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What's a Rat Rod?

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What's a Rat Rod?

butch-#001 butch-#001
New User | Posts: 4 | Joined: 12/06
Posted: 12/22/06
03:18 AM

Hello, I'm new to this, But I here younger guys talk about Rat Rods.
My questions are. What is a Rat Rod?,
Where did they get started and by who?
How to build one.
What is anyones thoughts about them.
Thankx  butch. Confused  

rise and shine rise and shine
New User | Posts: 2 | Joined: 10/06
Posted: 12/22/06
12:28 PM

Butch: Alloway builders from knoxville. They build a 33 ford coupe using a Rat,s Glass Body on a Alloway Chassis. They always use a big block Chevy. 454 or 468 cu inch . In some areas 454 cu inch chevy,s are called Rat,s engine. You can call Vision Rod,s in cleveland Ga. talk to bennie . 706 348 8485. He,ll answer all your questions.  Rise and shine  Cool  

sakowskimotors sakowskimotors
New User | Posts: 4 | Joined: 02/07
Posted: 02/05/07
12:27 AM

Basically they are low buck, slapped together with whatever you have behind your or your friends garage,  quickly/roughly built, fun and driven hot rods. Most of them have a lot of great ideas that really personalize the car to the owner. Most are pretty scary to drive.
Just a whole whole lot of fun to build, and a whole lot of fun to drive trying to survive or at best not break down. Run the *** out of them, try to break them.  They have a lot of spirit in in very boring dead homogenous modern street rod world, where why build a million dollar car to compete for America's Most Beautiful Roadster when you can just go buy a Lexus with fancy rims.  They look the same, and are pretty much the same car. Boring boring boring. You could take a Lexus, shave the emblems, put on some too big ugly rims, do some cheesy interior work, and roll it into the AMBR show, might win.  Many of those cars are super cool, but many or just over smoothed, over engineered, etc..  if you want a car that looks like a Lexus sports car, drives like a Lexus,  just go buy a Lexus.
Just having fun. There were some incredible cars in the AMBR running,  but none with with spirit and heart of a rat rod. They did have a rat rod section in another building which was really cool.
Just a fun little rant.
Keep having fun with those crazy cars.
Wil Sakowski  

ekimball ekimball
Enthusiast | Posts: 344 | Joined: 01/07
Posted: 02/09/07
01:23 PM

i would'nt say it "needs" to be in primer, but it certainly does help, a little bit of patina never hurt a rat rod either. Generally they might have some pinstriping or some scallops. The general idea of a rat rod is to get the look that was captured in the early days of the hot rod, when teens didn't have money to get nice paint jobs, and cars were slammed by cutting the springs, The Rat Rods of today are sort of like an homage to the early days of the scene  

TfeverFred TfeverFred
New User | Posts: 7 | Joined: 12/06
Posted: 03/23/08
05:56 PM

A rat rod is a low buck attempt to build a hot rod. In fact, they can't really be termed a hot rod. At best they are Art Cars and a fad that is killing usable cars. About 10 years or so ago, some guy showed up at a meet and as a joke came in a piece of crap, rusted out car. Baskerville gave it the name Rat Rod. Unfortunately, some idiots didn't get the joke and thought it was a new fad and jumped on the wagon like blind fools. Everytime I hear a rat rodder use the phrase, "That's the way they built them in the day.", I just laugh and walk away. I'm an old guy and I NEVER remember anyone aspiring to own an ugly piece of crap car. Some and I mean SOME, as in a few, have good ideas, but these are few and far between. Bottomline, like it or not, building a hot rod takes money and skill. A rat rod is a way for someone who has neither to get in the game. So, build what the hell you want, but don't ever call a rat rod a hot rod. It's an insult to everyone who ever wanted to build/own a nice car. Save your money, get some skills, surround yourself with good people who know what the hell they are doing and can offer good advice. THEN build a damn HOT ROD. You'll feel better about yourself in the long run.  
We all tend to think that as we drive down the road in our rods or customs, that everyone who glances our way is admiring our car. In reality, the vast majority of people just don't get it.

Burtreyn0lds Burtreyn0lds
User | Posts: 113 | Joined: 08/06
Posted: 03/24/08
03:18 PM

The worst is when the cars are dangerous to even drive, I can't stand them. The time will come when we will look back on the rat rod "scene" and think what the heck were people thinking?  

gremlin76 gremlin76
New User | Posts: 1 | Joined: 03/08
Posted: 03/25/08
12:38 PM

hey guys i would like to say that i am building a model A RAT ROD and this is a subject that just recently i more info about just so you guys know(tfeverfred) that i buy alot of old mags off ebay and as i was recently was going thru them i found alot of evidance that would contradict your opinions and recollection of history in 3 of my 1958 hot rod magazines there are classified ads in the backs of them and in these books there are at least 1 if not 2 of the so called rat rods that you say didnt exist until 10 years ago hhmmm! and these cars are sectioned 4" to 8", chopped 3" to 6", suicide front axles, rear axle swaps, and even one with the shifter sticking out the roof.. and the history does not stop there in at least 7 of my hot rod magazines from 1959 there 12 yes 12 rat rods for sale in the classifieds with 2 referances to a RATTED OUT HOT ROD. these cars also constisted of the same mods and cutting as todays all trends start somewhere, just like the trend of down grading someone eleses idea of a HOT ROD (rat rod ) because they didnt spend as much money as you did .....your billet streeing wheel $400.00 my 472 caddy motor (that runs) $100.00 knowing that my rat rod(hot rod) ticks you off.. PRICELESS have a good one Smile  

papad papad
New User | Posts: 3 | Joined: 03/08
Posted: 04/11/08
08:14 PM

gremlin 76 came just about a close as any of you guys if any of you have been around for very long you would remember one ol dude named BIG DADDY ED ROTH  

papad papad
New User | Posts: 3 | Joined: 03/08
Posted: 04/11/08
08:19 PM

BIG DADDY ED ROTH IS THE ONE THAT COIND "RAT ROD" it refeers to his art work of the "RAT FINK" driveing a rod and that is how the term started do a google on big daddy ed roth and you will see his art great stuff and all of us back then started calling rod's rat rods  Papa D  

ekimball ekimball
Enthusiast | Posts: 344 | Joined: 01/07
Posted: 04/14/08
04:40 PM

I had never heard that story about Ed Roth, I always thought it was because the cars look like a rats nest!  

TfeverFred TfeverFred
New User | Posts: 7 | Joined: 12/06
Posted: 04/26/08
02:31 PM

First off, 76Gremlin (LOL) my project is falling WAY under $9K, I can't afford a $400 sterring wheel and I didn't know I had to share your opinion about what "I" think a rat rod is.

Now, you referenced a 50's magazine ad that advertised a "ratted out hot rod". Dude, you basicly validated my point. By "ratted out" they meant "piece of *** Back then, a car that was rusted out and looked like *** was an eye sore at best. THERE WERE NO RAT RODS! No one back then PURPOSELY went to a field, found a rusted car and just slapped in a motor and cruised or raced it and thought, Gee! This is so cool that I can see the ground through my missing floorboard!". They did what work they could, ALWAYS with the intention of getting it finished one day and drove it when it was PRESENTABLE to their peers. Also, you need to remember, back then, there was a lot of good tin still around. Unlike today, you could find a nice one owner '32 in the damn classifieds! They didn't need to scrounge the junk yards for a good car to start with.

This rat rod crap that is being built is a prime example of people who don't care about the hobby, but do care about getting attention. They go to a show, see the people crowded around a piece of crap rat rod and say to themselves, "YES! This will get me attention at the burger joint!". What they fail to realise is that, the crowd is gathered because they can't believe anyone would *** up an otherwise nice car. Much like a train wreck will get the attention of passerbys, so will a cobbled together hunk of aborted sheet metal.

The one statement made by rat rod owners is that, "This is how it was done in the day.", is without a doubt the first clue to their ignorance. I'm from "back in the day" and I know others who were and we find that reference to us an insult! There were no clapped out, rusted through heaps hanging out at the drive-ins or cruises I went to. You know why? PRIDE in what you were doing and who you were. You smucks that want to be with the "in crowd" really crack me up. There is no "in crowd"! There are, however, guys and girls who are Hot Rodders. You can't buy into it, man. You are or you aren't. These boneheads riding around in a rusted out liability suit for the sake of trying to fit in are what may end up killing the hobby.

So, build your cobbled up crap and tell all the lies you want to validate it in your mind, but know this, it's a joke that became a fad or at best, a movement by posers, for posers. Hell, I bet you think all the girls in the fifties had tattoos all over their asses too. Keep reading "Old Skool Rodz" on the sly and trying to fake it. One day, when you're older, you'll realise you were a pawn in one great big joke, that is now being marketed towards blind sheep like yourself.

See, you didn't piss me off. You just let me know that there is another *** out there *** up a nice car somewhere and building something that will have me laughing my ass of one day. Thanks for the joke you're working on. I'll have my camera ready, so you get all the attention you're trying to get.

And do some real hot rodder a favor and put that Caddy motor up for sale. Sounds like you're getting ready to waste it. Sheep.  
We all tend to think that as we drive down the road in our rods or customs, that everyone who glances our way is admiring our car. In reality, the vast majority of people just don't get it.

TfeverFred TfeverFred
New User | Posts: 7 | Joined: 12/06
Posted: 04/26/08
02:37 PM

You're right, ekimball. Papad is probably another poser who has his history all screwed up. Ed Roths cars were exercises in abstract art. His motivation being hot rods, which were popular at the time. He was an ABSTRACT artist, who just happened to be into cars.

Do a search of his bio and you'll find what I state to be correct. *** if he had been into airplanes, they would have been built the same way!

Posers who reference Ed Roth are REALLY reaching.  
We all tend to think that as we drive down the road in our rods or customs, that everyone who glances our way is admiring our car. In reality, the vast majority of people just don't get it.

dueceota dueceota
New User | Posts: 1 | Joined: 04/08
Posted: 04/29/08
12:22 PM

Tfever, I am also an "old guy" but one who is NOT so senile as to have your opinions on what a 'Rat Rod' is. My current 'project' is a 32 Ford pick-up on a shortened Toyota pick-up chassis(torsion bar front susp.),Ford 5.0 engine and A.O.D.
transmission. It contains NOTHING 'billet', extremely few items bought new, and is quite pleasant, and safe, to drive.
I proudly consider it to be a 'Rat Rod',and do not drive it to gain attention, nor do I enter shows with it. It is for the pleasure in building and driving as are the majority of the 'rods' in existance today.  

ekimball ekimball
Enthusiast | Posts: 344 | Joined: 01/07
Posted: 04/29/08
03:10 PM

Yeah, don't even get me started on the chicks with tatoo's being "traditional"  Grin Most of these people are more into a romanticized, or altogether made up lifestyle then the actual cars and hobby.  

Acespaceman Acespaceman
New User | Posts: 11 | Joined: 11/08
Posted: 11/21/08
09:11 PM

TFEVERFRED..... Wow, people that think like you are the real threat to our hobby.  Luckily you're a very small minority.

I love all rods... rat, or otherwise.  This hobby is about building, and creating something unique. Wether that be a megabuck catalog built billet everything trailer queen, or a low buck rat built from parts scored at the swap meets, and long nights with the welder, grinder, and lying on the garage floor with tranny fluid in your hair... it doesnt matter.  Putting your personal touch on the car, within your means, and having fun doing it is what it's all about.  


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