In 66 pages more than 400 vehicles were featured, allowing customers for the first time to have a one-stop reference to buy or sell a 4WD.
The editor and publisher of JUST 4x4s, Shayne Hunter proudly wrote, "Welcome to the first edition of JUST 4x4s magazine - Australia's new monthly marketplace for four-wheel drive vehicles…the people movers that create that special, safe, "leisure feeling" in transport.
JUST 4x4s magazine will contain a wide selection of vehicles, covering both the "switched on" competitive dealer and the private seller from across Australia. JUST 4x4s will present vehicles straight off the factory floor, new, through pre-owned original spec vehicles to those modified, converted or dressed up to individual requirements and taste".
Two hundred and fifty issues, and 20 years later JUST 4x4s is still meeting that promise and delivering the greatest pictorial collection of 4x4s offered for sale in Australia - every month.
The winning formula has proved so popular in one of the most discerning market places in Australia, that the 'Just' family of magazines have been copied and tried to be replicated by others. As a memorable advertising slogan said, "When you're on a good thing, stick to it," and so it has been with JUST 4x4s. As we reach this 250th milestone we note the intuitive initiative of publisher Shayne Hunter in launching the concept, the support of our advertisers, but most importantly, the 4x4 community that continue to rank JUST 4x4s among their 'first port of call', when selling or looking to buy a 4x4 vehicle.
Issue number 1 for the first time allowed customers to see the vehicle, plus read specific details about it - information that we take for granted today, but was not the norm 20 years ago. From this enthusiastic beginning JUST 4x4s has evolved, peaking with a massive 260 plus pages in the late nineties and averaging 140 plus today. While down in pages, more vehicles are displayed today as the magazine continues to evolve. Notably, over the years, printing quality has markedly improved, so from a large two column format with half page width photos, the magazine has adopted a three column format, which allows even more vehicles to be displayed, sharper and clearer.
Of course in recent years, JUST 4x4s also offers colour advertising alongside the traditional mono advertisements. From the beginning, the magazine was predominantly black and white as this not only made it possible to retail at just $2 an issue, but to allow readers to visualise their dream vehicle in any colour they liked!
JUST 4x4s attracted a wide range of vehicles and along with mainstream Toyotas, Nissans, Jeeps, etc, the magazine featured some weird and wonderful rare, or totally collectible 'one offs' that stamped the magazine not only as a monthly 4x4 marketplace, but a great read!
Vehicles which are relatively rare today which were advertised in the first issue included a 1970s Nissan G60 Patrol priced at $4,490, while a good condition Toyota such as the 60 Series wagon at Stewart Motors was a then whopping $24,990. How times have changed with similar 5-10 year old comparable models today priced in the $12,000 - $30,000 price bracket.
Interesting vehicles of that issue were a 6x6 cab chassis Land Rover 110; a turbo diesel powered stretch Daihatsu with Detroit locker, any number of Ford F100s for less than $15,000, and a rare (by today's standards) Nissan Patrol High Line Roof at $49,990.
The market rapidly embraced JUST 4x4s and from this enthusiastic beginning things were really ticking by issue No. 8. First up the magazine size had more than doubled in page numbers, as did the number of commercial dealers that saw the enormous potential of the magazine in promoting their 4x4s. A potential that remains today as a core strength of JUST 4x4s. It is also pleasing that throughout out long history, that many of our first and early advertisers continue to choose JUST 4x4s for part of their 'front line' advertising.
JUST 4x4s has earned its stripes through delivering on its promises - month after month. Without doubt it delivers the best results for advertisers and the track record for private sellers is also impressive. We will not be resting on our laurels however, but will continue to respond to your needs, bring you the 4x4 news and information you want, while maintaining our position as Australia's Best Value 4x4 Marketplace.
Condensing 250 issues is near impossible so we would like to share our journey with this snapshot of highlights and the evolution of the magazine over the past 20 years.
February 1990 - After the successful launch of JUST BIKES - which rapidly went on to become Australia's largest circulation bike magazine (which it remains today), Just Magazines founder Shayne Hunter saw the need for a dedicated 4x4 magazine based on the successful formula of photo based national classified advertising to the 4x4 industry and enthusiast.
The debut issue of JUST 4x4s plus Vans & Utes was a low key, yet high impact issue that delivered a wide selection of 4x4s and vans in black and white with a colour cover. One of its features was to provide free advertising for private sellers.
From the second issue the 'vans and utes' title disappeared from the magazine title.
September 1990 - Issue 8 saw the introduction of a whole new element to the magazine. There was a new masthead on the cover and we embarked on what was to become one of the most comprehensive series ever undertaken by a magazine. Issue 8 was the first Collectors Series Issue, which embraced the history of four-wheel drives. The first history was of Land Rover and Range Rover, and went on to chronicle the history of just about every known 4x4. From Toyota to Subaru, from Jeep to International Harvester, Mercedes-Benz and Mahindra, Haflinger to Hummer, and Dodge to Fiat, and many more, issue by issue.
Since then the Collectors Series has grown to chart the history of specific 4x4 models, reviews and road tests on popular models, how to, destinations and the latest 4x4 news - all as a bonus in a magazine bulging with great four-wheel drives for sale.
October 1990 - Issue 9 saw JUST 4x4s gain the services of Owen Peake - one of the most experienced four-wheel drivers around (and later PRO for Rover Australia), and Brian Tanner, a key figure in the 4WD Clubs movement being president of the Victoria 4WDC Association and founding president of the Australian National FWD Council to the editorial team.
In the space of just 7 months circulation jumped to 25,000 copies per month, and a series dealing with 4x4 safety, driving issues and how to handle your 4WD were commenced.
1991 - During this time Australian troops were involved in the Gulf crisis and a little known fact was that JUST Magazines sent a large consignment of JUST 4x4s and JUST BIKES magazines to our fighting forces, courtesy of the Navy.
The magazine continued to grow with full-page dealer adverts priced at just $100, while all private advertising remained free of any charges. The magazine also offered free club announcements. By October commercial support had risen to 116 dealer advertisers, while private sales saw such exotic vehicles as a Willys Jeep offered for $4,300, a Land Rover campervan conversion for $7,500 and a Corolla powered Suzuki LJ50 at $4,200.
November 1992 - Issue No. 34, Collectors Series Vol. 27, saw JUST 4X4S break past the 150-page mark, with 134 dealer adverts and numerous private vehicles for sale.
February 1993 - This month saw the cover design revamped with a cleaner logo, and information panel for the stories inside. Another popular feature to commence with this issue was to put several reader's vehicles on the cover, a practice that still continues today.
This issue also saw the magazine go from saddle stitching (staples) to perfect binding. This allowed more pages to be crammed into each issue, and provided a spine for easy identification of each issue. Going to a three-column format included additional private reader vehicles for sale.
May 1994 - The magazine exceeded 200 pages for the first time. Dealer adverts now numbered 141, with advertisers such as ARB, USA 4x4 and ULR regular advertisers, in a partnership that continues right up to our very latest issues.
October 1995 - Saw the introduction of two more popular features to JUST 4x4s, a 4WD Forum and the ‘events’ calendar. The Forum provided up to the minute information on advertisers products, new vehicles and other 4x4 news.
February 1996 - By February JUST 4x4s circulation exceeded 30,000 copies, while the popular Collector Series still continued with reviews of the new Nissan Pathfinder, Range Rover and a complete guide to 4WD Chevy Pick-ups.
December issue saw the 250-page barrier broken, a figure that was easily exceeded the following year. After 77 issues over 6 years the cover price was increased to $2.50 - with JUST 4x4s still remaining the best value 4x4 marketplace in Australia.
June 1998 - The 100th issue of JUST 4x4s saw an extensive celebration of the 50th anniversary of Land Rover.
January 2000 - The new millennium saw the cover price of JUST 4x4s rise to $2.95. JUST 4x4s now offers free photo advertisements for private sellers. The January issue saw 164 private 4x4s offered for sale while 161 dealers added several hundred more. This issue also caused plenty of comment in 4x4 circles with a countdown of the top 10 4x4s of the century, with the Willys Jeep coming out as No. 1. Amongst the gems offered for sale was an original Austin Champ priced at $5,000, a HZ 4x4 Holden Tray, while pre-loved Toyota 80 Series and HiLux were priced from $33,990 and $18,999 respectively.
October 2000 - This was a big month for JUST 4X4S. Australia's largest selling 4x4 magazine offered an integrated, concise and revamped editorial section featuring a road test on Holden's Monterey Jackaroo, plus local and world news, new releases and back to basics information. Best of all, this section was printed in full colour for the first time. Even better news was the fact that in an industry first, JUST 4x4s cover price fell by 30 cents to $2.65, thanks to the introduction of the GST.
November saw the cover revamped with a stronger logo and a more integrated look comprising reader’s vehicles, feature photo and editorial pointers.
To end the year on a strong note, the December issue ran to a record 274 pages, with colour advertising now available.
2001 - For the first time there was the availability of colour dealer advertisements, with the option for private advertisers to feature their vehicles in colour to follow. The magazine continued to average 250 pages with approximately 160 dealer adverts.
March 2001 - Interesting vehicles on offer in March included a 1942 Willys Jeep at $6,500, 1983 Jeep J10 utility for $10,000, 1965 International Scout at $6,900 and an OKA single cab at for $25,900.
September 2001 - This issue was a Special Collectors Edition featuring the 50th anniversary of Toyota in Australia.
2002 - In the wake of rising production costs, January saw the cover price rise to $2.95. Classifieds remain at $8.80, black and white private advertisers FREE, while private colour adverts were just $27.50. The cover continued its strong visual treatment, yet retaining at least 3 private seller’s vehicles.
April 2002 - Details of the most anticipated 4x4 showdown between the Holden Cross8 AWD and the Ford Territory were revealed, along with pictures of the Nissan Crossbow - a possible replacement for the aging Patrol.
June 2002 - A Special Collectors issue on the history of the Range Rover was published along with the first pictures of the Volkswagen Touareg. Interesting vehicles offered for sale included an original 1978 Toyota FJ 55 at $1,800, a rare Holden Overlander 4x4 at $10,000 and a Land Rover 101 forward control, a steal at just $6,200.
September 2002 - A GMC Blitz 6WD made it onto the cover, while a home made LandCruiser HJ47 dual cab was an interesting vehicle at $8,500.
2003 - As the cost of newsprint skyrocketed, another cover price rise was necessary, taking Australia's favourite 4x4 marketplace to $3.25. This remained great value, with the February and March issues a whopping 243 pages.
March 2003 - This issued featured a road test of the new Kia Sorento. Kia were so taken by it that they ordered another 5,000 reprints to distribute to their dealers and potential customers. It's nice to be appreciated!
May 2003 - Another bumper 234 page issue, saw 36 pages of colour, with road tests on the Holden Rodeo Space Wagon and a first drive of the Honda MDX, plus just for fun, a road test on Holden's new VY Utility.
August 2003 - More dealers are taking advantage of colour adverts, with this section growing to 42 pages.
September 2003 -Another Aussie AWD showdown is previewed, this time with Holden's Adventurer up against the Ford Territory.
October 2003 - The biggest issue for the year sees 260 pages crammed with 100s of 4x4s.
JUST 4x4s now incorporates Campervans & Motorhomes.
November 2003 - JUST 4x4s now includes a dedicated section for campervans & motorhomes. If last month wasn't big enough, this edition runs to an awesome 276 pages!
2004 - April sees the addition of a '4x4 of the month' feature, highlighting a special dealers vehicle. Another bumper 260 page issue has 50 pages of colour and a special feature on 4x4s of the Melbourne Motor Show. While they needed 'a bit of work', a hidden gem was a pair they of International Scouts for the bargain price of $600!
May 2004 – This special edition the celebrates 21st anniversary of the Pajero in Australia.
December 2004 - JUST 4x4s expands it’s horizons to incorporate 'Just Outdoors' a section dedicated to campers, caravans, RVs, fishing and the great outdoors.
January 2005 - The cover price rises to $3.75, yet for the umpteenth year classified adverts remain at a low $8.80, colour photo ads $27.50 and mono photo adverts are free of charge.
April 2005 - Another bumper 250 page edition, incorporating Part 1 of a special feature on 4x4 light commercials & Utes, plus the first look at the radical Toyota FJ Cruiser.
2006 - January sees the cover price increase to $3.95, but advertising costs remain unchanged.
October 2006 - The 200th issue of JUST 4x4s is celebrated with another controversial feature - this time we chose the 10 most significant 4x4s of the decade. The Land Rover Discovery is a worthy winner. Classic 4x4s in this issue include a Forward Control 101 Land Rover ($18,250), a 1983 Toyota Troopy ($6,000) and a superb V8 Super Jeep from Jeep City at $49,500.
November 2006 - Was a Special Jeep 65th Anniversary edition, plus all the action from the Queensland Aussie Jeep Jamboree.
2007 - This year starts off with a raft of new 4x4 releases, with JUST 4x4s covering the release of the 3.0L turbo diesel Prado, Mazda CX-7, and Mazda BT-50 utility. From January there was a dedicated editorial section to outdoor living, which grew over the coming months.
March 2007 - As well as the cover price rising to $4.25, this month saw a new look for the magazine with an all new logo and cover treatment. Bolder and stronger, the feature photo no longer had a coloured frame around it. First up was the new Ford 4x4 Ranger release, followed in subsequent months by the Jeep Wrangler, Toyota 70 Series and Hummer H3.
Inside, glossy paper replaced the matt finish paper for the coloured pages.
2008 - To commence the year JUST 4x4s experimented with a series of 'outdoor style' covers to better reflect this component of the magazine. The mould was broken in April with another special edition, this one celebrating the 60th anniversary of Land Rover. This year saw the cover price increase to $4.75, yet again however advertising rates were tied to prices set in 2001!
June 2008 - This issue featured a special Camper trailers buying guide, as well as a tribute to the 25th Anniversary of the Pajero in Australia. The following month followed up with a Caravan Buyer's Guide. The cover price rose to $4.95 in December.
2009 - The January issue commenced an avalanche of special reports over the ensuring months with the first being a Compact 4x4 & SUV Buyers Guide, it was followed in February by a Hummer special and a Buyers Guide for Motorhomes. March followed up with a Camper Trailer Buyers Guide, while in April 19 medium 4x4s were reviewed in a buyer's guide.
June 2009 - Introduces a bigger bolder cover masthead, that drops the 'Outdoors' subtitle and simply proclaims JUST 4x4s. The magazine returns to its core values of 4x4s, with an always controversial opening special on the 'Top 10 off the shelf 4x4s'.
August 2009 - Another in the Buyers Guide series this month looked at the luxury SUV market.
September 2009 – Features The Best off road camper trailers Buyers Guide, along with another in the 'How to' driver skills series featured mud driving.
November 2009 - JUST 4x4s featured special reports on the first drives of the 2010 Discovery 4 and Range Rover Vogue at its international launch in the UK. A hidden gem advertised this month was a 1980 Range Rover 4.4 V8 on a 5-inch lift kit, riding on massive 35-inch tyres at $11,000.
December 2009 - This issue featured a host of private sales and an exclusive drive report of many of the Land Rover Heritage Collection vehicles in the UK.
2010 - February saw Part 1 of an extensive off road recovery special, plus a comprehensive Compact SUV/4x4 Buyers Guide.
April 2010 - Sees a downsized editorial content, yet retaining the latest news, spotlight on specific vehicles, the 'how to' series, destinations and 4x4 club roundup. The following month this section is totally redesigned, appearing brighter, more colourful and easier to read.
October 2010 - JUST 4x4s goes racing with a complete run down on the Finke Desert race with feature vehicle spotlights focussing on the 1998 Suzuki Grand Vitara, 1998 Nissan Patrol and a road test of the new Subaru Outback diesel.
December 2010 - Break out the candles as JUST 4x4s celebrates its 250th issue. If you have a particular section that you like, don't like, or something you would like to see us cover, email us your thoughts at: [email protected]
In 66 pages more than 400 vehicles were featured, allowing customers for the first time to have a one-stop reference to buy or sell a 4WD.