Friday, October 12, 2012

So Just What Is A Rat Rod?

A rat rod is a style of hot rod or custom car (or truck) that, in most cases, imitates the early hot rods of the 1940s, 1950s & early 1960s. Originally the Rat Rod was a reaction to the typical high priced custom Hot Rods or Street Rods of today, many of which seldom are driven. Rat Rods are always meant to be driven. Older cars and trucks in poor condition are often advertised as candidates for Rat Rod conversions.

The typical rat rod is a 1920s through late 1940s sedan, coupe, roadster and sometimes even a truck. These early American Automobiles often have their fenders, hoods, running boards, and bumpers removed. In addition bodies are usually channeled over the frame, and sectioned, and the roofs chopped for a lower profile. Oh! Did I mention Loud!

1950 and 1960 Rat Rods are rarely constructed without fenders and are often customized in the fashion of Kustoms, Leadsleds, and Lowriders. These cars usually have their tops chopped, trim removed and grills modified. Tail lights and other miscellaneous body parts are often from other makes and models.

Frames from older cars or light trucks are sometimes preferred for the chassis. In some cases the owner will purchase a custom frame or design and build it themselves. In other cases, a Rat Rodder may use a small pick up chassis such as a Chevy S-10 and place an older car body on it, to get the look of the classic, with the reliability of the modern vehicle.

Rat Rods always appear unfinished, with primer only paint jobs at most. Satin or matte black and other flat colors are also common. Other finishes may include natural patina or the original paint with rust and blemishes. Interiors of Rat Rods vary from fully finished to very little to none.

Any engines may be used, the most common to be found in a Rat Rod are flathead V8's, early Chrysler Hemi engines, or more modern small block V8's from any manufacturer, especially Chevrolet.