Wheels Magazine celebrates 70th anniversary

By Ruby Derrick | 22 May 2023
Christian Clark.

Wheels Magazine is celebrating its 70th anniversary. 

For more than 70 years, Wheels has taken readers behind the scenes of the Australian automotive industry providing exclusive insights, news, and immersive stories. 

The anniversary will feature a three-issue month print and digital trilogy, celebrating the past, present and future of the automotive industry in Australia.  

Wheels Magazine CEO Christian Clark says the company made the decision to celebrate the anniversary with a trilogy to symbolise the significance of the 70 years.

“This is really the way that we can celebrate not just the past but also the present and what we think would be a great celebration for the future,” said Clark. 

“For 70 years Australians have clung to a source of information that's put a smile on their face. It's kept them up to date with not just what's going on in the industry - that's just a part of it.  

But looking for the most authoritative and interesting way that cars were being tested. And through a huge portion of those 70 years, it was the only singular source of information for you to find out about what new car to buy, what was coming up or if you should sell your car and consider buying a new one?  

The Past issue (on sale June 5) celebrates the cars that have illuminated Wheels across the ages. This special retrospective edition of the magazine sees a panel of experts assembled in order to settle one question. What’s the best car ever built?   

The Present issue (on sale July 3) will serve up a comprehensive guide to the best vehicles on sale right now in Australia. This edition is all about testing some of 2023’s most impressive models and pitching them directly against the current benchmarks in their respective key vehicle segments. 

In the Future Edition (on sale July 31), Wheels will reveal and predict the Next Big Things in Automotive.

Wheels will curate a collection of stories that showcase the boldest visions, the most promising advancements, an exclusive glimpse into the forthcoming vehicles that will redefine the driving experience and shape the future of mobility. 

Clark says Wheels has sourced all the information out there in an effort to make the most authoritative list of best cars that have ever “graced the shores”. 

Wheels Magazine

“Referring to the brands themselves, the cars that have been here, stayed left and are still here today.

"We've been able to tell this extraordinary, authoritative statement of what Wheels has been able to journey this with the manufacturers and what have been the best cars for people in Australia to buy over 70 years. 

This perspective became the catalyst for the magazine's July issue, which takes a look at how Wheels got to where it is today.  

Clark said that by using the list of 10,000 cars that they’ve tested, it’s helped them understand what the benchmark is now for today’s buyers, as well as what they’re calling a ‘report card’. 

“That report card enables the opportunity to sit back for a second and consider all things safety.  

How much are people using their cars today? What's the size of the carsAnd the cost of cars... the fact that the cost of cars has steadily risen in some instances and just held completely flat in others." 

It’s around the psychology of how brands are building a portfolio in Australia and how consumers are responding to that, says Clark. 

“We're actually going to confer back on our 60s, 50s and 40th anniversaries to understand if we’re where we’d thought we’d be from the past to now. 

“The reality is, no we're not; no one knew that was the way we were going to go. It's a really definitive report card with the glorious photography that we've been stockpiling for the last six months of the most beautiful cars of today. 

The company made the decision to pivot from print to digital back in 2015. A website was established to provide the news of the day, rather then just the news of the month. 

This became the genesis of the digital experience for those that were looking to not be in the cycle of the monthly magazine, says Clark. 

It also allowed us to give access to a buying fraternity of people who are researching or looking for information, not just entertainment or enthusiast based content,” he said. 

“We created content that was far more accessible and we continue to create, adapt and actually curate a lot of the Wheels content for an online audience that may be interested in the magazine, but is largely coming to us as a destination for 'snackable', authoritative and interesting content. 

“The sort of content they can make a decision on and do something with.” 

The Wheels magazine has stuck to its roots in its online transference, meaning it’s targeted to a specific readership, not at a general audience, says Clark. 

Wheels Magazine

“For us, translating our DNA online means that we don't necessarily have the tolerance nor the willingness to do some of the click-bait sort of content that you see some of our competitors doing at the moment,” he said. 

In not chasing monetisation, Clark says Wheels’ purpose is not to deliver quick content – it's to tell larger, more in-depth and well-founded stories. 

“While a lot of our competitors just focus on what car to buy right now and at what price, we focus on what car to buy, and then what to do with that car, how to upgrade it and how to get the most out of ownership.” 

On the ad market for auto, Clark said it’s a challenging time, as a result of Covid product shortages and supply demands.  

“This coupled with the rise of interest rates, we're seeing brands intelligently look at how they're going to best spend their budgets over the next six to 12 months; and we support that,” said Clark. 

We would say though, that the time to be coy with how you motivate consumers to consider your brand, test your brand or test your car and ultimately buy, is not now. 

“Now's the time to build those foundations for when we come out of this more challenging time. 

Wheels Magazine reaches 207,000 automotive content hungry readers every month, with the 70th anniversary editions reaching both print and online audiences.

Wheels Media Group is offering special anniversary edition advertising packages to ensure brands are seen in print and on the Wheels section of the WhichCar website.   


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