Rat Rods: Hot Rods or Rolling Heaps?


beverly moon rat rod

As most of you know, a recent trend in hot rodding is to rebel against the shiny trailer queens with acres of clear coat and just let the car stay rusty or even to help it along with a grinder or an acid bath. A natural “patina” or flat black primer paint job (suede) have become very popular options. These machines are known as a Rat Rods. Characterized as cars that are bits and pieces of what was available, Rat Rods offer something that a classic hot rod doesn’t:  authentic roughness.


Rat Rodders started out as an alternative to the higher priced custom hot rods that we typically gaze at in the magazines. Rat rods aren’t just for decoration; these old-styled cars are built to drive. Many of the subcultures from the traditional hot rod eras can be picked up from viewing just a few rat rods. Biker, greaser, rockabilly, psychobilly, and punk have all had an influence on how these masterpieces are created. It’s a modern throwback to the real cars that just regular guys could afford back in the day. Forget the paint…how does it run?


Some people feel that these rat rods are epitome of Hot Rodding with the builder’s customizing truck beds out of passenger car fenders and creating never before seen builds. However, the other side (hot rod purists) can see them as rolling trash heaps. None of the parts match and you wind up with half of a Ford and half of a Chevy concoction, all powered by a Chrysler hemi or a Buick Nail-Head.


For those who really believe in rat rodding, they see rat rods as an opportunity to create a truly one-of-kind vehicle using different parts from various makes and models. Many times these cars are loud, unsophisticated and uncomfortable machines. With that said though, there is something special about them that you can’t get with any other automobile. You’re able to take your favorite bits and pieces from many cars, and piece together a one-of-a-kind ride. Just the variety of grilles used is amazing.


Many of these Rat Rods are also mechanical works of art. The hours of work that utilize different manufactured parts all working in harmony is nothing short of a miracle. Also, all the creativity that goes into a Rat Rod is something you can’t get with any other type of build.


What side are you on? Do you like the classic hot rod builds and restorations or do you like the creativity and uniqueness of a Rat Rod? Remember, Beverly Moon from Hot Rod Bunny accidentally built a rat rod when she ran out of money and couldn’t afford to paint her car!