Original founder of Auto Trader magazines dies in Florida at 82

27 Sep 2017

The man who launched the first Auto Trader magazine, pasting Polaroid photos of cars and typing $4 ads onto pages for printing, has died at 82.

Stu Arnold, who published his first Auto Trader magazine in 1973 and built it into an empire with 17 franchises and 82 editions, passed away earlier this month at his home in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. He sold Auto Trader to Cox Enterprises in 1988, according to an excellent obituary in the Tampa Bay Times, for a price “he couldn’t refuse”.

Cox shared ownership of Auto Trader with Landmark Communications for a while, but took full ownership in 2006. It stopped publishing the print editions of Auto Trader in June 2013 to focus on Autotrader.com and its related digital products.

Arnold was a one-time journalist from New York and California who started the Auto Trader magazines in Florida. He eventually owned a Lear jet, a Ferrari, a Lotus and a 103-foot yacht, which he checked just before Hurricane Irma hit Florida.

“It was always an adventure,” his daughter Bonnie told the Tampa Bay Times. “The best way to put it: You never knew exactly what you were going to do, but there was always pizza involved.”

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