He might still be almost ten years away from being able to get on the road, but that hasn’t stopped the eight-year-old Sam from launching a car magazine – with a little help from his dad, Carl.
Roadster!, which is available online for free on the Issuu digital publishing platform, is a father-son project. And although Carl confesses to doing much of the design and copy, he insists that Sam is in charge of all editorial decision-making and has written much of the magazine himself.
The original idea was prompted after Sam saw a friend drawing cartoon strips and putting together a comic book, which he printed and passed to his chums. Sam, who’s been a car enthusiast ever since watching Pixar’s Cars, wanted to do something similar to share with his pals.
Over three months Sam and Carl worked on their kitchen table and computer at home, coming up with ideas: a back-seat driver review of the family Dacia Duster, and a guide to the M5 motorway called “Are we nearly there yet?”. A visit to the British Motor Show offered the chance to get hands-on with a variety of cars. Sam and Carl also visited The Little Car Company for a tour of Britain’s smallest car plant and a test drive of its Aston Martin DB5 Junior which only increased the young car-obsessive’s enthusiasm for the British sports car brand.
The first issue of Roadster! was ready just in time for Christmas. Ten copies were printed so that Sam could give them to friends as gifts.
“Everyone liked it,” Sam tells me from the driving seat of my Lotus Esprit when we meet at the Bicester Heritage Sunday Scramble car meet. “Does it turn into a submarine?” he grins.
Carl, a civil servant and Sam’s father, does describe himself as “frustrated journalist,” so it would be easy to think that Roadster! is purely his brainchild. However that’s far from the case:
“Sam really wanted us to include some STEM (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics) content so we put in a story about how gearboxes work,” he says. “At the Little Car Company Sam led the visit itself, sat down with them and asked questions and then we worked together on choosing the pictures, formatting, research from the press kit we received, and doing the write up.”
After the printed copies were so well received, Sam and Carl decided to make Roadster! available free for kids everywhere. The father-son duo is already planning the next issue to coincide with the Easter holidays.
“A more broad, parent-directed ambition is to really produce a regular magazine which is relevant to the back-seat drivers of today, gets them involved in producing the content, and inspires the Roadster! [corollaries] of the future,” explains Carl. “An adult-facilitated, child-led magazine which gives those working on it opportunities they wouldn’t otherwise have, in which each issue aims to approach cars, road safety, STEM, geography, history, literacy and all manner of school subjects from a motoring perspective.
“Sam is loving the experiences it is giving him and is very keen to make another, especially now some of his friends also want to get involved, which will make all the difference to him and his confidence. The more other kids contribute, the more he gets to act as editor. That child-led involvement is so important to making this idea work.”
Sam’s cartoonist pal is already working on ideas, while the young magazine editor’s visit to Bicester Heritage is providing plenty of content for Issue Two. At the event, he drove not only an electric Firefly scaled-down sports car but also a full-size Vauxhall Corsa. Being the world’s youngest car magazine Editor-in-Chief, it would seem, has its perks.
[Editor’s Note: Sam and Carl’s surname and location have been withheld at their request to protect Sam’s privacy.]
Via Hagerty US