric concluding the “owner’s” Hubris (Durnell’s hubris?) is responsible for AQ being no longer? rather than Perigo?) For on the surface of things it well could seem that Perigo has not made a valiant attempt in good faith…. (And the timing of Bailey’s death…how that might be connected is unclear to me.) I admit I have not followed the politics of publishing as must have Eric… but now I should like a peek at any relevant articles could I find them. Any references?

  19. Greg Perigo made a valiant effort to save AQ. He put his own time and reputation on the line. I’m not aware that Greg had any formal interest in AQ other than trying to find a buyer.

  20. Hi Eric

    Many thanks for your kind words and support of Automobile Quarterly over the years. Thanks, too, for providing this forum.

    I will address the concerns of your readers as best I can. I will also apologize in advance if this is a longer reply than usual. But I’m sure you’ll understand.

    As a reader since 1971 — and a subscriber since 1976 — Automobile Quarterly is near and dear to my heart. My dad introduced me to AQ. In turn, AQ introduced me to wonderful writing, thorough research, crisp photography and compelling design. It fueled my continuing interest in cars and car magazines. I wear my affiliation with AQ as a badge of honor.

    It is putting it far too mildly to note that Automobile Quarterly is at a very dangerous crossroad. When Gerry Durnell passed away in 2011 AQ was not only deprived of its patron and publisher but of its rudder too. Even before then, however, AQ was showing its age. Content became weak, design was uninspiring and subscribers were dwindling. This last point is critical.

    By tradition AQ deprived itself of precious advertising revenue and focused on subscriptions and book sales for its cash flow. That model may have worked in 1968 when the average age of an AQ reader was 35. It does not work as well in 2013 when the average age of its reader is 73 +. AQ’s ad-free format can no longer support its aging subscriber base. It is caught between an old business model that no longer works and a new one that has yet to be invented.

    When I learned of AQ’s plight in 2009 I volunteered … in the strictest sense of the word … my help. Then as now, I have no financial stake in the publication and was never on its payroll (it is worth noting that it is a 10-hour round trip from my home in Northern Indiana to AQ’s office near Louisville, Kentucky. Few publications encourage that level of reader involvement). My interest was (and still is) to see this iconic title continue. Candidly, I cannot imagine a world without AQ. My library would feel naked.

    In 2009 I presented three options: Do nothing and watch AQ slowly sink; regroup and retool, and secure additional operating capital through new investment; or, scuttle the publication and abandon ship. An outright sale to new owners would have been preferred, but the value of AQ’s archives made that difficult. The economic meltdown of 2008 didn’t help matters any, either. Capital was tight. It still is.

    It is to the Durnell family’s enduring credit that they chose to regroup and reinvent. That momentum stalled when Gerry took ill in 2010, and died with him altogether a few months later. His loss is keenly felt. As with many others my own involvement with AQ ended in December, 2012. I do not know what their current plans are but I assure you that the Durnell family’s stewardship of AQ has always been sincere. Were it not for their sponsorship the AQ era would have surely ended long ago.

    I continue to hope that Automobile Quarterly’s vast and significant automotive archives will find a home; I continue to believe that new investment can bring a re-tooled AQ into flourish. I encourage the discussion, and can be reached via this forum or through Eric.

    Regards,

    Greg Perigo

  21. Greg, my thanks for putting pen to paper and to express your feelings in the heartfelt manner that I know to be genuine. AQ holds an honorable and permanent place on my bookshelf. Let’s hope for a bright future for a noble title. What say you CPI readers? Anyone out there with guts, vision, and few bucks languishing in passbook savings? Email me and I’ll put you in touch.

  22. I too have been caught by the apparent closure and loss of a year’s subscription. Residing in Australia, it was an expensive luxury too, with the overseas shipping costs it came to over $100, and of course even if there was some legal recourse for U.S. citizens, it would be next to impossible from here, so I guess I lose out. It does seem a shame though to lose something of such quality, but I do understand the problems outlined above by Greg. If it can be relaunched, it will certainly have too take advertising revenue to survive and I will keep shelf space vacant just in case; best not hold my breath waiting though.

  23. I am so sad to hear that AQ is gone. It has been part of my life ever since I met my husband in 1963, when he first subscribed. We married in 1964 and I would buy the 1st year’s back issues one by one as gifts for him. He has the complete set up to Vol 52 #1, in slip cases, in a book case dedicated to AQ. He passed away in January, and I just today realized that there are no new issues. He hesitated due to the passing of Gerry Durnell and lateness of publishing issues, but still renewed last May for another 2 years. I am going to give the whole set to my son, but had hoped to have that complete year’s issues. My son is also a “car guy” and will appreciate them.
    The end of an era.

  24. Just now finding that my suspicions of the collapse of AQ are confirmed. I find it criminal that the AQ s website is still soliciting new subscribers; and there has been no communication to the existing paid subscriber base. Unfortunately, I had my subscription renewed In january 2013 as a late christmas gift. I always looked forward to each new issue with much anticipation. Sadly I will miss this fine publication.

  25. Hi Eric:

    Many thanks to Greg Perigo for providing some clear facts regarding our beloved Automobile Quarterly. Like the others writing above, I too have an unfulfiled subscription, every volume of which I have been looking forward to, and now it does not look like I will see them. Perhaps some entreprenurial individual, who loves the automobile as we all do, will come to the fore and bring AQ back. I think we all can see the need for an updated business model, and as I read the more recent volumes, I have wondered how it could continue solely on subscriptions. A subscriber only for the last 6 years, I have accumulated back issues both from AQ and on ebay, and now have a complete set from Volume 1, book 1 forward.

  26. I wish to go on record and thank you and you staff in helping me round out my collection of Autombile Quarterly’s to a full set. i started collecting AQ’s in the mid 60′s and collected for about 15 years before dropping by the wayside. It was on ebay and with your and your staffs help that I now have a complete collection of the worlds finest automotve books ever published. I continue to try and upgrade the collection via ebay, having just recently purchased original 1st edition books Vol.1-4. Thanks also for your efforts in trying to save the publication of these great books.

  27. I was just made known of this blog’s existence by a former fellow AQ working associate.

    Please grab an AQ over the last 9 years and you will see my name as Art Director of AQ. I am in the middle of a big independent project presently and promise to come back here and help contribute as I might in fact be the last AQ employee as I PRESENTLY am among a few.

    One thing to make clear quickly—if you go to the AQ site, you cannot order anything, your card will never be charged. I know investments have been made, that hopefully one day can still be fulfilled.

    There is much to say, we were stewards to Scott Bailey’s vision and some of you have been involved with AQ since I was in grade school. You “owned” AQ as much as anyone but without the dollar expense. I have spent the last 6 months digging through a history of automotive documents few have seen, all located in the AQ archives, much of which were collected by Scott Bailey and the great additional work of Jonathan Stein, Beverly KImes and literally thousands of others that would fill your screen. So many great names have been a part of AQ. These were the real pioneers who began with a vision and delivered it. Obviously it struck a chord and I was humbled to help record their efforts.

    I worked with Greg Perigo at AQ for all his time here. There are many observations that Greg made that I absolutely agree with. I welcomed him with the hope and enthusiasm that we were on the same page during his brief visit. His comments about the market are spot on in my opinion and represent at least a partial picture of AQ’s challenge. I had to pause here because I am really stuck on how to continue. It is awkward but I had a GREAT respect for Greg at one time, even as a friend, but the statement of not being on the payroll is ridiculous. It is also typical. I’m not sure why he would make such a statement in public when it is easy to prove otherwise. There are those that invested substantially in his time. It was disappointing and difficult to remain silent when so many have been so loyal and so sincere in the AQ objective. I would welcome the opportunity to discuss this personally with Greg in person. It serves little purpose to go further here, I hope this is enough. Suffice it to say, as in much of life, there is more than what may appear on the surface.

    For those who WERE the true builders, contributors, visionaries, dreamers, designers, tinkerers, architects and readers, AQ did it’s best to embody your automotive spirit. I am most appreciative as art director to present the information and insight others have diligently offered and shared. We kept winning awards and received many industry and private compliments. Something must have been right. Those that I value the most were from the individual subscriber, who on more than one occasion commented they would take off work when an AQ came in the mail. That was a loyalty and respect I took seriously.

    I can’t get into the family business, because it it theirs. There are many personal and financial factors contributing to the position AQ has found itself today. What I can tell you is that it is still intact, it’s parts are not scattered to the wind (as commented above, at least for now) in hopes that the next appropriate steward comes to the door and is willing to get their hands involved as well. It as been an honor to be a part of it for the past nine years in the trenches, I would like to continue but to have it reborn as the “New AQ” with expanded possibilities and directions, and with sincere leadership. I think we all know the treasure that it was and could be again, even within a changing culture and appreciation. 52-2 with a tribute coincidently to Scott Bailey remains on my computer for the next publisher.

    Anyone can talk a great game, and many have tried at others expense. Someone needs to stop talking about how much they want AQ to go on and actually do something to make it happen. Or else it soon could be in scattered pieces like a memory.

    Personally, it is NOT an enviable position to be in to flip the last light switch of such an automotive icon. Not so much because of my contribution, but for all those that came before and made it worth talking about.

    Best wishes, your passion speaks volumes.

    As Gerry would sign in the Frontice, Drive in Peace.

    Eric–you have my email.

  28. I have acquired volume 1 thru volume 23 (a total of 90 books) all hard cover and in Great condition I’m wondering if there is a saleable market for them and if so what kind of price range would I be looking at. Thanks for any help you can give me with this

  29. While public forums are no place to discuss private disagreements or personal disappointments I understand Dan’s frustration. However, I must correct him on one point: I was not an employee. The revenue was simply not there to put someone else on the payroll.

    I am not saying that to distance myself from AQ. Far from it! However, I want to be clear: I did not have any ownership stake in the company, as has often been suggested, and was not an AQ employee. I also want to be clear that while I was not an employee or owner I was compensated for consulting and reimbursed for expenses after August 2012. Prior to that, however, I was not. As seen so clearly in this forum I was not … am not … alone in my enthusiasm for AQ.

    A large part of AQ’s fiscal challenges were its payroll and subscription liabilities. As AQ is a subscription-based publication, thousands of readers have paid many thousands of dollars to receive their issues; this particular can should not be kicked down the road “for the next publisher” to deal with.

    Many have tried to contact AQ to discuss their subscription status to no avail. It is not unreasonable to request AQ update its web-site or send a letter to inform readers of its status.

    I continue to believe that with new investment AQ can flourish. I pray that belief is well-founded.

  30. AQ was the first car magazine that I subscribed to when I got my first real paycheck in 1966. I still subscribe and now have a full set. (At 69, I’m doing my bit to drag down the average subscriber age.) AQ was always a joy, including the work of great automotive journalists and historians. As a fellow automotive magazine editor/publisher, I wondered how such a high-quality publication could continue without advertising and with only 5-6,000 subscribers, so every time a new issue showed up in the mailbox, I was pleasantly surprised. Actually, I considered my annual subscription fee to be an investment in keeping AQ alive; I’ll certainly miss AQ more than I’ll miss the money.

    Sure hope that a sugar daddy/innovator can be found, but even if that happens,and AQ is updated, it surely won’t be the same. Today a generation of exceptional magazine writers and editors (including Bev Kimes, L. Scott Bailey et al) is departing, mainly replaced by unpaid and uninformed bloggers. At least we have those hundreds of back issues to enjoy! They’re not making cars like they did in 1963, either, but we can still enjoy the survivors.

    Frank

  31. Thanks to everyone for these comments. I am 58 and have loved AQ since I discovered it in the Virginia Tech library in 1973. I became a subscriber about six years ago. I have, however, obtained all of the past issues from eBay auctions. I have watched many car and boat magazines disappear and when I didn’t receive AQ I thought it was in trouble. Today, I took the time to search online since I couldn’t get in touch with AQ. I now look at my lost subscription money as a final contribution to the best automotive publication produced in the USA. I am comforted knowing that I can still enjoy the beauty of the publication through my collection. I have printed this column and will add it to my collections as the last AQ story. Again, thanks for telling the final story of AQ in this column.

  32. Jeff.. many thanks to you, and all who commented on the final epitaph of AQ. As you say, the publication lives on in our bookshelves!

  33. So yesterday I received a “Subscription Alert” from AQ wanting me to renew my subscription. The letter was addressed from Gerry Durnell, whom I believe is deceased. What gives? Is this a scam or what?

  34. Among my fellow AQ enthusiasts, does anyone want a complete set? A friend has for sale Vol 1, #1 through Vol 50, #1 plus three indeces and several dupes; all in great shape, for $1,600 plus shipping. If the set doesn’t sell this week, he’ll probably donate it to an archive. Contact me at 303/237-0911 or fdb912@gmail.com.

    Frank

  35. I paid for 3 years in Advance. I expect a phone call back at least.
    They are being fraudlent by accepting new customers on their website.

  36. I phoned the AQ Subscriber Services number today (866-418-5550) and spoke with a woman who said that there were “some problems with the company”, but her information was that they intend to ship Volume 52 No. 2 in mid-August.

    I had not found this forum prior to making my phone call, so now I wonder how truthful the response from the Subscriber Services group is. It’s probably wishful thinking to truly expect to see another issue, but I’ll continue to hope.

    It’s a shame DED, Jr. has passed, as he and a consortium of deep-pocketed friends (Bob Lutz?) could have done a stunningly good job of reviving this once august publication.

  37. AQ ran out of its nine philanthropist lives, and today’s publishing environment won’t likely yield another bailout but who knows.

  38. While I’m glad I stumbled across this site, I’m very disappointed to find out (have it confirmed) that AQ is no longer publishing.
    I had been trying to illicit a response from their website/ phone numbers for over a year and suspected something was amiss, but now I know.(the 866-416-5550 number is no longer active !).
    While the publishing format may be ‘old school’, I feel there is always room for something different from the masses.
    I have a complete set of AQ and will sorely miss not being able to receive such a fine magazine with excellent articles and superb photography.
    Congratulations to everyone who had a hand in creating such a fine publication…..you will be missed.

  39. How sad to learn of the passing into history of such a fine publication. My trips of anticipation to the mail box will now be curtailed.I now have completed the entire collection and will enjoy the ten I did not have.Hope the sun will again shine on AQ.

  40. I also received a “Subscription Alert” renewal notice, postmarked June 27, 2013, and supposedly authored by Gerry Durnell. Since I knew that Gerry had passed on, I became suspicious and I started looking into what was going on at AQ. I had two issues left to my current subscription (up to Vol. 52, No. 3) and, through my research, I came upon this forum. I admit that I am very saddened to read about AQ’s demise. I could not find any useful information whatsoever on AQ’s website about this situation. A simple note update on the website would have sufficed to keep us apprised of what is going on.

    I have been a loyal subscriber since 1981 when I discovered AQ initially through their great calendar series. I am now 56 years old so I must have appeared as one of those weird new subscribers, being all of 24 years old back then. Over the years, I have acquired several books, calendars, and posters from AQ and everything has always been top notch quality. I also managed to complete my set of AQ.

    In my opinion, there simply was no other magazine that came close in terms of quality, photography and content as that provided by AQ and I was looking forward to every new issue, although I sometimes wondered about the timeliness of the issues. Since I live in Canada, I figured that these delays must have been caused at the border or at the post office and I never really gave it a second thought. However, I do admit that I was annoyed when AQ started putting out 5 issues a year for a while, hence Volume 52 celebrating 50 years of AQ. Go figure.

    It is a shame that some unscrupulous people would take advantage of this sad situation by allowing honest current and new subscribers to send their hard earned cash and be cheated out like this.

    Despite all this, I remain hopeful and sincerely wish that someone can take over this fine publication and bring it back to its former glory, albeit in an updated format to attract a younger and larger readership.

    If AQ ever survives, I guess that it’s wishful thinking to hope that the new owners will respect the unfulfilled subscriptions and, being a foreigner, I am almost certain that I will never receive a refund for the undelivered portion of my subscription as stated in the aforementioned Subscription Alert notice. Hope…

  41. I subscribed for the first time in Sept. 2012 and never received a single issue only a really cool hat with AQ on it. I wished they would have posted something on there website that they were having
    problems with filling orders. This would have saved me many non-returned phone calls and angry e-mails and a chance to cancel my credit card charge, but now I’m screwed. But a least I can say that I am wearing the most expensive hat that I ever bought. It’s a shame that such a fine publication fell into the hands of bunch of jerks that will take your money and do nothing for you.

  42. I should have known this was going to happen. Truly good things like AQ are bound to fall into bad hands eventually, and this is what has happened here. I wonder what they’ve done with the money so many of us were charged for nothing. Someone decided to just pocket the money and fade into the sunset.

  43. Renewed my subscription first week of January & was assured I would recieve the AQ 50th anniversary hat. Never got that either.

  44. I too got caught again with paying for the subscription and not receiving any issues. This happened a couple years ago and was happy when they started publishing again. I was happy to pay for another year to find out they took my money again, Very very disappointed.

  45. Ok, so we know now, (despite more recent dubious claims to the contrary)that AQ has gone. So, if there are enough subscribers that are each owed all or part of a year’s subscription, and in my case being overseas it was $100 a year and I only received one, therefore owed $75, are there grounds now to take a class action to recover whatever is left of the existing assets, or worse, if there is proof of financial misconduct, a criminal case. Presumably a company has a responsibility to not keep on trading once it gets to a point where it is not fulfilling it’s responsibilities, and that means all money taken since Vol 52 #2 was not shipped on time were taken by deception. I realise we are each only talking small change, but if there is wrongdoing at their end, and someone has known they were out of business but decided to keep 5,000 or more times ‘small change’ they are the thieves who should be brought to justice, even if the creditors only get a cent on the dollar. Any legal specialists out there want to take the case?

  46. Good luck trying to sue them. Chances are they have no liquid assets anyway. History is littered with magazines that ceased publication without refunding a cent to subscribers, In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever heard of it being done. The best they usually do is switch your sub to another, similar, magazine, which takes it on with the hope that you will like it and renew later.

    I agree, though, that continuing to take money for “subscriptions” is a fraud. Maybe call the local district attorney?

  47. Just discovered this blog and am saddened to know my collection of Volume 1, #1 through Volume 52, #1 has reached an end. I succeeded my dad in his subscription with his passing many years ago and have a beautiful book case in our home library devoted to AQ from start to finish. It would have been decent of the publishers to notify loyal customers of publishing being discontinued and the fact that their website today remains open for new subscriptions or renewals is a poor legacy. Like many, I always extended my subscription in support of this publication well ahead of any due date and have simply written off my most recent payment as a small price to pay for fifty plus years of value received since the time I was a young boy. ( Think I will pull the cover off the ’67 Corvette and head out for a nice ride on the coastal highway near my home to consider this loss of a great publication. )

  48. Such a disappointment. Thank you for all the above contributions explaining the current situation at AQ. I too have a complete collection that I carried on after my dad’s passing. At 59 I have looked forward to opening that odd box that arrived in the mail as long as I can remember. Years after I had moved out on my own, every time I went home I would head to the bookshelves to see what I had missed. I also recently received a renewal notice and realized then how long it had been since receiving the last issue. It will be a pleasant surprise if it ever renews publication…I won’t hold my breath.

  49. How can one get a copy of the Design of the Detomaso Mangusta article you planned on having included in the next issue of Automobile Quarterly. Will you have it published in another automobile journal?

  50. All – I just stumbled upon this site and found its many comments illuminating. It’s sad to have confirmed what I had suspected, that the book (it was really much more than a magazine)died after 52/1. I would fully agree that what’s left of the subscriber base has an average age north of 70, and we love old and interesting cars as much as we enjoy – or not – new ones. We are most likely the last generation that will fill that niche. Most youngsters today can’t be bothered to look at anything beyond their latest hand-held device, and they don’t care if they drive or not.

    I began my AQ subscription in 1975 and over time managed to fill in all the back issues and indexes. As an autmotive writer, I have found AQ to be an invaluable resource. I hope AQ can get off the ground again under new ownership, but if not, its archives should be donated to some organization that will allow research access and photo retrieval at non-punitive rates.

    I feel bad for those who contributed articles and photos to AQ and haven’t been paid. Unfortunately, it’s not the first time that’s happened in this business.

  51. At least they need to post a notice on their web site that they are no longer publishing, or, even better, take the site completely down. As it is, it appears they are still publishing, taking new subscriptions and taking back issue orders. With this kind of charade, their reputation is getting more and more tarnished and, if they are still trying to find a buyer, any buyer will consider the tarnished reputation when considering the purchase. Obviously, the current owners “by default” aren’t very business-oriented.

  52. TO DAN BULLIET,
    You stated in your comment that the last issue is in your computer.
    Is that the last one done by Jeff Leestma?

    He told me that when he left the issue with the article that I wrote, Design of the Detomaso Mangusta, was finished and ready to go to the printer.

    Do you know about the article?

    Dick Ruzzin

  53. As a docent at a major Northern Californian Auto museum, I have loved and cherished my AQs over the years as my first source of material for automotive research. Gerry & Kaye were such outstanding people, so representative of the AQ name and tradition. Losing AQ is like losing a well- bred automotive historian, a sad ending to such a wonderful ride thru the years.

  54. The whole auto hobby is nothing but one continuous auction and I am surprised that AQ lasted as long as it did. I’m 77 years old and remember the days when we would take a Duesenberg all the way to the limit in low,second and high gear.Heck of a ride.

  55. I just found this website, and all I can say is that it’s so very, very sad to lose such an outstanding publication. I began subscribing in 1964, and soon filled in the back issues. I inadvertantly let my subscription lapse in July 2012, resubscribing in January 2013 and requesting the missed issues to restart. Does anyone know where I can get vol 51 no 4 and vol 52 no 1 in new condition. They have not been forthcoming. I treasure this resource and intend to someday pass it on to my grandson whom I know will appreciate it.

  56. The phone #s on the website “are no longer in service”.The phone # in my last issue rec’d, 52-1, “cannot be completed at this time”.
    That # is (866)418-5550. I have a (groan) PAID 6 yr sub. credit.
    Every time I called in the last few months, the nice lady that answered assured me that the next issue, 52-2, would be published the “next month”. Of course I am still waiting!
    I have an almost complete subscription and wanted to try a trade for
    the 3 yrs. I am missing.
    But now I can’t even find a working phone ## (@#$%^%$&*()*^%)!! and
    then some!!
    A beautiful, handsome publication deserves better but …..
    In the words of that U.S.Army commander in the WWII Battle of the Bulge when he refused to surrender. “NUTS”

  57. I too just stumbled onto this website and my question was answered. I also have a complete set and started my subscription in 1970. It was easier then to obtain the missing issues. I’m 65 now and am quite sad that its over, at least is its current format. I really don’t care about the money, I too would always extend my subscription as far in advance as possible knowing that this day would come. I would have donated money if it would have helped. I quess things do come to an end. I miss the old Road & Track magazine format, it seems with todays computerization the layout people feel the necessity to use every font style available mixed together whenever possible.

    I guess its another product I find no longer available. It was a great rise while it lasted, and I am grateful to have been on it!

  58. Sad to see AQ go. I have been a subscriber since Vol 1 #1, except for the 7 volumes 50-1 to 51-3. I would like to complete the collection with those missing volumes if I could!

  59. As I did not see anything from the postman for months , I had a look on internet. My surprise was total when I understand that AQ was dead. What about my 3 years subscription….. I thought that if I did not receive the promise books that was because the french ( I live in France ) mail is a mess…
    Thatv is very sad story , not because of the money but because of the dead spirit . OK i will try to find the missing issues for now .

    a very sad AQ fan

  60. A faithful subscriber since before I even had a license to drive, it is sad to finally discover after all these years that the reason why my AQ seemingly ceased to appear in my mailbox after Vol 52. No. 1 was NOT because I had somehow failed to renew (a check of my records shows that I am paid up through Vol. 56 No.3!) but rather because the enterprise simply failed to continue after the passing Gerry Durnell and F. Scott Bailey. Like most unrepentant automobile enthusiasts, I looked on the cost of my subscription as simply dues to belong to an expensive and exclusive club as well as a contribution to the preservation of something truly unique and memorable in the old car world: a class publication and a living automobile archive. I never failed to learn something new with every issue. Success is never final and failure is not absolute. Let’s hope that the stewards of what remains of AQ see fit to keep it’s assets intact and find a way to resume publishing. Here’s to the resurrection of our beloved AQ!

  61. I’m one of many who is sad to see the end of AQ. I discovered it through advertisements placed in Road & Track back issues from the ’70s. I’m a subscriber since 1998 and, at 41, am considerably younger than the average subscriber. Within a year I had built up the complete collection (working double shifts to pay for them as I got a good deal from a seller in the UK). One thing that didn’t help AQ in its battle to survive is that so few people knew about it – I never saw it advertised in any magazine over the past 25 years.

    I’ve noted some of the comments regarding the average age of car show attendees. While this may be true of the US or other countries, it most definitely isn’t the case here in Ireland – the classic car hobby is alive and well among young and old. Granted, events like Pebble Beach may not be well-attended by the young but the issues regarding dress code at some of the more prestigious events are surely a major factor where this is concerned, as is the cost of entry. Additionally, collecting cars requires serious money, which many young and not-so-young people don’t have. My own car is a 1988 BMW 316 (no “i” – it’s one of the last carburettor models) but I know I couldn’t afford to maintain more than one car, so it would be foolish for me to try….

  62. I renewed my AQ subscription for three years at $200.00, beginning with issue 52-1. So that was one expensive final issue I got!

    I think the decent thing for the Durnell family to do would be to allow us ‘subscriber/creditors’ to choose from the remaining AQ books and merchandise, to compensate us for the subscription funds we have paid in advance, for magazines that will never be published.

    By my understanding, these are fairly well off people we are talking about. The Durnells are not bankrupt; one of their many businesses is.

    Isn’t it a fine “thank you” to those who have supported AQ for decades to be out a significant amount of money, when the Durnells could simply make good by allowing us to ‘buy’ some of their now-dead inventory?

    I’d happily take a copy of the Cadillac book and a copy of the Packard book and call it even, fair, and square.

    .

  63. A certain museum paid AQ almost $10K a few years ago to produce a book for the facility. It never came to fruition, and probably never will now…

  64. Excellent suggestion from John. They owe me $75, and although I received 52-1 I never did get 51-4 and now the website links are disabled, I can’t get a reply as to why it never came, or even though I should have credit with AQ I can not order a replacement.
    No matter what the circumstances, it is not good form to just shut the doors, take the phone off, and make no attempt to explain or apologise to those that have supported you all this time.
    Alternatively, how much do they want to sell the existing business – anyone know?

  65. These comments are fantastic and hopefully they yield something for all of you impacted by AQ’s less-than-proper exit. I’ve posted on Facebook where anyone can share and spread the word. “A squeaky wheel gets the grease!” https://www.facebook.com/pages/Car-Pub-Insider/197848136901992

  66. Can we get a status report on the AQ library and archives? I appraised it for Kaye durnell and greg perigo sept 2012 and have heard rumors of its disposition. Would like the straight dope.

  67. I attribute most of my love (and knowledge) of cars to my father, and to the entire collection of AQs that slowly grew in our home as I grew up in the late seventies and through the eighties. He subscribed when he was still in high school and was a subscriber from issue #1-1. Sure, he’s out the money for the six issues he paid for but didn’t get at the end, but much more than 150 bucks, there will be no more issues to add to the shelf. We’re in no position to do anything about AQs demise, we aren’t potential buyers, we aren’t in the publishing business.

    As I’ve constantly heard about the ‘real car guys’ getting older and older, that there are fewer and fewer of the younger generations stepping up in the car hobby, I’ve thought about what I could do. I decided to act and follow my passion. Last year I quit my relatively comfortable full time job as an internet sales manager at a franchised Mercedes-Benz dealership to join a ‘real car guy’ at the SL Market Letter, a small print publication specializing in all collectible Mercedes-Benz cars (NOT just SLs). To learn from a master and to carry the torch of that publication forward, to ensure this little publication doesn’t go the way of AQ and so many other specialty car publications.

    I believe that by tweaking these old models, engaging the younger enthusiasts that are out there, there is a place for such niche publications, in print, and on the web.

  68. Dave… thanks so much for the comments. Niche publications should continue to do well in the face of online competition so I suspect you’ve got some traction left with SL Market Letter. Still, lower cost online alternatives combined with high sub acquisition costs plus printing and fulfillment expenditures put print mags at an immediate disadvantage. Establish an active online presence on Facebook (and in the interests of self-promotion, my own social media project at Pixacar!) to help boost readership and attract paid advertising. Give readers info they can’t get anywhere else and you’ll be providing a service no one else can. Good luck!

  69. Mark, we can both think of several automotive archives that would certainly benefit from the presence of the impressive AQ archives. I, too, would like to know what is happening.

  70. I have tracked down the subscription service that handled Automobile Quarterly which may be of interest. McMillen Communications located at 12829 Trinity Dr., Stafford, Texas 77477. Phone number 832-886-1120, website is mcmillencomm.com. (after I compose this I found the current mailing address in the last issue sent, so maybe some of you have already figured this out)

    I spoke to them an they have “no comment” other than they were left in dark also and are owed money. Frankly I find it hard to believe since for over a year prior to the 800 number going down for subscriptions, they must have receive hundreds of complaints that their subscriptions were not received.

    I am owed, luckily, just a few copies unreceived but from the comments have read, significant amounts of monies are owed. I do not know if McMillen is responsible for returning the money but it certainly would not hurt to contact both the Texas and Indiana State Attorney Generals. From what I did gather, McMillen still has the records of who sent in money which could be useful. In Texas you have two years to file a lawsuit.

  71. Bernard, thanks so much for the detective work!

  72. Perhaps it is for the best that AQ died with Gerry Durnell. Truth is, it had been in a state of decline for several years. Some might say that the advent of paid advertising was the turning point, but that didn’t bother me. If anything, I was surprised that they’d been able to get by without that additional revenue for as long as they did. What raised my blood pressure was when they started including excerpts from the magnificent E.L. Cord book authored by Griffith Borgeson. Here they were, virtually giving away substantial parts of that book. Why? Couldn’t they find sufficient new material to occupy those pages? The text was unchanged, and many of the original photos were also reproduced unchanged, and to their credit, the layout was revised and they did included some photos and illustrations that were not in the book. Okay, no big deal, but several of the photos were obviously “flopped” to present, quite obviously in the editor’s opinion, a more pleasing presentation. This resulted in steering wheels, superchargers and outside exhaust pipes being moved to the wrong side of the car, something that would NEVER have happened under L. Scott Bailey’s watch. This was adding insult to injury. But was it also a “red flag” marking the beginning of a downward spiral of overall quality? Time would tell. (Unfortunately, it was.) Then, in Vol. 46, #4 we found out “why” with the announcement of the publication of a new, no-frills “affordable” edition of the E.L. Cord book at “only” $195. As a pre-publication purchaser (copy #506) of that lavish and extremely expensive tone($400 by the time it arrived at your door), I had accepted at face value the pledge of the then-owners that there would be one and one only printing, after which the plates would be destroyed, with the actual destruction witnessed by a disinterested third party (an official of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania) who would testify to their destruction, thus ensuring there could never be subsequent printings. How could this be possible if the plates had in fact been destroyed? Well, I suppose scanning technology has progressed sufficiently to produce virtually undetectable copies of the original pages, and as a subsequent owner of AQ and all its assets, Gerry Durnell may not have been legally bound by promises made by the previous owners, but how else to interpret this as anything other than a slap in the face? The assertion that the original edition has maintained its value in excess of $1,000 is nonsense. There are currently five copies available on one of the internet’s better known used book seller sites and only one of them has an asking price approaching that figure. The others can be purchased for substantially less, and considering thirty years inflation, not much more than the original price. At least they haven’t depreciated.

    Then there is the thoroughly botched Sixth Edition of the Cadillac book timed to coincide with Cadillac’s centenary. Despite its oversized, two-volume slipcased format, it is so poorly done, and so full of errors that it is virtually worthless as a reference and unworthy of association with AQ’s previous reputation for excellence. See my review at Amazon.com for specifics.

    Lest anyone think I’m just an old curmugeon with an ax to grind, I’ll just add that my AQ subscription began when my mother gave me my first year’s worth for Christmas in 1968. I had known of the magazine for several years prior, but the cost of a subscription was a luxury I felt I couldn’t afford as a high school student who was working hard and saving as much as possible for college. Over the next few years I was able to acquire the back issues I needed to complete my run, and they have always occupied a position of prominence in my library. I, too, looked forward with anticipation to each new issue (despite their “warts” in the final years, which always made me grit my teeth, but I’d come to expect them as a fact of life. I much preferred AQ with a few warts than not at all.) I usually purchased their marque histories as soon as they were announced, and have most of them, including several editions of the Cadillac book. I, too, am very sorry to see AQ go. When I learned of it, through this site, I felt as though I just been informed of the unexpected death of a close friend; deeply saddened and disappointed that, as with all good things in life, it had come to an end. It was a hell of a ride and my own life has been made all the richer for it.

    Incidentally, the entire run requires exactly thirteen feet of shelf space. How’s that for an interesting factoid?

  73. Mark… love your comments and insights regarding the EL Cord book, a copy of which I frequently peruse. Several of my AQ issues contain embossed lettering in my father’s name (one copy is this post’s image) made possible by a princely upcharge of something like five bucks!

  74. Too many subscriptions to keep track of suppose, just noticed today that I hadn’t received an AQ issue since last delivery on Dec.21,2012. I really do feel victimized after subscribing continuously for over thirty years and now having to forfeit the remainder of my paid issues,totalling seven. Exp: Vol.53, No.4
    What gall exhibited by soliciting further subscribers, why isn’t this afrontry being curtailed and punished? I wholeheartedly agree with John, Jan.5 above;

    ” By my understanding, these are fairly well off people we are talking about. The Durnells are not bankrupt; one of their many businesses is.
    Isn’t it a fine “thank you” to those who have supported AQ for decades to be out a significant amount of money, when the Durnells could simply make good by allowing us to ‘buy’ some of their now-dead inventory?

  75. Mark Dwyer’s comments are right on target! I’m also a baby boomer, and I first subscribed in 1966 at the age of 15! What a luxury to have such a fine book with your very own name embossed on it! Over the years I picked up all the back issues, and I have been a loyal subscriber until the end. I treasure my full run, along with my complete collection of Special Interest Autos. Sadly, many of the pioneer historians are gone now, but the quality of their research lives on. I’m at the point in my life where the money lost in my subscription is irrelevant now, and I hope all the past efforts will go forward to perhaps engage future generations. Back issuea and full runs will never be a great investment, and like all the Franklin Mint and Danbury Mint models, supply will always exceed the demand. But this is a good thing, and I hope future generations will perhaps benefit!

  76. Oops! Correction to my AQ factoid: The entire run requires exactly NINE feet of shelf space, not thirteen. That is for the magazines themselves only. If you have the various indexes, then you’ll need a couple extra inches, at most, to display everything all together.

    Since I’m here, I’ll add a few more thoughts on the E.L. Cord book: This was to be the automotive history publishing equivalent of the Duesenberg Model J; “The World’s Finest”, outrageously outsized and expensive, using only the very best materials and produced to the very highest quality standards humanly possible; cost be damned. Original estimates indicated a potential worldwide market for the book (to be priced at about three hundred fifty 1980 U.S. dollars, when inflation was running rampant in the U.S. economy) to be in the neighborhood of 2000 copies. Accordingly, the number initially planned for was 1990, but when pre-publication reservations saw that number quickly and completely subscribed, the number was adjusted upward to what seemed to be a fully justifiable 2500. The much ballyhooed promise of the destruction of the printing plates following completion of the print run probably influenced more than just a few “fence sitters” to take the plunge and reserve a copy, believing, as they were promised, this would be their one and only chance to do so. In my case, I considered that a “plus”, but not a “go/no go” decision maker. I’d have purchased it anyway. The book’s formal announcement was in 1981. The Certificate of Reservation I received, informing me that copy no. 0506 was reserved in my name, was postmarked 5 June 1981. At that time, full information about contents, price, and publication date were undetermined. It would prove to be another THREE full years before I received notification that the price had been set at $395 and it was now time to redeem or relinquish my reservation. I had set $400 aside at the time I reserved my copy, so I was “good to go”. However, in that quite long time many other reservation holders became impatient, experienced life changes that put such a luxury book purchase beyond the pale, or for some other reason decided not to follow through on their no obligation reservation. The initial market proved to be saturated at several hundred copies shy of 2500. It ended up taking several additional YEARS of slow sales for all copies to eventually be sold; ironically much like the real Model J itself. To Scott Bailey’s credit, the book was never officially discounted, but as inventory stagnated in the warehouse month after month, it seems likely that the last few copies were possibly very quietly disposed of at some discreet discount.

    Some time after the book had been shipped, we original purchasers received a follow up notification that, as promised, the printing plates had been destroyed, that this was officially witnessed by an official of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (AQ was then located in Kutztown, which I drove though frequently on my way between home and college), and that an affidavit to that effect was available for those who wished a copy. The eventual appearance of the “no frills, affordable edition” some twenty years later, purportedly to be equal to the original in size, with no compromises in quality except for the substitution of cloth for the top quality leather binding and the elimination of gilt page edging, was baffling. How could this be possible at half the original price if the original edition’s printing plates had in fact been destroyed? There was a lot of expensive color printing involved, no matter how you cut it. I speculated somewhat tongue in cheek that perhaps cutting edge scanning technology was involved, and that may have been the case for a few pages, but I’ve had the opportunity to compare both editions. They are virtually indistinguishable. The cynic in me believes the true story to be somewhat along these lines, and I emphasize, this is purely speculation on my part and is in no way intended to besmirch the character of anyone, living or dead: the destruction of some few plates were indeed carried out and witnessed as promised, but seriously folks, do you think a government official would be content to stand around as long as it would take to completely destroy nearly three hundred printing plates? I don’t either. I tend to think the decision had long been made that once the “govamint” official was on his or her way after witnessing the destruction of a few select plates and being assured that all of them would be promptly destroyed in turn, even though that would take “a while”, the remainder of the plates would be quickly and quietly moved to proper long-term storage, “just in case”, their continued existence being a closely guarded secret. Again, this is purely cynical speculation on my part, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the plates that were destroyed and so witnessed and attested to were actually “seconds” with minor imperfections, or spares (if such exist), or perhaps even deliberate substitutes. How would a busy official know the difference? And with such an enormous capital outlay involved in the production of this very limited edition book, wouldn’t their quiet preservation be justified by the distinct possibility of renewed demand at some future date once the original, now out-of-print edition had escalated in value as anticipated? And if in fact that did occur, why would any original purchaser object to the availability of a newer, lower cost edition? After all, one could never be confused for the other. As I stated in my original post, what with the changes of ownership of AQ and its assets in the ensuing years, would there be any legal obligation on a subsequent owner to honor a previous owner’s promise? After all, an asset is an asset only if it is properly utilized. It’s always easier to beg forgiveness than ask permission, especially when it involves a strictly business decision.

    If I’m wrong about this, then I hope someone can explain to my satisfaction how two different editions of a book, any book, but especially a hugely oversized one involving great quantities of expensive full page color photography, can be virtually indistinguishable, especially when they are printed more than two decades apart, unless they were both printed on the same set of properly preserved plates. How else could this be done with the newer edition selling for half the cost of the original, not considering inflation? Have the costs involved in high quality color printing come down that much (if at all)? Isn’t a bit of cynicism understandable?

    With the demise of AQ, this second “affordable” edition is no longer available from the publisher and seems to be escalating in value on its own, even more rapidly than the original and well beyond the “affordable” category. If you insist on acquiring a new copy, you can still get one through that well-known online purveyor of books and other merchandise who shall remain unnamed, and it will set you back $500. A little diligent searching of other sites will get you an original in good condition for not much more than that. You pays your money and takes your choice. By the way, it is a fabulous book; without equal in either edition.

  77. January 27, 2014
    I have been really busy and just a few days ago, realized that I had not received 52-2. I have everything from 1-1 to 52-1. Researched check book and had sent renewal on 7-1-12. I just found this Post, thanks for all who wrote with info. Sad story!

  78. One of the most anticipated arrivals every three months. Broken hearted. I purchased the very first issue in 1959 I believe and through hard times and scant funds, kept the AQ account going and I now have a 25′ + book case of most of the issues. Some water stained, some missing to two sons who borrow one or two occasionally, but it remains a pleasurable winters evening perusing through the back issues. No offers please, I’m passing them down to my granddaughter.

  79. I mentioned to my husband recently that I had not seen him receive a copy of Automobile Quarterly, something that can be said as a balance to my quilting. As I have read in this blog, he is one of the subscribers in his 70′s. and hadn’t been looking out for this wonderful book. He is now paid through vol. 57 #1, well over $200 which they accepted in May 2011. I went to their website (still active) and put in his account number with no luck. I then sent an e-mail stating our concerns and was pleased to get an e-mail back the next day stating that I should contact customer service and as everyone knows that number is out of service or other numbers say not a correct number. I looked up Automobile Quarterly on Wikipedia and the last owner after Durnell’s death appears to be Centennial Publishing. But alas when I contacted them the recording was Centennial Bindery but I was able to get to a human who said she would have someone contact me that might be able to give me some information. That their website is still active is somewhat fraudulent and the next step will be Indiana Attorney General. Thanks for giving me a site to vent.

  80. Much of the AQ website is probably on “auto pilot” so it looks like it is still active. If there are no employees to available to physically remove the site from a server, then it could go on indefinitely (or until the server shuts down).

    As far as my subscription goes, I disputed the charge with AMEX and got a full refund in August 2013. If you paid with a credit card, try doing the same.

    Jason

  81. I can’t believe they took my money and ran. No wonder they were offering a free hat and half off the subscription price!

  82. Hey Ed…did you get the hat?

  83. Chris, did you ever hear back from Centennial Bindery and what did they say? Gene

  84. ….one of the reasons for falling subscriptions and the lack of new, younger car guys is price! We oysters 70+ are pricing them out of the market. Watch a Mecum Auction (or other) on Velocity channel and notice that 65-year old guys are selling to 70year old guys for “one last run”…..and the prices are ridiculous unless you are the seller.

    Doesn’t seem to be any method for letting the young guys in….but I wonder what will happen to the cars when all the Baby Boomers are dead and the cars are sitting on flat tires in moss covered garages. The Green Generations are happy that the smoking gas-guzzlers are finally gone….a sad end to the Great Car Culture….perhaps reminescent of the passing of the Great Plains Horse Culture in the 1800′s.

  85. As a gift for my husband on our first anniversary I bought a subscription of AQ for him. We will celebrate our 54th this year. His collection includes 1-1-1962 thru 52-1. We are so sorry that this wonderful publication is no longer with us to brighten his day. He will soon be 81 and I am 77.

  86. My Vol 23 No. 2 has been damaged….but all the replacement copies I see have a blue cover….my original has a yellow cover.

    Any ideas…tips….real knowledge?

    Thanks,
    KP

  87. Although it appears that AQ is now defunct, I still find my complete collection a valuable research tool. Was there ever an Index offered for any Volumes after 40? I am toying with the idea of assembling an Index for the 41/1-52/1 and offering it on a disc to long-time subscribers and collectors, but I suspect that I’d be running afoul of copyright laws…unless there was no mention of AQ in the title or contents.

    If the owners object, they might have to concede that the company stikll exists legally, thus opening themselves to consumer complaints for not filling pre-paid orders. Any good attorneys in the subscriber community who might comment?

  88. Years ago, Angelo Anselmi produced printed indeces of Road & Track, Sports Car Graphic, and several other magazines from about 1949 forward. Don’t think you’d get into any copyright issues just for mentioning name, article title, author, volume, and issue–only if you reproduced content. Then again, AQ may have only bought one-time use rights, so with the creators permission you could reprint content, too. No sense doing that, though, when back issues are readily available for peanuts…

  89. Sad. My late father was a charter subscriber in 1962. I inherited his collection just before his death in 1995 and maintained the subscription until, obviously, now. So I have Volume 1 #1 through Volume 52 #1.

    Sad news, indeed.

  90. @Keith Pulver: I just checked my original Vol 23, #1 (Second Quarter, 1985) and it is a blue cover. Vol 23, #4 (Fourth Quarter, 1985) is yellow (actually, mustard yellow), and not nearly as yellow as both Vol 27, #4 (Fourth Quarter, 1989) and Vol 28, #3 (Third Quarter, 1990).

  91. Terrible loss to the classic car community. I have the complete set and refer to it regularly. Maybe we could get Jay Leno to buy the company now that he’s retired.

  92. I was on the AQ staff in what I still think of as its Golden Age, under Don Vorderman and Beverly Rae Kimes. My son, co-founder of Artillery.com, began his career at Google. In auto writing, AQ experience in those days was like Google experience among code-writers now. A vast change has occurred—not only in the ubiquity of the Internet but in the way people read.

    Nicholas Carr in ‘The Atlantic’ (Jul-Aug 2008 ) recently asked, “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” He quoted Bruce Friedman, a blogger on computers in medicine, whose thinking, Friedman admitted, has taken on a “staccato” quality, reflecting the way he scans short passages online: “I can’t read ‘War and Peace’ anymore. I’ve lost the ability to do that. Even a blog post of more than three or four paragraphs is too much to absorb. I skim it.”

    Alas AQ. We knew it when.

  93. Reminds me when the old guard protested allowing calculators during student exams. Today, we read in bursts because new formats promote scanning over reading. Hey, it just works!

  94. This is sad news, indeed. I purchased many decades of back issues from James Keeler (ex rel Revell), a close friend, and then have sporadically maintained my collection since then. I will certainly now fill in the missing issues.

    Of particular sadness is that Scott Bailey’s dream has perished, and not along after his demise. I corresponded with his wife, near the end of his life (thanks, Charlie, for the contact info), and found them both to be very engaging.

    Now, someone needs to find and restore Scott’s rebodied Mustang built by the Italian carrozzeria, Bertone. This car was reportedly stolen in the late Sixties and not seen since, apparently.

    Very sad news.

  95. I have the complete set through Volume 34. One through 34. My husband was an auto dealer. Does anyone wish to give me an offer on purchasing all of these books? They are in good condition (first few) and excellent condition the rest. All but a couple have the binders. (Four per volume). Would love to sell these since nobody in our family is interested in them and I’d like to give the money to my grandson for his college fund. These are such precious books, I do not wish to separate them if at all possible. You can email me at jlburt1075@charter.net if you are interested.

  96. Sad, very sad news, after many attempts to get informations, having pre-payed orders.
    Worst news, for the behavior of the property. At least print a last, “departure” copy…
    As 80 years old owner of the whole set, I am very grieved.
    Good-bye, beautiful AQ!

  97. I am also nearly 80 and have all the issues from Vol 1 #1 to 52 #1 Also have all the indexes except for Vol 45 to 50, which they never published. All the phone numbers given are not working numbers. They owe me 3 years which I guess I will never see. Maybe a class action law suit is in order to get our money refunded. I took a lot of pride in having all the issues like, I have all the issues of Motor Trend Magazine from Vol 1 #1 1949 to present.

  98. Well I too miss it, and treasure my collection, but for one missing book. For some reason, with hindsight I guess it was already falling apart, but I never did receive Vol 51 #4. I received Vol 52 #1 and then of course nothing with money still owed, but does anyone know where I can get the missing book? Of course if AQ wanted to honor part of my outstanding subscription they could send one, but I doubt there is anyone left there to do so, and I sure am not going to try to buy a back issue from them while they owe me, but any other ideas where I might find it? Any help, email me at;
    ckmart@bigpond.net.au
    Thanks
    Chris

  99. Having subscribed since 1974, I too was deeply saddened by the loss of a good friend, AQ. Always able to pick a random issue from the shelf and thoroughly enjoy, from cover to cover, an issue read once, twice, or five times in the past. The books were just that good. Never in 40 years was there a hint of disappointment with any article or photo spread. Putting the book down after an hour or so left nothing but a smile on my face and the disappearance of anything that was getting me down. The loss of this wonderful publication will be missed by all of the thousands of loyal subscribers and casual readers alike. I for one will remember AQ for what it was for the last 40 years and what it will be, God willing, for many more years to come. For all of you who look to sell after so many years, please rethink that idea. And for those who are worried about a few dollars lost on pre-paid orders you have my sympathy.
    Thank you AQ for all of the marvelous years!

  100. I have a paid up subscription running through Vol. 54 No. 1. I never did get the A.Q. 50th anniversary cap! Sorry to see this publication go! Since I am now 72, I have a complete set of A.Q. from Vol. 1 through volume 52 No 1 plus various indices. Please contact me at laburrows@aol.com if you are interested. They are in excellent shape but are taking up four shelves in my bookcases. I worked in the automotive industry(American Motors)for 13+ years with very close knowledge of those vehicles, but no longer have the desire to keep the books.
    Lynn Burrows

  101. I sit and read these comments, both those with disgust and those with the highest respect, and a range in between. As the art director for the last nine years, it was a pleasure, a privilege and a responsibility I never took lightly in designing them. There were several before me and I never wanted to be the last. But I wasn’t an owner, but can tell you there was a sincere effort to keep it going by some and taken advantage of by others.

    I am saddened several lost money including the last owner who lost the most. AQ without traditional advertising grew impossible. The last issue was 52-2 but never printed. I am sorry for your loss by those who miss it and truly appreciated it. Sorry for any typos along the way, we did have a limited staff and worked hard at it, and we hated any errors more than anyone. It was an honor to be a part of it as it was created for those with your honest passion.

    Will it ever see daylight again? It was on the verge of being printed in Chicago, as my own personal mission for it to be in the US, but who knows. If so, it will be with brand new ownership.

    Thanks for your loyalty, I wish I was in the position to do more.

  102. Thanks for your thoughts, Frank. I meant to chat with you at the LA Lit Show – Sorry! Still haven’t heard from anyone who knows if there was an Index for Volumes 41 forward. The idea of composing an index for that group of issues remains tantalizing, and a good way to spend my idle retirement hours.

    To Dan Bulleit – Thanks also for your efforts, as ill-fated as they may have been. A key question as to whether there are any assets for a potential new owner to acquire is whether assets such as the archives remain in the hands of the Durrell family?

  103. It is indeed sad that we lost an icon when Automobile Quarterly stopping publication plus I feel for those people that worked very hard to keep it going. Ever since I was a teenager, I loved cars(even built my own hot rod). During the time I was with American Motors, I also made many business trips to Detroit in dealing with various suppliers. I was on Woodard many times and also stayed at various motels on both 8 mile and 15 mile roads in Detroit. Over the course of my 72 years, I have enjoyed reading A.Q. many times.
    I also used to do the knuckle-busting, wrench twisting work on my vehicles but now don’t even changed my own oil!(The front spoilers on the newer models won’t allow you to run them up a car ramp!). That is why now I am offing my entire collection of A.Q. to someone that would take care of it and appreciate it! laburrows@aol.com

  104. Let me add my complaint to the others concerning Automobile Quarterly taking my money, I mean stealing it, when it’s now apparent that they had/have no intention of delivering the issues I paid for. Issue 52-1 was the last I received and now I read here about a “Hershey” issue. Why wasn’t that sent out to those of us who sent in our $80.00? By the way I’m below the 70 year old average reader threshold and I thought the magazine was well worth the $20.00 per issue price. I still would if the four issues I paid for had been published and mailed. I have e-mailed twice and attempted to call their contact number several times and left voice messages, but have not received any reply. Now I know why. I don’t blame Gerry Durnell, but one has to wonder about his heirs and executor. Shameful way to treat loyal subscribers. My first issue was number 12-3.

  105. Those of us who are out hundreds of dollars in the AQ debacle ought to get a big kick out of this:

    http://archive.courier-journal.com/article/20130726/FEATURES04/307260114/fashion-style-shopping

    From last July, here’s an article about and a video interview with Gerry Durnell’s widow, as she tells us all about her favorite designer clothes and riding boots.

    It looks like our money is being put to fine use by an upstanding member of Louisville High Society.

    See you at the Derby, Kaye!

    .

  106. John, I posted with sadness about the demise of AQ some months ago. I am one of those who is owed a couple of years on my subscription. The fashion video of the apparent widow makes me very sour. It is almost like a parody. Jeff

  107. It is sad to see a few folks writing on here that they would now prefer to sell their entire collections of AQ and I wonder why that is.
    The content and the good work put in over the last fifty years has not changed, and they are still an endless source of reference in my library; just because of what has happened now does not change that.
    Also it occurs to me that if a few people are all trying to dispose of entire runs of AQ at the same time, they will only drive down whatever monetary value they think they had, so that copies will be selling for just a dollar or two; all the more reason to rethink and decide to keep them.
    We can all hope there is a new revived AQ one day; it seems as if there are little or no assets worth bargaining for, but it would be worth saving the name if there is an editorial team capable of doing it justice.
    We can but hope.
    As for the widow Durnell, it has long been the case that when a business goes under the personal assets of the directors remain healthy and are even flaunted – this case is no different, and whatever one may feel about her lifestyle will not bring back AQ.

  108. Gee, it’s ever so comforting to know that Gerry’s stylish widow is still able to live in the style to which she had become accustomed, but don’t throw away those AQ back issues. Over the past few months I’ve noticed an upward trend in their prices. AQ’s longtime policy of reprinting all old issues has ceased, so supply is down, yet demand is up, especially for recent issues. Some are listed on Amazon with prices north of $50!

    Frank

  109. Just found this thread when I decided to see if I could find any information about AQ. Was afraid it’d gone under, especially since the last issues had really seen a decline in editorial content. Started subscribing in the early 70s when they gave a deal to members of the International Association of Automotive Modelers and had picked up the previous issues I’d missed over the years. Oh well, guess it goes with the passing of some of the others such as SIA, Car Collector, National Speed & Sports News, etc.

  110. Peter, The archives as of this date do remain with the owner. There is still an effort to find a new home.

  111. Since I subscribed (renewed) and haven’t received any more issues (51 #4, and 52 #1), if a new home is found and publishing resumes, will I be forwarded those missing issues? If this does not happen, I still would like to have like new copies. I wish them the best at finding a new home.

  112. Having worked as an A-Q Research Consultant with L. Scott Bailey in 1970, I am convinced that Scott’s grave has been the site of many ‘revolutions.’ The current news is disgraceful, as it undermines the fine work done by Mr. Bailey.

  113. Does anyone know where the back issues are? I was in the basement (or ground floor) of the New Albany building a few years ago and there was a substantial number of back issues there.

  114. The AQ website is finally down, the IPS bill must have come due.

  115. I wanted to get ahold of Anthony H Youngs. I see he posted here a year ago. He wrote an article on the cheetah in the early 80′s. That car belongs to my friend Sam Goins. His car is going to be at road America for the Cheetahs 50th anniversary. I though mr. Youngs might like to be there to write a follow up. The event is July 17-20, 2014
    Thanks for any help. Any interest in the cheetah can be directed at me. 216-244-0338

  116. … speaking of Cheetah, I know of one for sale! Please contact me for details: eric@carpubinsider.com

  117. I’m so sorry to see AQ come to an end! My Dad was a charter subscriber in 1962 and I have memories growing up of him always having copies around and showing me pictures and articles of interest. When he passed in 1999 I took over his subscription and replaced his gold inlay name with mine. I have every copy and had hoped to have my son take it over some day.(He’s also a car nut.)
    It was a good run! I will miss them!

  118. With all the speculation about AQ here, it seems like someone should inquire with Kaye Bowles-Durnell about what is actually going on. A quick net search shows her contact address to be 393 Mockingbird Valley Rd., Louisville, KY 40207 and phone at 502-897-5194.

  119. I subscribed for issue #1, Volume 1 and continued through Volume 52,#4 (the last three of which were never received. Several years ago I replaced the one volume I had lost. So my son can have the complete set. (His name is already on the 57 Corvette)

    Sorry to see it end.

  120. Just hit this forum. I, too, would love to see AQ re-energize, in a fresh and energetic fashion. I once was part of Gerry’s dream, and would absolutely love to take it on again. It takes capital investment and someone (or a group) with enough enthusiasm and love of what AQ represented to see it through. Greg knows how to reach me, as do others in the know. There was a synergy that can very well be reinvigorated, given the right people at the helm. Long live the classics!

  121. Every single one of us on this forum would love to have AQ return to life.

    However, given the way we loyal subscribers have been treated over the last couple of years, how many of us would trust the Durnells with our subscription money again?

    I am owed a couple of hundred dollars worth of issues. I have had ZERO contact from any of the remaining Durnells about the fate of this magazine, not even a ‘suspending publication’ letter. I learned about the demise of AQ from this forum.

    How about a refund for those unmailed issues? How about a merchandise credit for that money? I’d gladly take some AQ books or back issues as a fair settlement. Instead, the Durnells are letting those publications rot away in their warehouse.

    If they plan on dumping them on the remainder market, they might be shocked to find out that they’ll get mere pennies on the dollar. Those physical goods, dumped as remainders, are not their biggest asset.

    No, the biggest asset the Durnells have is the loyal AQ subscriber base. Unfortunately, they have done much to lose our trust over the last couple of years.

    Honestly…WOULD you send them money again?

    By trashing the AQ subscriber base, the Durnells are trashing the AQ brand.

    I fully agree with Bert Eisenhour’s comments from June 2nd on this forum: “The current news is disgraceful, as it undermines the fine work done by Mr. (Scott) Bailey.”

    .

  122. I am truly sorry to read about the demise of AQ. I have known for a while that something was missing from my life, but only realized that I hadn’t seen a new issue within the last few weeks. I was a charter subscriber, having signed on using money from my newspaper route as a high school sophomore in late 1961, receiving my first issue, vol 1, number 1, in the spring of 1962. The original annual rate was $21 in the US and Canada, although if I remember correctly, the charter rate was only $15, I think! It seems somehow fitting that the last issue, 52-1, was actually the end of a fifty year affair as the “Spring” 2012 issue. I will miss it.

    It is a shame that the company was so closely held, without any apparent stockholders or partners to maintain a going concern. The situation is very similar to what happens to small family businesses and farms and ranches every day in this country when the owner dies and no one is left to carry on. Some really, really deep pockets would have been required to take over, and obviously were not available. I will chalk up my unfulfilled subscription to “LIFE”. I have certainly wasted far more money on less worthy ventures in my life! RIP AQ.

  123. i just discover all this correspondance about the defunct AQ.
    I am just as desappointed as all of you! It has been such a source of pleasure and research for me as modelmaker of antique automobiles. Well, cars really started to work in France after the great race Paris-Bordeaux-Paris in 1895 won by a Panhard powered by a Phénix engine – second generation of Daimler’s engine – but many American pioneers have brought a lot to it, especially in steam and electric power. I have developped all this in miniatures, from 1850 on, it can be seen at http://www.rami-by-jmk.

  124. The exact address : http://www.rami-by-jmk.wifeo.com
    For those who don’t know it yet, for real old car fanatics, there is an excellent english monthly called THE AUTOMOBILE, alyhough less luxurious than AQ but extremely well documented… alas, one has to learn to turn the page!

  125. I too, was a long-term subscriber to AQ and had recently renewed in late 2012. I feel very fortunate that I was given an opportunity to contribute an article for issue 48-2. Tracy Powell (posting above) did a fantastic job editing my story to make it fit for publication! Long live the spirit of Automobile Quarterly!

  126. wouldn’t it be a dream come true if a car guy like JAY LENO would revive this fine publication!

  127. I think it’s all over for AQ. The demographics have changed, and most of the compelling articles and interesting cars have been well covered. I take great pleasure in my large automobile library which I have built up over the past 50 years ,including all the AQ’s, and it is my hope that some of the future generation will also value the efforts of many great authors now gone.

  128. Finally got my collection out of storage, and called to order the few issues I’d missed (50#3, 51#2&3, 52#2 on). Only when I found that the line wash disconnected did I discover this site. I would like to purchase the issues that I have missed, if anyone wants to sell them, as I have all issues from volume 1#1 to the end. I will miss this great publication.

  129. Pardon me for the interruption to this post, but I know someone with 40,000 new in box books from various years. Would any of you have any interest in buying them? Or know someone who would?

  130. I have been emailing AQ for months and now realize why I have had no replies. I had not looked at these comments before. I am mortified. I have every single volume since No 1 – No 52-1. No one had notified me that things were going bad, reading these comments no bloody wonder, Mrs Durnell should be ashamed of herself. I am in Australia and only last year sent enough monies for the next 2 years. My grandchildren read them all, they love classic cars they are not over 70.Their are many Australians who collected these wonderful books> I am sure Mr Durnell is turning his grave.

  131. OK, so I am over 70 and have a complete AQ collection. Part of my bucket list was to read all of them. I just finished year 50 and realized I don’t have anything beyond 52 #1. A bit of internet searching brought me to this blog. I am truly disappointed in the demise of AQ. Can’t remember just how many more issues I paid for. My wife may be pleased however. She bought me a beautiful cherry bookcase a few years ago that holds my collection. It is almost full. I hope my grandson will appreciate these books after I am gone.

  132. Damn – knew something was up when i realized 52-1 was my latest issue while moving my AQs. Been a subscriber since #1. Shame. Have to check if I paid for any beyond 52. Bummer.

  133. I sent in a check for 3 more years in February 2012. Got one issue, 52 #1 so I figure I am out about $200. Has anyone considered a class action suit against the Durnells?

  134. I have the complete set with indices that I bought for my husband, George Beck, faithfully each year. I too, paid for the 52 series and couldn’t find anything on it as I searched. I give thanks that my husband died just before the 52#2 was to be mailed. I just learned about the magazine’s demise and the grand theft of the money for all those paid subscriptions through this website. I now have the responsibility to find a home for them where they will be valued and appreciated as they should be before I leave this earth too. What a tragic loss. How can our grandchildren ever know the beauty and quality offered in these early publications?

  135. As the last AQ Art Director and designer for 9 years, I occasionally come back here to see the input. It never fails that I leave here sickened. I see Tracy Powell (former managing editor) responded above. Both of us along with so many subscribers had great ideas how to re-start AQ. The financial timing didn’t work and was derailed by several “wolves” in the end claiming to be a savior. It is really amazing how when an opportunity arrises, it is pounced on so quickly by some whose silent intentions are primarily selfish and undermining what needed to be the best efforts. I never met Scott Bailey, but would have loved to. I’m not sure anyone really emulated his spirit afterward. We did put together some great issues in some challenging odds but weren’t without our own mistakes. That last issue still on my computer that you never saw paid a tribute to Mr Bailey. It was just 3 days from going to the printer. I wish both a digital version and print version could be revived . We had plans to do so. A few of us spent thousands of hours on this publication, many overtime. In my opinion it could have gone on with advertising, the old model lost money and finally caught up with it. In reality it could have been shut down 2 years earlier. Many likely candidates have been contacted, from what I know, no one has been willing to take it on as of yet. If I ever hear of news I will pass it on, and if it comes back, it will be in different hands, that is certain for whatever you think of the previous owners. There are complications as you can imagine to resume it. If it started from a clean slate it may be different. There are always more automobile stories! Tracy and I would both like to resume it given the chance.

  136. The average age of a Classic Car Club (CCCA) member is 76. Any questions?!

  137. Note that Bonham’s sold what was described as a complete set of AQs at its 2014 Quail auction for an astounding $4000…certainly more than a full set would bring at retail, but it suggests that there are interested people out there willing to pay for what they want. I’d suggest that 200 volumes at an average of $10 apiece in good condition should be worth $2k…

    BTW, does anyone know the paid subscriber base at the end?

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