WHO WE ARE
Passion. Credibility. Heritage. And a vision for the future. These are just a few of the defining features of Wheels, a brand launched in 1953, and one which has matured into one of Australia’s best-known motoring mastheads.
In the most simple terms, car enthusiasts trust Wheels, and with good reason – we’ve been doing this much longer than our competitors, and we remain the only media outlet where our loyal consumers fund our content. Think about that: our valuable editorial media space can’t be bought. This economic fundamental gives us an impartiality and independence that remains unique in the motoring media landscape, and further builds on the strength of our iconic masthead.
Back in the 1950s and into the ‘60s, the Wheels team were a bunch of earnest-looking young men, often bespectacled, usually wearing skinny ties, and almost always fastidiously carrying clipboards to record every objective metric of the cars of the day.
These days the dress code has relaxed, and iPads and laptops have replaced the clipboards, but that same passionate scrutiny continues when it comes to car assessment. This expertise delivers industry-best car tests and comparisons, and culminates annually in the Wheels Car of the Year award. Wheels COTY is the gong that remains the most sought-after and prestigious in the industry; one that’s also the longest continuously running motoring award in the world. When car companies win the Wheels Car of the Year trophy, they want the world – and their competitors – to know about it.
But great motoring journalism is about much more than accurate and independent car assessment. Consumers of our content buy magazines and visit our website to also be entertained, which is also something we reckon we’ve become pretty adept at over 68 years. Filling our ranks with the most gifted, incisive writers has always been core to the Wheels DNA, and that will never change. A quick glance at our Hall of Fame board serves as an enlightening reminder. Wheels launched the careers of writing greats like the late Bill Tuckey and the legendary Mel Nichols, while Peter ‘Robbo’ Robinson would go on to be the magazine’s longest serving and arguably most influential editor, and continues to have a presence in the magazine to this day.
Journalist Phil Scott took Wheels to new highs during his tenure in the late 80s and into the 90s, and proved so adept at the craft of making great magazines, he would go on to become CEO of the biggest publisher in the country. Formidably talented editors would follow; men like Angus Mackenzine, Ged Bulmer and Bill Thomas, each putting their indelible stamp on the brand and honing it further to reflect changes in tastes and times.
Ah yes, evolution. Something Wheels has never shied away from. Just as cars and technology have changed, Wheels has also adapted, without ever losing sight of our core principles. Because while the digital revolution has fundamentally shifted the way consumers absorb motoring content, it’s clear that a loyal tribe insist a quality printed product provides a tangible, tactile connection to the subject matter that can’t be replaced by pixels on a screen. That’s why we will continue to publish Wheels as a premium magazine for the foreseeable future, and our loyal audience are happy to pay for this luxury. When they read Wheels, they give it their undivided attention, often revisiting their favourite articles, and usually archiving their copies in neat collections.
Over 68 years, a rough count says we’ve published around 110,000 printed pages of motoring content, punished more than 1,000 cars through the COTY wringer, and wolfed down more dodgy servo pies than any of us care to admit. As our 70th anniversary approaches, we have no intention of taking our foot off the throttle.
So as the motoring landscape continues to shift; as the age of electrification takes hold, and cars become smarter and even more intuitive to our needs, the one constant will be Wheels. Assessing fearlessly, writing with passion and levity, and bringing an unchallenged level of insight to that amazing machine we simply call the car.
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