What is Influx Magazine?
It’s a celebration of all things cars, bikes, people and culture. But how did it all begin and who is driving it? Long-time contributor Michael Fordham explains all in this Origins Story.
There are a million things to call Influx. Call it a customer magazine. Call it a digital platform. Call it a sneaky way for the people that make it to have fun and adventures in cars and on motorbikes. Call it a piece of marketing — one that ‘situates Adrian Flux Insurance Services at a unique place in the saturated market of insurance providers’. It is all those things. And it is none of them. Because what Influx really is, is a way to tell stories.
And boy do we need them right now? Positive, human stories we mean. Stories that celebrate through honest documentation. Stories that treasure the energy and commitment that goes into people’s relationships with their cars and motorbikes. Stories that focus on what it means to move, move, move. Stories that go a little deeper into the passion that so many of us feel for the things that help us do all the moving that we love so well.
In this time of inertia, we need moving stories more than ever.
How old is Influx and why was it created?
Influx hasn’t arrived fully formed in your inbox. It is actually the crystallisation of 15 years of evolution. The process of natural selection has drawn in thousands of people; thousands of cars; thousands of motorbikes. It has waxed and waned through regular print editions in a fistful of different formats, bridging the immense and powerful rise in the power of the internet to morph into pixels and moving image, popping up in print now and then and in real world events occasionally to form a living breathing depository of stories that will stick around forever.
Influx is an incremental biography of everyone who has been involved in making it. And that’s why these things retain their power. You can probably feel the corny automotive metaphor here peaking across the horizon. The team that makes it is still powering along the highway – hungry for whatever lies ahead.
But let’s rewind a bit. How did the idea come from in the first place? For a bit of context – you have to know a bit about Adrian Flux. The man, the family and the company he created. Adrian was passionate about cars. He loved to drive them. He loved to fettle them. And he had a hard time insuring them, not just because he was disabled. The tweaks and mods he made — and the kook factor of the cars he drove themselves, twisted the collective melon of the insurance brokers who were trying, with degrees of reluctance, to flog him insurance cover. So, like every entrepreneur – he decided he would form a company, his own, that helped provide a solution.
Realising that this was actually a thing – that you could build bridges between the enthusiasts who couldn’t find the cover they needed and underwriters who couldn’t work out how to work out the commercial element of unusual risks – he slowly and steadily from the early 70s built, with his family, a unique company – one that spoke directly and with a clear voice to the punters, and at the same time built great relationships with the industry that enabled them to give great deals to those punters.
The culture that he created within the company handed that no-nonsense approach down to his peers. They took up the mantle with relish and established Adrian Flux as the go-to specialist broker of cars and motorbikes. They did things differently from the mainstream. That resonated with people like them, folks that shared that passion — sometimes a bit of a twisted passion — for the things they drove.
Inspiration from Intersection Magazine
The company and the world around it evolved. Though the things the firm did reached out into all sorts of areas within insurance – that personal, stripped down approach remained constant. So in 2004, when a magazine called Intersection was cast across the Flux desk, there was a bit of envy — and a lot of inspiration.
Intersection was a groundbreaking, if short lived, consumer magazine that was unlike anything you’d seen before. It was a style magazine with cars and bikes at its heart. Art directed and edited by the sort of hip kids you never find in the offices of motoring magazines – this lot made something that reflected a dynamically changing attitude to what cars and bikes could be. Design and aesthetic was front and centre. It was created with the kind of lens you’d find in fashion – tied together with storytelling around the global subcultures that manifest in car cults and bike tribes. It was a heady mix. Flux wanted in.
So, taking that spirit with which the founder of the company had back in the 70s, Flux knocked on Intersection’s door. The idea was to create something that drew in the dynamism of Intersection – for a focussed pool of passionate, UK-based people who loved their cars and their bikes. At the heart would be aesthetic – but also experience. The first two editions of Influx did that perfectly and set a tone that resounded.
In 2008, Influx decided to focus less on repurposed archived content and take the publication in-house to produce new tales. For the first time, original real-world stories were created especially for the mag. It was more accessible and easier to get your head around – but was still shot with exactly that off-kilter attitude and storytelling that had sparked the idea in the first place. For the first time, the magazine was mailed out to tens of thousands of Adrian Flux customers. It was a kind of offering for being part of a like-minded crew. At least that was the idea.
Four editions followed in that format. There were road trips. Profiles with automotive legends. Think pieces on the philosophy of movement and fashion shoots in freezing Februaries with Ford Cortinas. A genuine audience began to develop – one that for the first time, in early 2009, manifested in a digital platform. It was called a blog back then, but that really meant it was a way to speak to the people directly. Two more print editions followed, issue seven a pocket-sized slice of premium print goodness and now as rare as hen’s teeth. Issue eight is the complete opposite – a 100% illustrated broadsheet in which 12 cutting-edge artists were commissioned to produce original automotive artwork. Drop us a line and we might send you one.
Award-winning video-led content on YouTube
After telling stories in the written word, the next giant step was to make Influx video-led – a first in the insurance sector. Numerous awards nominations followed, as did millions of views on YouTube, and the films, with supporting articles, continue to be crafted every six weeks to deliver watchable and readable content across the world of motoring.
Here and now we are moving into Influx’s fourth act – taking the website into the mainline Adrian Flux banner. Not only is it a reminder of who makes it, and why, but it will help readers discover some of the other stories Adrian Flux is telling via other engaging content hubs such as Forever Cars, Forever Bikes and Cult Classics – to name just three.
It will allow more people to be able to enjoy the reams of motoring content, enable us to tell more stories, engage more deeply with what it means to move – and as the world tips back into the movement we have all missed, we can meet out on that highway once again.
Got something to tell Influx?
Perhaps you want to give us your thoughts on an article or film we’ve already produced. Or maybe you’ve got a suggestion for something we can tell a story about in the future. Either way, whatever you’ve got to say, we’d love to hear from you so please get in touch.