2011 must be the year of the hotrod tow truck or something, because everywhere I go, I find myself surrounded by them. They must see what I drive and just assume that I need help anytime I stop. Anywho… As promised last night, I have more pictures from the ungodly awesome Milltown show. Tonight’s display of hotness is a hot rod wrecker of epic proportion. It’s low. It’s menacing. It’s basically everything I have ever wanted. After spending about 15-20 minutes staring at this truck from every angle, I can assure you that it is bigger and badder in person than it is in the photos. Keep that in mind.
Also worth noting: Notice how all the people in the above picture are staring in different directions. A strange moment in time no doubt!
“Rat Rod’s” have been the new cool thing to build for a few years now. They are a great part of the automotive community in my opinion because they are cheap, simple, and quick to build. Most have V8’s, and zero excess weight which means they fry the tires just fine. Some of them even stop! The vast majority of these often derelict-looking vehicles would likely not be back on the road otherwise, so assuming they are safe for the road, how can you not love them? They are cheap, fast, and with the right drivetrain – reliable. Could it really be possible that “Rat Rods” have beaten the old automotive saying of “Cheap, Fast, Reliable – Pick Two” ?
*Notice that I put “Rat Rod” in quotes. That is because some Hot Rodders find that terminology offensive for some reason. I can’t understand it because I have just as much respect for “Rats” as I do an unfinished Hot Rods or 100 point restorations. When you pour your heart and soul into a vehicle, it shows, whether it is waxable or not. For those of you that do find the “Rat” terminology offensive, just pretend I said “Hot Rod”.
There are a few cars out there that I’m basically in love with, and this is one of them. I see this car at all the local car shows, and my friends have to literally drag me away from it kicking and screaming every time. I can’t get enough of it. If you think it looks good in the picture, you should see it in person. The body lines, the stance, chopped roof, stainless trim, subtle body mods, engine bay, and interior are all perfection. As far as 1950’s customs go, it just doesn’t get any better than this in my mind.
Each weekend I find myself at car shows, junkyards, swap meets, and generally surrounded by the car culture. This past weekend I was at a swap meet that we call “Amherst”, but it’s actually called “Cruising To Amherst”. I have been going there on the last Sunday of every month for as long as I can remember, and it is always a great time. There is never a lack of bizarre cars for sale or interesting people people to watch. I usually bump in to old friends, co workers, and sometimes even cars and parts that I used to own!
This month was no exception for interesting people and cars. One of my favorites was a 1933 (I think?) Chevy that appeared to have been freshly pulled out of a barn. The body itself wasn’t that bad, but the running boards on the sides were almost completely rotted away. I don’t really know how that’s possible, but hey, whatever. The frame was cover in grease from looooong ago so it wasn’t too bad looking in the grand scheme of New England cars. I was afraid to ask what the price tag was, because I’m often left flabbergasted, and I wasn’t mentally prepared for that type of risk so early in the morning. If I had to put a number on it, I think $1500 is probably a fair estimate of value for a car like this.
– It was a complete car
– You won’t need to hunt down little odds and ends that nickle and dime you to death.
– You may be able to get free delivery if your local?
– Cool looking car
– The metal is fairly straight
– Quite Rusty
– Needs lots of time and money invested to restore it
– 4 Doors, not as desirable as the coupe
– Your significant other will not like this in the yard / garage / property. You may be kicked out of the house.
1A Auto Blog Readers: What would you guys and gals value this car at?
In my never ending search for greatness on the internet, I came across some sad looking cars that gave me a really great idea (for you, not me…). Ok, are you ready for this? These four words might change your world forever, so I hope you are sitting down. Seriously. Ok… here goes…. “Rolls Royce Hot Rod”. That’s right folks! Live the life of luxury with hand built quality, the finest metals, and do it on the cheap! “But how!?” Well, with the Nutt’s & Bolts Blog Guide to greatness of course!!
Nutt’s & Bolts Blog complete guide to greatness – Now featuring more Luxury!
Step 1) Start with a parted out Rolls from eBay for like $700. Doors and trunk lid are recommended but not completely necessary. (Home made tube doors will work fine in a pinch.)
Step 2) Build a custom boxed steel frame, with a junkyard IFS, and a usable junkyard rear differential (welded of course).
Step 3) Pull that spare 350 out from your shed, and shove a 8-71 blower on it. (Trust me on this, do what I say, and you will be the coolest person in your neighborhood.)
Step 4) Gut the interior of the car of anything that has mass. Throw it all in the trash or sell on eBay for maximum money recoupage.
Step 5) Rig up a manual transmission of your liking with a universal hydraulic master cylinder setup. Piece of cake.
Step6) Add drag radials to the back & tub floor pan as necessary. Any wheels that bolt onto the front will be fine. Black steelies maybe?
Step 7) Be sure to paint it flat black, and get the car as low to the ground as possible. It’s the only way to succeed.
Step 8 ) Burnouts, donuts, and jealous friends and neighbors will soon follow. Be ready for high 5’s, gift baskets, and invites to pool parties. So much win, for so little investment.
In the early days of hot rodding, there were guys putting big engines from big cars into vehicles that they had no business powering. Flathead V8’s, Zephyr transmissions, multiple carb’s (sometimes even hooked up!), and quick change rear ends were all the rage. Each hot rod builder wanted to be faster, lower, smoother, and more custom than the next guy. Car customizing was pushing the limits of what could safely be driven on the street. As cars evolved so did the hot rodding scene. Muscle cars came and went and so did the days of factory emissions parts stealing your horsepower. After writing yesterday’s blog about what to do with my 1960 Pontiac project car, I began to wonder who really is driving this hot rod scene forward in 2010? What is a hot rod? Who is still customizing cars and is it the same style as it was several decades ago? Has everything been done?! Is hot rodding only hot rodding if it is an old car? American? Foreign? Gosh, so many tough questions.
In high school, my friends and I were minitruckers (don’t hate!), so we were all about laying our trucks as low to the ground as possible and tucking lug nuts in the fenders. If some part of the truck prevented us from being low, it would simply be removed. One cool fall day I was building a boxed steel frame, triangulated 4-link suspension, and air ride setup for a friends Toyota truck, and my dad walked outside and watched me work for a few minutes. He then said “This is just like what we used to do when I was a kid. This is hot rodding.” For whatever reason those words stuck with me, and in my mind it holds true. I feel like if you are modifying your car in a way that other people aren’t doing, don’t like, or don’t understand, you are probably hot rodding.
What’s your definition of Hotrodding? Who is doing it?