“Never fear parenthood!”
These were the excited words which echoed across a cold, wet parking lot in early January. In the background, a misty grey fog hid stunning rolling hills covered with vibrant greenery, all staples of the Marin Headlands. The source of these shouted words was a tall, slim figure carrying a child’s car seat as he ran away from a paint-to-sample Brewster Green 991.2.
In less than a minute the Porsche was transformed from a family car into a driver’s car. Child’s seat safely stowed away in the office, the man laughed as he jumped back in his 911, the smile of anticipation on his face.
This was the exact moment I knew for certain that this project would be unlike anything else I’d ever worked on.
In hindsight, the reason for this is readily apparent. The subject of my focus, the man who shouted that parenthood was not to be feared. Pete Stout: author, photographer, editor. Son, husband, father.
Mr. Pete — as his daughter’s friend calls him — wears many more hats, surely far too many for me to list here, but the role which brought me to San Rafael, California was one which I would guess you’ve either never heard of, or are already intimately interested in: Co-founder and Editor of 000 Magazine.
In fairness, you may find yourself somewhere else on this spectrum, but for me there really was no in-between. The first time I saw the physical manifestation of 000 I was hooked. I knew I had to see more.
Rewind to Monterey Car Week during Concours on the Avenue in Carmel-by-the-Sea where I found myself at a small table lined with 9×12-inch books dedicated entirely to Porsche. 000, 001, 002, 003… interesting. This is a magazine?
Then, a couple days later was the 000-hosted Rare Shades event held at Canepa, tucked away in Scott’s Valley some two hours south of the 000 Magazine offices. This was the first time I met Pete, and after seeing the passion he was personally bringing to the table I went home, scratched my head a bit, and bought a subscription to the 250-plus page, quarterly-released, Porsche art journal.
There are three aspects of particular note hidden within this seemingly uninteresting action, the first of which is that I haven’t personally subscribed to anything in print for nearly a decade. Shame on me, perhaps, but I’ve found that I simply don’t spend much time with this medium anymore. In these digital times, I know I’m not the only one consuming content almost exclusively on the internet.
The second is the not-insignificant cost, which justifies the head scratching when I went to subscribe. I’ll touch on this in detail with Pete further down, but — especially as a content creator — I knew this magazine was something I needed in my life after flipping through the pages on their little table in Carmel-by-the-Sea last year. The quality of production, the curated stories, the incredible archival images. All second to none.
The third point is that I’m not terribly interested in Porsche specifically, and yet here I was subscribing to the most expensive magazine I ever have — one dedicated to Porsche, no less — for the first time in the better part of 10 years.
Immediately after taking delivery of a couple issues (Issue 007 and Issue 008 to be specific), my wife and I got in touch with Pete to see if we might be able to stop by the office and see how it all came to be.Prototypes
Once inside the 000 headquarters, the first thing Pete brought up was all of the other people that have made the magazine what it is today. It’s clear that Pete’s a team player, a quality necessary for a man in his shoes who expects success.
But what was the initial concept, and how did it materialize? Summed up, it started with a question Pete asked himself and others: How good can you make a print magazine?
Pete says the name itself came to him when he saw a factory prototype that read ‘000/918′ and instantly thought “that’s it!” He liked it “as a quiet nod to Porsche’s model numbers — which are usually three digits — and because people car people talk in code. The real anoraks don’t say we own an M3 or 911, we say we own an E36 or a 993.”
As for the magazine, it seemed that 000 appeared out of nowhere, almost from nothing. As it turns out, that’s a bit how it was on the inside, too. Interestingly, the same is more or less true of Porsche itself.
However, the first issue came only after countless hours of contemplation and collaboration, stemming from Pete’s desire to push the boundaries of what was possible with print media. Again, that question: How good can you make a print magazine?
Stepping back a bit, perhaps you found my lack of magazine subscriptions disturbing. However, if I’m honest, I’ve always felt somewhat assaulted by the magazine experience. If over half of the pages are ads which directly detract and derail me from the experience, what am I even paying for?
On some level Pete felt similarly and sought to shift towards a model where the content is paid for by the consumer rather than a long list of third parties. There are still some ads in 000, but they are very few and far between. More importantly, they never disrupt the flow of a story or distract you from what you’re reading or seeing.
This format would give Pete freedom for huge features and ample room for full-page imagery. Still, the elephant in the room: Would it be possible in an age where “print is in decline,” as Pete puts it.
Pete spent days and weeks scouring existing magazines, books, and journals to find what he liked and didn’t like, ultimately realizing that lifestyle magazines — many of which can still be found tucked away in his closet — were the ones which seemed to be doing this best. While he wasn’t personally interested in the content, the quality of production was what Pete took aim at.
While Pete tells me that plenty were quick to say he was crazy to create a new magazine in the digital age, he shares that the editorial plan came together in June of 2016 on a trans-Atlantic flight to Stuttgart with 000‘s co-founder Alexander Palevsky.
During that half day in the air, pieces big and small began to suddenly and solidly fall into place. Some were still missing, but — out of nothing — the framework was suddenly there.
This theme is clearly seen in 000 Magazine’s own prototype, Issue 000 — aptly titled Ex nihilo — which focused on Porsche prototypes. While in one sense a pilot, Issue 000 was still publicly available and published as any other issue would be.
Once holding the physical result, Pete says certain areas which needed improvement became clear straight away. For one, as the paper weight of the pages within was thicker than most magazine covers, the front and back covers of Issue 000 weren’t relatively heavy enough to compensate. This was easily remedied in future iterations, but the list of more minor changes goes on.
Another such detail Pete pointed out was that the team decided the underscore of the 000 logo needed to be thicker in subsequent editions. Pete brought out the “$1,200 dollar piece of paper,” showing the various options they looked at through the process. As the logo is embossed on the cover rather than printed, dies had to be made in a variety of sizes for the purpose of prototyping – not a cheap process, but not one to be overlooked, either. For the hardback edition, more work we take for granted also ensued, from material selection to special gifts for the ‘S’ edition subscribers.
While the average consumer may never notice, Pete insists that issue 000 is flawed in many minute ways. Due to the limited run and these one-off defects, I’m sure that this first (and likely only) pressing will have significant collector value to the right crowd.
It is certainly fitting that a magazine about cars, no less one about Porsche, would materialize much in the same way that a new performance model or brand is introduced to the automotive market. Imperfect, particularly at first, but pushing the boundaries of what’s possible with the tools at hand.Mister Pete
While there are many others who make 000 what it is — from his wife Rebekah as COO/CFO to co-founder Alex, Creative Director Justin Page, Creative Advisor Jeff Zwart, Editor-At-Random Kerry Morse, and many other key stakeholders and freelancers — today I was interested in learning how Pete has arrived where he is now.
I was loosely familiar with his work at Panorama and, previously, Excellence — where Pete started in 1997. Beyond this I figured I’d ask a few questions, Pete would share his answers, and that would be that. But, in only a way which Pete Stout could coordinate, we instead went on a journey that painted the complete picture.
This starts, as most stories do, with Pete’s own makers.
He says everyone is, at least in part, a product of their parents. Even if you deliberately go the opposite direction of your parents, was that decision not a direct result of your upbringing?
Either way, it’s hopefully for the best, but you simply cannot escape the influence of your caregivers in your younger years; it’s one of several non-negotiable terms we’re dealt upon entry to this existence and it’s simply a part of the human condition.
Pete says he definitely leaned more towards his father’s engineering inclinations in younger years, preferring to get his hands in things and on things and to get dirty in the process. But all the while his mother’s influence was there, too, taking root.
Having the pleasure of meeting Alisa de Jong-Stout during our visit, she told me about when Pete was four, riding in the back of her ’63 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia Convertible. And although she’s some 70-odd years into her journey of life, she recounts it as if it were yesterday, a sparkle in her eyes.
Pete, covered the remnants of a 2:00am trip to the famous San Francisco Flower Mart, is rattling off the make and model of every car that goes by in the dark morning light. Less the flowers, we’ve probably all done more or less the same at some point.
I share this story in part due to the automotive connection, but even more so due to the lasting impact Pete’s mother’s flowers ultimately had on him. Flower arrangement wasn’t just a hobby or even simply an occupation, this was Mrs. de Jong-Stout’s life’s work.
She has published multiple books on the topic, her work featured countless times. And, through it all, you can see these heavily artistic themes of curation, balance, and “reaching,” as Pete himself puts it.
“If we only had engineers and no artists, we’d be in big trouble… Everyone has a different type of intelligence,” Pete says. Likewise, everyone’s strengths and the tools we each use are different, but it’s what we do with what’s available to us that dictates where we end up and what our lasting impact on this planet is.
As much as Pete’s goal with 000 Magazine is to preserve automotive history and the life’s work of designers, engineers, artists, and others who have worked at Porsche in years past, he also wants to break the negative association that car people are uncultured knuckle-draggers.
He’s succeeding, too, as I’d liken spending time with Pete’s magazine about Porsche to going to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art much more so than I would your usual experience reading up on the automobile. Everything is done with purpose.
The result, a form of art.The Garage
When it comes to cars as a whole, Pete has a unique outlook.
Regarding our styles, our homes, and even architectural design, Pete says “we live in this current culture, which may not be timeless.”
But when it comes to the automobile, he presents the following challenge: “Name another subject that has such a combination of design, culture, mobility, social mobility, art, engineering and history? And is timeless? And ubiquitous?”
It’s clear Pete is a lover of the automobile first, and Porsche second. He says it’s really all about driving — which you would know if you’ve ever dived into a 000 Magazine — a sentiment I’m sure we can all appreciate. So how did Pete get hooked on Porsche in the first place?
Ultimately, it was by accident. In Pete’s garage he showed us the first car he ever had the displeasure of owning: a Porsche 914, now beautifully restored.
When Pete was a young lad, his brother’s “dishonest Volkswagen” (as his father called it) was not the car that Pete was keen to inherit — he was after the family’s A1 Rabbit, which he wanted to hot rod. But, with a freshly minted driver’s license burning a hole in his pocket, wheels were wheels and the Porsche became Pete’s. Of course, it was also partially happenstance that Pete went off to work with Excellence in ’97, but the rest is history.
We’ll get to the 914 sometime in the future as it’s been beautifully redone but, due to the weather — and that my wife preferred to cruise with us rather than to follow along — we opted instead to take the 991.2 through the redwoods on this occasion.
Pete tells me it’s the cheapest 911 you can buy new and isn’t exactly the spec that generally excites people, nor the one that most would choose to modify.
Except that he has, albeit mildly with TechArt springs (installed by SharkWerks with a DSC V3 controller from TPC Racing for the factory PASM dampers and 5mm spacers all around) paired with factory-option carbon-ceramic discs, making this chassis both a fun and relatively practical choice.
Despite not being a hopped-up factory version, it looks quite right and the driving experience is still distinctly Porsche. In other words, it’s very good, especially as it still retains a manual gearbox.
Besides, any afternoon spent on the backroads is guaranteed to be a good one, Porsche or not.
Over the years Pete’s driven hundreds more Porsches than I’ve driven anything and after 1,000-plus mile tests in the one and only 213-mph Ruf Yellowbird and a Carrera GT in the mid 2000s, the only natural path forward was to dabble in racing.
Pete’s done this on several occasions — one of which you can read here — but perhaps the most profound result of this driving in circles can be most easily summed up by what he penned in the introduction to 000 Issue 008 after driving a 1951 356 with an ancient crash-box at Rennsport Reunion VI.
“It wasn’t so long ago that the point of a Porsche was to disconnect. And engage. That was its raison d’être, and its message. Its driver went against the grain, saw something others missed. Twenty years ago, I didn’t want a clock in my Porsche because I didn’t want to know when I had to be back.”
It’s immediately clear that the act of driving various Porsches has struck a deep chord with Pete — particularly in this age of constant connection and distracted driving — but the way he interacts with his cars is mirrored in the rest of his life as well. He knows the name of the man who designed his house, the lady who designed the couches in his office, the person who drew the blueprints of his work space.
He’s interested in the world around him in a personal and genuine way and this shows in his work as Editor of 000 Magazine.The Price
On this note, it wouldn’t be fair to give you this behind the scenes look with Pete without touching on the aspect which I’m sure many — especially while reading this article for free — will balk at: The cost.
A year’s subscription gets you four magazines, one every three months, which total some 1,000-plus pages. But the price for this is $250 annually, and I know that’s a number that will scare many away immediately. I’ll admit, I was initially in this crowd myself.
Raising this with Pete, his initial response was that “I didn’t like the price, and I still don’t.” But the simple reality is that “this magazine costs many, many times” what other publications require to produce.
However, considering your typical Porsche owner — or essentially anyone with a high performance car — think of how far $250 takes you. “I spend more than $250 on a single tire…” one such Porsche enthusiast shared.
Ultimately, what matters is this: “How many hours of enjoyment will this give me? $250 is the price of few ads, huge features, and how many hours of entertainment?” Pete asks, regarding a year’s worth of 000.
Furthermore, what you don’t directly see when reading an issue is that Pete is often in the office until 2:00am or 3:00am on a third or fourth edit. He’s not the only one, either, and with 15 different sets of eyes reading all 250 pages before publishing — and with Pete himself reading each story seven times, including at least once backwards — it starts to make sense.
Beyond the time spent “driving a desk,” as Pete calls it, this isn’t to mention the archival photos and documents that the team digs up directly from Porsche. This is content which literally hasn’t seen the light of day in decades, some of which may never be recorded or shared again.
Add in the flights to Germany, the hired drivers, the extensive production, the incredible original imagery, the renowned authors, the countless hours of research, and paying near $60 for what is essentially a book doesn’t seem like nearly enough.
Price aside, all of this work is for a reason.
Pete explanis that reading 000 should be akin to enjoying a good meal, an experience that should be “smooth.” Like taking the perfect back road at speed, nothing should distract you. Nothing should take away from the interaction.
The fact is, a magazine should provide hours upon hours of satisfying reading, all the while complemented by incredible imagery. For the first time in a decade, I’ve found something that does this. In fact, I’ll admit I went so far as to purchase a bedside lamp simply to replace my pre-sleep routine with 000 Magazine instead of my phone.
That’s remarkable in its own sense, but nowhere else have I found feature stories often exceeding 50 pages let alone ones which I can hardly tear myself away from before reading every last word. Pete and the 000 team are creating something truly special for the community that we all love, a fact which should be celebrated.
Just as consuming 000 has become essential to my own process of creating, stopping by the magazine’s headquarters has had a lasting impact, too. While conversation varied from the “self-righteous anger” of bicyclists on the road to the joys of “driving a slow car fast versus a fast car slow,” I’d like to leave you with something a bit more serious.
The words of Pete Stout’s late mentor Bob Carlson — long-time Porsche publicist and motorsports journalist, who is also regarded as the father of Rennsport Reunion — whose famous hat now rests in Pete’s office. Talking about Bob, Pete looks at me with serious eyes and a kind smile. “What Bob was saying was… ‘Be professional.’ That one sentence was some of the best advice I’ve ever received, and arrived perfectly timed just after college.”
A sentence which has clearly steered Pete along his path, culminating in his work at 000 Magazine: “Write whatever you want — just be sure you can back it up.”
Trevor Yale Ryan