Fast Car Magazine Review 2021 - Muscle Car

Fast Car Magazine Review 2021

Car Magazine Reviews


Written by Elise

5th March 2021

Fast Car Magazine Review 2021
Blog   >    Car Magazine Reviews   >   Fast Car Magazine Review 2021

Fast Car Magazine Review 2021

By Niamh Smith

A quick visit to Fast Car Magazine’s website shows their logo, emblazoned in red, with the tagline ‘defining car culture’. While we sit at home, waiting for lockdown to be lifted, a trawl through Fast Car’s website reveals everything that we’re missing about the UK’s modified car scene; right now we’d even be desperate to see a few Corsas popping and banging in MacDonald’s car park. 

For thirty-four years, Fast Car magazine has remained one of the leading publications in its niche sector with a dedicated following who come back for more performance-boosting reporting. You only have to look at their past three ‘Feature Car of the Years’ to show the kind of quality builds they feature in their magazine. 

In this Fast Car Magazine Review, we’ll be taking a look at why they have remained the market leader for performance and modified car publications and are still going strong to this day.

What is Fast Car Magazine?

Fast Car Magazine began over 3 decades ago as primarily a performance car magazine. It had evolved from a short-lived publication called Power and Style in 1987, and was the first UK magazine to focus on the modified car market, covering everything you’d expect a late 80s performance car magazine to cover; plenty of racy hot hatches and of course scantily-clad girls sprawled across shiny cars. On one forum, a user posted back in 2005 that Fast Car consisted of ‘30% modified bingo-wagons with £3K worth of plastic bolted on to them and 70% pics of birds with surgically-enhanced mams’. 

It may be that Fast Car magazine subscription perhaps used to be for 13-year-old kids to use as pseudo-FHM mags, but this magazine has rather grown up since then. It has since morphed to focus on JDM, European cars and car culture in general, celebrating all things modified and fast (with not a bikini model in sight).

Fast Car, unlike most motoring publications, is a refreshing roundup of anything that goes against the grain. It avoids anything that is standard and welcomes with open arms the jam packed wide bodies, garish paint jobs, sticker-bombed, noisy exhausts, remapped engines and big fat turbos shoehorned somewhere they definitely shouldn’t be. I must say I love them for it. 

I don’t usually pay attention to wrong-wheel drive cars (sorry, I meant front-wheel drive) however it’s nice to read a magazine that I’m sure I’d never happen across a Ford Mondeo or Hyundai Getz in (although potentially, if it had a wide body kit and a cherry bomb on it).

Fast Car releases 13 editions annually, available to buy in newsagents as well as through a subscription service. In addition to the paying customer, their news is also accessible for free via their website with even more reports in their email newsletters. 

Fast Car Content


As you would imagine, Fast Car magazine brings performance car news from all over the world to our newsagent shelves. It’s often news of fancy new cars being launched, with the details hot off the press from the manufacturers themselves. You can also bet your boots that once these new cars become commercially available that a Fast Car writer will have a date with it for a review.

Car Reviews

The reviews do tend to be spec-heavy, but also give thought to how the car actually feels to drive; a nice balance of performance and experience. Naturally, the reviewers need to redline the car, just to, y’know, truly test the car’s limits. Despite the depth of these reviews, I get the impression that a lot of readers would probably skip the parts about the interior and just want to hear about how the car goes ‘vroom’. 

Unlike other magazine’s audiences, people who read Fast Car likely aren’t fussed about the boring side of emissions and MPG: as long as it goes fast, that’s all that matters. Some others may chide Fast Car for not thinking of practicality, but that’s not what owning a fast car is about. I certainly think they would lose their touch if they started comparing boot space in vehicles; no one considers the weekly shop when they buy a V8 monster. 

The tone of reporting in their articles is something I can get alongside; lighthearted fun, nothing too serious and you can tell it’s something written by actual ‘car people’. I personally enjoy when the writers can jest at something; owning a modified car should be fun after all. 


As much as Fast Car is for dreamers and children who dream of Audi RS4s and Nissan GT-Rs, it doesn’t just focus on those untouchable SEMA-worthy builds. It’s also stuffed with the finest cars that are definitely within reach of the average Joe. They obviously thrive off giving the chance for their readers and staff members to have their own projects featured, and it is shown in the build quality that is featured that these vehicles are the pride and joys of their owners. I think one of the reasons that this magazine is so popular is that the articles are very detailed when it comes to describing and listing modifications. Their audience are the kind of people who usually want inspiration for their own build, so no wonder they have such a dedicated fanbase. 

When you select the ‘popular posts’ section on their website, it’s not difficult to see what Fast Car’s readers want to see. The top posts were all the same meat with different gravy: ‘Tuned Mazda RX-7 FD’, ‘Tuned Twin Turbo BMW E30’ and ‘Modified Vauxhall Corsa C’. Their audience clearly gel with cars that are commercially available yet tuned beyond what they should be capable of into a street freak.

Tuning Guides

As well as their sections on news, reviews and builds, they also have a handy section on ‘guides’. I did find it amusing when, on the website, the dropdown selection for ‘guides’ has one option only, which was of course ‘tuning’. Tuning is the name of the game for Fast Car magazine and their fans. These guides cover everything from make and model specifics (ie. Fast mods for a BMW M2 F87) to general tuning tips (ie. a list of tips and tricks to make a car accelerate faster). They cover everything in a rather general way, so are not so much as a handbook or technical guide, however are more of a way to get inspiration for a bit of tuning or tinkering on a car. They also make it apparent that you don’t have to have big bucks to modify a car, and it is a hobby that is widely accessible. 

Top 10

One section I wasn’t particularly fussed about is the ‘top 10’ articles, which was not really what I expected. ‘Top 10 Most Listened to Songs in the Car’ and ‘The World’s Top 10 Most Instagrammed Super Cars’ seemed like articles that might pop up on a Facebook advert and the kind of thing you read while bored and not necessarily soaking the information in. It’s not revolutionary information.


Nowadays, Fast Car is officially one of the largest and most popular automobile publications in the United Kingdom, with sales peaking in 2003 at 127,620 copies sold annually. Their last recorded circulation figures from the Audited Bureau of Circulations was that they were averaging 60,000 copies annually, although that was a while ago. 

To say that Fast Car have kept up with the advancement of the digital age is an understatement. While many other publications have felt the pressure and slowly crumbled away due to unwillingness to adapt, Fast Car refused to regard it as a threat to their business model, instead embracing it and using it to their advantage. 

After 24 years, Fast Car is still going strong compared to other performance car magazines; Max Power, Revs and Redline all died a death in the same sector, however Fast Car thrived. Was it survival of the fittest? Perhaps the allure of having some busty babes sprawled over the cars made people buy the magazine in the first place, but they then stayed for the quality content. It becomes apparent when you read on car forums the nostalgia that is conjured up when discussing the 90s and 00s car magazines, aided by the availability of purchasing back issues that have been dug out of the Fast Car archives. A lot of people have been dedicated to buying Fast Car for the duration of its publication. 

Another treat for the reader is that nearly every issue comes with a myriad of free trinkets: stickers, posters, CDs, DVDs, bells, buttons and whistles. For myself, it’s not something that would make me buy a magazine (gone are the days I’d beg my mum to buy me Girl Talk for the sticky, glitter lip gloss that came free with it) but I can see how this could appeal to a certain audience. 

Their social media pages clearly have a large following, with 187k followers on Instagram and 4.8million on Facebook. Their engagement with their online readers reflects their willingness to stay relevant when everything has shifted online. Their presence is widespread, through inviting lively discussion on their social media platforms, regular updates with news on their website and all the while jampacking their paper publication with all the good stuff. 

Conclusion: Officially the Best Car Magazine Out There?

If you enjoy reading the likes of Autocar, Car and Classic and Auto Express then this magazine is likely not for you. Same again if you’re of a nervous disposition; the ludicrous mods on some cars may be too much for some people to handle. But to the hardcore modded car enthusiasts, Fast Car is gospel.

It delivers its promise and provides everything you need if you’re into the performance car scene; all the hot news, whispered gossip from manufacturers, reviews on your favourite fast cars and technical build details, as well as tips, tricks and advice for your own build.

Due to having kept up with the trends of the digital age, Fast Car has adapted to stay relevant since 1987, and has become the leading publication in this genre. All the while there is modified car culture, there will be Fast Car magazine at the very centre of the scene.

Author: Niamh Smith

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