Hot Rod is the oldest magazine devoted to hot rodding having been published since 1948. Robert E. Petersen founded the magazine and his Petersen Publishing Company was the original publisher. The first editor of Hot Rod was Wally Parks, who went on to found the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA). Petersen Publishing was sold to British publisher EMAP in 1998, who then sold the former Petersen magazines to Primedia in 2001. Today it is published by TEN: The Enthusiast Network, which purchased the magazine From Source Interlink in 2014. Source Interlink acquired the magazine along with Primedia's Consumer Magazine division in 2007.
Hot Rod has licensed affiliation with Universal Technical Institute.
The "Hot Rod Power Tour" is an organized tour where hot rodders drive a pre-planned route throughout the United States. It began in 1995 when Hot Rod staff members decided to take some of their project cars on a cross-country drive from Los Angeles, California to Norwalk, Ohio. Thousands of people participated along the way but only seven participants (other than staff members) made the entire journey and were inducted into the original "Long Hauler Gang". Since its inception, this event has continued to gain in popularity and is now one of the most anticipated automotive events each year. It is typically six to eight days in length and held in late May or early June. In recent years, the tour has evolved to become what is essentially a continuous trek around the United States in that it begins in or near the location that it ended in the previous year. Each stop is combined with events or activities that vary as much as the participants themselves.