Tag Archives: rat rods

Rat Rods

Rat Rods

A “Rat Rod” is not a Hot Rod or a Street Rod and it’s for sure not a “Traditional Rod” there’s a huge difference between them all! Traditionals are purpose built machines with a very unique look and style a Rat Rod is completely different. A traditional rod is it’s own animal with it’s own roots and followings. Hot Rods can really mean anything that been juiced up. A Honda could be your “Hot Rod” A Street Rod is usually a high dollar rod.

First things first lets explain just exactly where “Rat Rod” comes from. Back in the dust bowl days folks would grab anything they could and strap all they could to it and move across country looking for work, food or just escape from the dust. When these folks arrived in the big eastern and western cities folks called them “Rats” as if they had jumped ship and poured onto land. When these folks showed up in cars and trucks of all manor held together in any number of ways using any number of parts….. When these folks arrived in the big eastern and western cities folks called them “Rats” as if they had jumped ship and poured onto land. That’s how it started!

As folks traveled across country the cars broke down and needed to be repaired. A ” True Rat Rod” is built from anything that can be used! You were gonna have to come up with clever ways of getting your ride fixed and your family back on the road again, unless you had some money which most didnt. Folks shared parts, welded parts, taped and glued parts and even hand made things as they traveled.

You may have left in a Ford but showed up in a ChevOrdAllac. By the time people showed up they were driving all sorts of makes and models held together as best they could with everything they owned strapped to it.

Some folks started out with cars and cut them up into trucks to haul more family and things across the country. You may have left with real seats that became tires. Now you know the real story and why a Rat Rod is a Rat Rod.

About the Author
Learn more about Rat Rod Bikes for Sale. Stop by Rat Man’s site where you can find out all about Rat Bikes and what it can do for you.

The Old-Fashioned Rat Rod Is Popular Again Today

The Old-Fashioned Rat Rod Is Popular Again Today

Originally, built not for looks, but as necessary transportation, the rat rod has made a resurgence in popularity. These cars started popping up in the U. S. In the late ’40s and early ’50s, being the less expensive than their hot rod counterparts. They were unfinished as far as interior and paint, but ran. Today they are built to look similar to those from yesteryear, but perhaps it takes a little work to get that unfinished look just right.

Now there cars are built to look like those from the 1950’s and ’60s. And, many of the parts are that old. Of course, the cars have to be street-worthy, but they don’t have to look it. The engine works and the frame is sturdy, but there may be no bells or whistles. They have the powerful engines of old-fashioned cars, may use a lot of gas and may be pretty noisy to ride in.

Fanciers suggest making them from scratch. You can pick up a pretty inexpensive frame or body at most any wrecking or junk yard. Of course, the older the model, the more it may cost. It can be most any brand, Chevy, Ford, Buick or a foreign make. The body will need to be gutted and then redesigned in any fashion desired. And you can resize it, making a two-seater into only one, or raising or lowering the ride.

You’ll then need to pick or build an engine. If this is all new to you, you may want to purchase a rebuilt engine that is ready to go. While it doesn’t have to be the same model or make as the body, it does have to fit, or you’ll have to adjust the frame to make it fit. You will need the right size driveshaft, or readjust one to properly fit. The wheels and rims can be anything you want and just add tires.

Finish it how you want. Get a steering wheel and other interior parts you desire. Don’t forget seatbelts. And voila, you have your rat rod. You can paint it, but you don’t have to, as these cars are known for that unfinished look.

Rat rods are often found in car shows and parades all around the country. There are also fancier clubs in all most every region and for online chat. Because of their regained popularity, there are complete cars and parts available on many websites and online auctions. And, they don’t have to be cars, there are rat rod trucks and motorcycles as well.

Like other car enthusiasts, the rat rod can be a fun hobby and perhaps, not as expensive as other types of vehicles. It is a great way to learn about cars and how they are built and a good way for fathers and sons, brothers and friends, to spend time together. They make a great project in a high school or college auto class and you turn out with something functional as well.

About the Author
Get the low down on reasons why rat rods are back in fashion now in our guide to all you need to know about popular rat rods .

Rat Rods for Sale

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Rat Rods: The Hot Rod World’s Frankenstein

Rat Rods: The Hot Rod World’s Frankenstein
By John Battista

Rat Rods: The Hot Rod World's Dodge
Rat Rod Dodge image by JOHN LLOYD (originally posted to Flickr as Rat Rod Dodge) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
You’ve probably heard of “rat rods” or “rat rodding” or “rat rodders” before – but do you actually know what it means? To understand anything fully you’d have to go back to the beginning and for these unique vehicles, that means looking at their predecessors – the hot rods.

From HOT to RAT

“Hot rod” was a term used to describe a vehicle (usually a Ford Model T) that had been modified for racing on the street or drag strip. Classic rods were considered “hot” because of the after-sales augmentations that gave users more power and speed – rodders took a modest single carb engine with a top speed of 40-45 miles per hour (which was already nearly ten times the speed of the traditional horse and buggy) and replaced it with a dual carb single engine that let in more air and let more fuel circulate.

Hot rods were the pride and joy of many young men returning from service during World War II and afforded them an escape from the daily grind of civilian jobs and other pursuits. These cars were usually flashy (for their time) and packed a lot of hidden extras under the hood.

Rat rods on the other hand are the poor cousins of the early hot rods – and the owners actually liked and built them that way. They looked like hot rods that have been through a war of their own.

According to some definitions, a rat rod is basically an unfinished, junkyard hot rod. These ungainly clunkers were associated with the junkyard because most of the pieces for these hot rod wannabes were sourced from salvage yards and other found pieces. These ‘unfinished’ wannabes were usually put together in a way that screamed “not done” with the rat rod builder usually foregoing actual paint for a quick dash of primer with a liberal amount of rust showing through.

Rat Rods – the vehicular equivalent of Frankenstein?

These cars, for the most part, are all about “the look”. Builders and mechanics take pleasure in creating rat rods that looked like respectable vehicles but really weren’t. They have most of the requisite parts but with more than a few modifications – doorknobs that function as car handles, a large pair of pliers in lieu of an actual gear shift – if Frankenstein were a car, he’d be a rat rod.

For the most part, they were originally built on the frames of Model A’s and other cars that could be bought for a song or salvaged from junk yards – the early creations were put together out of necessity during the Depression and owners scrambled to find parts that were cheap and in fairly good condition (rust optional), disregarding the need for it to look “good”.

The Hot Rod vs. Rat Rod Debate

Most hot rod owners aren’t big fans of rats – however, they rank them far above those who have used billet rods on their American classic. Basically the biggest difference between a hot rod and a rat rod are that one was modified for speed, while the other for questionable “looks”.

Rat Rod Clubs

Ratters tend to stick together, forming clubs and putting on events just for their cars. Many members of these clubs choose to identify themselves from other folks in the car culture by wearing jackets and car club shirts with wild artwork and detailed designs. There is a whole style of cartoon artwork centered around rat rods as well. Artists like Ed “Big Daddy” Roth designed a his character “Rat Fink” to be the anti-Mickey Mouse. A green, scary mouse with bloodshot eyes and sharp teeth, Rat Fink epitomizes the “outsider” attitude of the scene. This style of artwork is still very popular and is seen on shirts at car conventions across the country.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/John_Battista/1413467