Introduction to traditional Hot Rods
From the Know Your Cars! series.
What makes a Hot Rod a Hot Rod? Take a look at this handy video guide and check out the full article below!
Screenshot by: Chris Breeden and is from: dictonary.com
Everything in the definition above is true, but it misses the point of the Hot Rod entirely. Originally built for speed, and to be seen as a bit of a badass, Hot Rods are some of the coolest things ever created by the hands of man.
A heavily channeled Model T Ford roadster body with '32 grille shell. From the Redneck Rumble.
Hot Rods are primarily Pre World War 2 coupes, roadsters, 2-door sedans and even trucks that have had alterations performed to their suspension, frames, engines and transmissions. In fact, most Hot Rods do not have any of those original components still in place.
A Hot Rod '32 Ford Roadster. From the Redneck Rumble.
Most traditional builds are meant to resemble a period in Hot Rod history. It can be the Hot Rods used to cruise up and down the streets in the early 1960s or a tribute to the Dry Lakes speedsters of the 1930s.
A heavily modified Model T Ford roadster body on a Model A frame with a 59A Flathead Ford engine. From the Redneck Rumble 2014.
People are even starting to branch out from the period West Coast type cars to cars that might have been built without the West Coast influence. The roadster above is an answer to "What would a Hot Rod built in the U.S. South during the late 1930s have looked like?" No drag racing in the area, so the build took on the feel of an early race car, good for tackling steep, curvy & dirt roads. I think they answered that question very well!
Above: (left) Model A Roadster. (right) Model A roadster engine close up. Both pictures taken at the Redneck Rumble 2013.
Others are throwing it all the way back to before the invention of the Flathead Ford V8. The above Model A roadster has its original 4 cylinder engine in place, but is sporting a lot of vintage speed equipment
A wild '33/'34 5 window coupe with a '32 grille and custom made 3 piece hood. Photo taken at the Redneck Rumble.
Of course, you can't escape the SoCal influence in the Hot Rod world. The above coupe is a fine example of a owner putting to together whatever they had to make one super nice Hot Rod.
Above: (left) A 1935 Ford 5-window coupe. (right) A convertible 1940 Ford. Both pictures taken at the Redneck Rumble Fall 2016.
Now don't get the impression that its all about fenderless early '30s cars. Full fendered Late '30s and early '40s cars have a place in the Hot Rod world.
Above: (1st) 1932 Ford Coupe. (2nd) Auburn dash insert in the same coupe. (3rd) front end close up of same coupe. (4th) rear end close up of same coupe. All taken at the Redneck Rumble 2013.
Basic, simple, uncomplicated. The Hot Rods only desire in life is to pin you back in your seat and make you seriously reconsider the decision you made to ride/drive it. Pure and raw power are what Hot Rods produce. Coolness is simply a by-product.
A pile of cool parts turned into one bad ass Hot Rod.
So the next time you see one of these machines cruising down the road, give the driver a Fonzie style thumbs up, because you are now in the know! The next time you see one parked talk to the owner, because you have stumbled across a rare breed of car person. If you get a chance to ride in one make sure your life insurance is paid up and hop in for the ride of your life! If you ever get the chance to own one, talk to every person that asks you about it, because you are a Ambassador of Hot Rods, and whatever you do...
Keep on Cruisin'!
Art by: Chris Breeden
About the Author:
"Chris Breeden is a Social Media content creator for Custom & Hot Rod Life on DRIVETRIBE, YouTube and Facebook. After spending 5 years in Southern California, a.k.a. Hot Rod Heaven, while serving as a jet engine mechanic in the United States Marine Corps, he moved back home to Tennessee with an even greater love for Hot Rodded Vintage Tin. Since then he has worked in retail sales and the transportation and logistics industry. In 2018, seeing a gap in Hot Rod and Custom Car coverage on DRIVETRIBE, Chris began advocating for their inclusion on the platform. During the summer months, he can be found all over the Tennessee region covering car shows, meets, and cruise-ins. During the winter months, he can be found in the garage working on his custom 1949 Ford two-door sedan and 1954 F100 truck."