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Friday, Jun 9, 2023

Road Runs Back To Automotive

When Dan Kahn learned his company got the contract to be the new PR agency for Petersen Automotive Museum, he felt his career had returned to its starting point. Kahn, the 33-year-old president of Kahn Media in Reseda, began his career 15 years ago before he even finished college as a technical editor for Petersen Publishing, the company behind “Hot Rod” and “Motor Trend.” He knew Robert Petersen, the one-time teenage car buff who founded “Hot Rod” in 1943 and turned his hobby into a publishing empire. “On my first day at work, Mr. Petersen was parking his Ferrari so I walked up and started talking to him,” Kahn recalled. “I used to see him all the time in the parking lot.” Flashing forward to 2012, Kahn has his work cut out for him. Terry Karges, the museum’s new executive director, wants to reach a younger crowd unfamiliar with hot rods or historical vehicles, which comprise the core of the museum’s collection. He hired Kahn Media because of the agency’s expertise in automotive subjects and online social media that connects with youth. The eight-employee firm focuses on automotive clients such as Hurst Shifters and B&M Racing & Performance Products. “We still want to emphasize classic cars, but also stuff like off-road racing that has broader appeal,” Kahn said. For example, the museum plans an exhibit in 2013 that will tie in to the Warner Bros. movie “Gangster Squad,” about a special police task force in Los Angeles during the 1920s and 1930s. The movie opens Jan. 11. Petersen and his wife Margie founded the Fairfax District museum in 1994. Petersen sold his company to two publishing executives in 1996 for $463 million. He died in 2007, and Margie Petersen passed away last year. “At the very start of my career I had this connection and now it feels to me like I’ve come full circle.” – Joel Russell

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