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Old 04-11-2006, 09:13 PM
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Rat Rod?

I'm new to hotrodding, fabricating, enginebuilding etc. etc. I bought a 28 model a tudor cause I saw some really crappy hotrod in a magazine called a "RatRod" and fell in love with the idea of a low buck build/ one off custom speed machine. This was about a year ago, since then I have put the drive train from a lincoln (460,C6 and 9") in a f150 frame for the old ford body to scoot around on. The more I research on the subject it seems that the Idea of a "RatRod" is the before mentioned lowbuck thrown together hateful bastard machine that with a long enough chain would pull the gates off hell, but does it have to be a certain year? Does it have to have a big block? does it have to be homeade? Does it have to be anything other than fast? I see alot of "ratrods" that are really nice and seem that they would just be a joy to drive...but is that a RAT rod? So i guess in short what is, to you, a ratrod??

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Old 04-11-2006, 09:51 PM
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rat rod


Rat rod is a newly developed name for the original hot rod style of the early 1950s. A rat rod is usually a vehicle that has had many of its non-critical parts removed. They are usually finished in primer-like paints and are often period correct. They are very often the conglomeration of parts and pieces of different makes and models.

A typical rat rod is an early 1930s through 1950s coupe or roadster with the body set low on the frame, fenders removed, whitewall tires, big-little tire combos, exposed engine bay, home-made upholstery, and lots of power. A Rat Rod is considered to differ from a Hot Rod in a number of key terms. A Rat Rod is generally considered to be a home built, low budget, one off custom that is still often driven and has many flaws and/or imperfections. In popular usage a Hot Rod is now considered to be a high end, high budget show car that emulates the early Hot Rods in style but sports flashy paint high end upholstery and generally rarely see much in the way of road time. (See Boyd Coddington as an example of new-age Hot Rods) In many ways Hot Rod is now synonymous with Trailer Queen (a car that is never actually driven but is purely for display and trailered from show to show). Rat Rods are also sometimes called Custom cars, Kustoms, Leadsleds or Sleds.

Most Rat Rods were usually not originally high performance vehicles, but usually a large 2-door sedan with a chopped down roofline, lowered suspension, and most of the trim work removed. They often sport a mixed parts from other cars, i.e. its not uncommon to see a Mercury running a Chevy motor with Dodge rear end.


R
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Old 04-12-2006, 08:17 AM
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Interesting question and if you ask 10 guys you'll get 20 different answers.

To me there is a distinct difference between a "traditional rod" and Rat Rod. The traditional rod is usually home built and faithfully follows the style of the '50s rods. It's built safe and is not necessarily a street terror since it will sport a modified period engine like a flathead or early olds V8.

A rat rod on the other hand is pretty much thrown together, purposely unfinished, not painted, not much interior to speak of, and sometimes very unsafe because of various items left off. Front breaks for instance are sometimes not included in a rat rod. Also they are sometimes built to "shock" people and safety is usually compromised to do that as well.

Traditional isn't my "thing" but they can be really cool. Rat rods IMHO are not much more than rolling junk.
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Old 04-12-2006, 09:26 AM
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That was the best definitions I have seen so far...


Rat Rod


Traditional rod


Hot rod


Trailer Queen

I think alot of people try to blur the line between traditional and rat..with more people building traditionals than Rats these days (at least the ones who show)
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Old 04-12-2006, 03:43 PM
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well maybe just my conditioning but when some utters the words "rat rod " I think unsafe at any speed
& think of this



Rat rods & trailer queens both should ride in & out on trailers

IMHO to each his own

R
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Old 04-12-2006, 10:36 PM
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Another "Rat"

Here is another version of a Rat Rod. It has a 427 Rat motor.


It was hand built by Tim Riley
Tim's rod

Rickc1955
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Old 04-12-2006, 10:58 PM
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Rat Rod?

Sorry, guys. But I've lost my Fatman catalog. Used to be a traditional rod was a thrown-together deathtrap from the good-o'l-days of street racing. A rat rod is all of the good stuff from today that you can throw into a project without Bill Gates backing it. Traditional is getting to be as expensive as restoration, and to classify anyone not buying the latest chromed dropped spindle on the market is hipocritical. Maybe the guys running no front brakes are just the ones not savy enough to figure out the mechanics. Cull the herd, so to speak. My current project has enough different parts to make a Shakespeare play look simple, and nothing has been bought from a vender(not done yet, though!).
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Old 04-12-2006, 11:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rickc1955
Here is another version of a Rat Rod. It has a 427 Rat motor.


It was hand built by Tim Riley
Tim's rod

Rickc1955
That is most definatly NOT a "rat rod", it is a "Hot Rod". The "Hot Rod" part is my opinion. It not being a "Rat Rod" is in the Rat Rod Rule book. If you drove that into a REAL Rat Rod show like the original "Billit Proof" (Before it went commerial) the guys there would have picked it up and thrown it out. It is WAY too "Good guys" for the Rat Rod crowd.

I LOVE it mind you, I am just speaking as I have learned thru the Rat Rodder I work with. Rolling in with a car like that would be similar to pulling into a Biker Bar on a Japanese "fake Harley".

Brian
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Old 04-13-2006, 12:01 AM
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rat rod?

Amen. Worked on both sides of that line.
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Old 04-13-2006, 12:07 AM
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Rat Rod?

In my not so humble opinion (opinion being the operative word):

Rat Rod - traditional style rod built to emulate original traditional hot rods. Usually these cars have no fenders and are chopped and channeled or highboys. Usually linked to the "lifestyle" as they like to call it. Most of these builds are been done by the younger crowd. Originally the term was coined for a magazine article about unfinished traditional type rods ot the 50's and 60's; but the rat rodders have taken it a step further to build cars that try to shock the general public and traditional rod builders. These rods can be in bare metal, suede, original or fake patina or rust. Their interiors are usually minimal with lawn chair cushions, aircraft bomber seats or Indian blankets

Traditional hot rod - Built by the owner, his friends and sometimes with the help of professionals in the style of the 40's, 50's and 60's but upgrading the safety such as boxed frames, etc. Usually these cars have no fenders and are chopped and channeled or highboys. Most of the parts on these cars are original to the period and are obtained at swap meets and junkyards. They use period perfect original speed equipment and pre-1965 engines. These rods can be in suede, original or fake patina or with shinny paint jobs. These period perfect cars are becoming as expensive to build as many of the restored cars and show car trailer queens. Interiors are period perfect with race car type seats or fully upholstered in vinyl or leather.

Wanna be traditional hot rod - Usually built by a hot rod shop for a customer who does not have the skills and/or the time to do it himself but likes the style of the traditional hot rod. Usually these cars have no fenders and are chopped and highboys. These cars usually use all new reproduction pieces and hide nontraditional things like disc brakes behind Buick drums. These rods are usually in original or fake patina or with shinny paint jobs. Interiors are period perfect with race car type seats or fully upholstered in leather.

Hot rod - Built by the owner, his friends and sometimes with the help of professionals in the style of what the owner wants. He can chop it, have fenders, use disc brakes, etc. He is not limited by a "style" (but should know what good taste is) but only by his creativity.

Street rod - Usually built by the owner, his friends and sometimes with the help of professionals which will definitely not shock the public. Fad T buckets, resto rods, smooth rods, etc. are just some of the styles that fit into this category. They are built to drive and were a backlash to the early traditional hot rodders who had gotten a bad name with the public for street racing. They are usually finished in shinny paint and fully upholstered with custom interiors.

NB. All of the above can be driven and are often on the road before they are completely done.

Show car or trailer queen - Built by professionals to win trophies at car shows and rod runs. Usually built as investments by gold chainers with deep pockets to boost their egos. These cars are not meant to be driven and are only show pieces. When they are sold they are usually kept on the show circuit or "collected". The odd one ends up on the street but this a rarity.

In my not so humble opinion.
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Old 04-13-2006, 12:31 AM
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Rat rod?

Just the way we get sick of these little tuna's blapping out our ears now, every old school rod wasn't our dream car. My daughters first car wont be my choice, but to her generation, she'll be hump, or fly, or whatever. Not her first choice. But if I have any influence, she will have the chance to re-create her dream car without having to spend a small fortune. We all know the crap they bolt up to cars nowadays is junk, so hopefully we wont see someone reaping a fortune off of the stuff we threw away today. Anyone seen those red baron looking triplane rear spoilers on a front-wheel-drive car?
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Old 04-13-2006, 09:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by home brew
In my not so humble opinion (opinion being the operative word):

Rat Rod - traditional style rod built to emulate original traditional hot rods. Usually these cars have no fenders and are chopped and channeled or highboys. Usually linked to the "lifestyle" as they like to call it. Most of these builds are been done by the younger crowd. Originally the term was coined for a magazine article about unfinished traditional type rods ot the 50's and 60's; but the rat rodders have taken it a step further to build cars that try to shock the general public and traditional rod builders. These rods can be in bare metal, suede, original or fake patina or rust. Their interiors are usually minimal with lawn chair cushions, aircraft bomber seats or Indian blankets

Traditional hot rod - Built by the owner, his friends and sometimes with the help of professionals in the style of the 40's, 50's and 60's but upgrading the safety such as boxed frames, etc. Usually these cars have no fenders and are chopped and channeled or highboys. Most of the parts on these cars are original to the period and are obtained at swap meets and junkyards. They use period perfect original speed equipment and pre-1965 engines. These rods can be in suede, original or fake patina or with shinny paint jobs. These period perfect cars are becoming as expensive to build as many of the restored cars and show car trailer queens. Interiors are period perfect with race car type seats or fully upholstered in vinyl or leather.

Wanna be traditional hot rod - Usually built by a hot rod shop for a customer who does not have the skills and/or the time to do it himself but likes the style of the traditional hot rod. Usually these cars have no fenders and are chopped and highboys. These cars usually use all new reproduction pieces and hide nontraditional things like disc brakes behind Buick drums. These rods are usually in original or fake patina or with shinny paint jobs. Interiors are period perfect with race car type seats or fully upholstered in leather.

Hot rod - Built by the owner, his friends and sometimes with the help of professionals in the style of what the owner wants. He can chop it, have fenders, use disc brakes, etc. He is not limited by a "style" (but should know what good taste is) but only by his creativity.

Street rod - Usually built by the owner, his friends and sometimes with the help of professionals which will definitely not shock the public. Fad T buckets, resto rods, smooth rods, etc. are just some of the styles that fit into this category. They are built to drive and were a backlash to the early traditional hot rodders who had gotten a bad name with the public for street racing. They are usually finished in shinny paint and fully upholstered with custom interiors.

NB. All of the above can be driven and are often on the road before they are completely done.

Show car or trailer queen - Built by professionals to win trophies at car shows and rod runs. Usually built as investments by gold chainers with deep pockets to boost their egos. These cars are not meant to be driven and are only show pieces. When they are sold they are usually kept on the show circuit or "collected". The odd one ends up on the street but this a rarity.

In my not so humble opinion.
You know..... that's about the best list of definitions I think I've ever seen.
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Old 04-13-2006, 11:41 PM
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The only one I disagree with is the "trailer queens". I have seen quite a few of these cars built by normal everyday folk who just want the nicest car around. I have also shown a few times in a "real" car show with a judging crew and the like (not Goodguy events or small town in the park shows) and some of these people are mentally ill, I agree. But MANY of them are NOT "gold chainers" and wealthy. They will barrow against their house to build these cars. They have jobs like you and me and just simply want to win car shows. It is their passion just like the guy who spends every extra dime and minute he has on a race car.

There are WAY more of them than the six figure show car believe me. At a show of a few hundred cars, there are maybe ten of those cars. The rest are guys (and ladies, one had a 35 Chevy coupe with a polished aluminum frame!) like you and me.

Brian
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Old 04-14-2006, 09:34 PM
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what if a guy takes modern stuff, well semi-modern and throws it together to make himself a fast car. I have just thrown together what I could find really cheap under a model a tudor sedan body that I'm not done chopping up. the suspension is the ttb ifs outof an 80's ford with the drive train out of a 77 lincoln. with a chopped and channeled model a body with all the rust holes covered upby popriveted liscense plates. I know its not pretty but when I'm done its gonna be fast and safe. The truck frame is so long that I'm gonna find or make a early style bed on it so it looks kinda lake a supercab truck. but the rest of the front end and is totoally going to be frankensteined is this a "ratrod" in spirit. I know those guys came back from ww2 and just took what they had with a little money and made it go fast. I just got back from Iraq and thought I was following in the tradition of a rat-rod, or is this just gonna be an ugly pile of junk that is fast as hell????
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Old 04-14-2006, 10:16 PM
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Rat Rod?

MARTINSR, good comment. I have to agree with you that there are many cars built for the car show circuit that are not built by gold chainers. But I wouldn't call those cars professionally built. As well I do appreciate these cars for what they are - show cars. There are many who build their own show cars, like those who build street drivable cars, just for the pleasure of expressing their creativity.

TheLastStarfighter - I would call what you are doing is building a hot rod. AS for it being ugly as hell; I'll leave judgement on that till it is done. Do you want an ugly ride? If so maybe we should create a new category for the rod magazines. Hummmm, what should we call it - ugly rod?
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