For many years the hot-rodding community was dominated by rich dudes with the money to have chromed out pillow queens built to their exacting specifications and the show circuit became the home of matching VIN judging. The only place the regular guy on the street belonged in this world was in the crowd dreaming of might have been and wondering if they could take a mortgage out on their old ladies to pay for a new set of chromed headers. Rat Rodding changed all of that. First coined by Hot Rod magazine editor, Gray Baskerville the term has come to describe a class of hot rods that basically has no rules. Most rat rods are based on retro rides from the 30s-60s but don’t have to be. Take whatever you want. Do whatever you want to with it as long as you make it look cool and run fast.
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Our first offering is not only a head turner, it's a lung choker. Built by Katastrophic Kustoms the Katarod is a 5.9L 12-valve supercharged Cummins diesel engine powered chopped and dropped 1931 Ford rat rod of the highest order. Bellowing black diesel smoke in sharp contrast to the white tire clouds it generates along with that unmistakable diesel thumb make it a total sensory experience that might make grandpa in his little t-bucket small block want to talk about a trade
Kaysey Weasel, yes that is his real name, brings us a true work of the rat rodders art in the form of a 1930 Ford that just couldn’t stand too many more mods. It has been chopped, slammed and had its nose stretched out to accommodate a Mutha Thumper Cam driven 468 cubic inch Chevy big block complete with dual quads, Dyers Supercharger, and open headers. Between the whine from the supercharger and thump from the headers, this earth shaker will make the most steadfast motorhead reach for earplugs.
Imagine Will Smith’s Jim West crossed with Mad Max and what you might end up with would be the diesel-powered “Prius Repellant." Studded steel framing on the body with hardwood inserts, gnarly, knobby tires, putridly patterned wheels and the horrific intake on the diesel engine make this beast look like a creature Herr. Frankenstein might have dreamed up if he was running late for work during a zombie apocalypse. This is the stuff of dreams or nightmares, take your pick.
Rudy Rodriguez’s unfinished 1934 Ford truck first appeared in American Rodder magazine back in 1991; saying it was not well received would be an Olympian size understatement. Hot rod purest from the everywhere called it everything but pretty but little did they know that this truck would be an inspiration to millions of people who loved rods but weren’t Big Daddy Deep-pockets. When it was finally finished it Rudy’s Rod featured transversely mounted leaf springs, a 1932 Ford dropped front axle and was a powered by a 239 ci Ford Flathead V8 circa 1948 chugging fuel through Stromberg 97’s.
Most people would never think of taking a Rolls Royce and chopping it up into little pieces to make a thoroughly American style hot rod, but then most people aren’t English rat rod enthusiast Sam Hard. The story goes that after having a shot or 15 at a SEMA show in Vegas Sam decided to find a Rolls and build his own rat rod. As luck would have it, he found an English nobleman with a talking parrot in his fly who parted with the basis that became this Chevy LS6 powered, one-ton pile of brushed aluminum.
Ricky Bobby’s Rod Shop is legendary in Tennessee, and since appearing on the Discovery Channel’s Rebel Road, its owner Ricky Brown has become a star in the rat rod community nationwide. On the show, he and his crew worked 16 hours a day to finish the beauty that you see here in just 28 days. We think if you take a close look at this gem, you will be able to figure out who won the competition, but here is a clue because I like you, RB.
What happens when Hot Rod magazine’s Finnegan and Freiburger get a hankering to visit their favorite bar which just happens to be located in the middle of nowhere Arizona. Well, of course, they take a handy Willis Jeep body, a spare Chevy V-8 that just happened to be laying around the house and a few spare parts and build the street demon that you see pictured here. The Willis was never meant to win any beauty contest, but we have to admit for a rat rod this one is pretty hot.
Have you ever meet some guy or gal and every fiber of your being screamed at you to stay away, leave them alone or else regret it in the morning. That is the effect this rat rod has on nearly everyone who sees it. That humungous big block, those twin blowers, and those heat tainted headers are bad enough but whatever is in that tank on the back might just kill a fella.
The Bat Mobile has been a fixture of American culture since it first appeared in the 1940s and it would appear that this Bat Rod has at least one piece from every version of it that has ever appeared on screen or in print. Built on the body of a 70s era Corvette body it sports massive bat wings on its tail, flared front fenders, a circa 1950 Nash nose and hood ornament and mandrel bent pipes that look like they could double as a flame thrower. Can you say, extra-crispy bad guys?
Up until now, we have been showing you the best of the best of what a rat rod should be. While there really is no wrong way to build a rat rod it should be remembered that the whole point is to create a thing of beauty. The rest of the cars miss the mark so wide that they don’t even come close to being ion hand grenade range. Here we have exhibit A; rat dud, not rat rod.
Ed Roth may have been a hell of a hot rod artist but he apparently didn’t know squat about what rodding was really about. Here we have a 1980s Honda Civic CVCC that they try to make cool by putting Big Daddy’s name down the side of it. A gold plated turd is still a piece of shit and while the Civic was a great economy car in its day it is about as far away from being a rat rod as you can get.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and it rarely pays to question an artist's intent, but sometimes you just have to shake your head and say, "huh!" Supposedly the guy driving this car only spent $1,800 turning a Corvette into whatever the hell this is supposed to be. Why would you put a Tahoe engine in a Vet? Why would you take it from fuel injected to carbs? It makes sense then if you're dumb enough to do all of the above your friends will hate you enough to take a picture as evidence of your extreme stupidity.
Some cars, like any 30 something Ford or Chevy from the 50s, just naturally make great rat rods. Then there's some that just can’t make the cut no matter how hard you try. This Miata is a prime example. The leather office chair is kind of cool and you have to love the way they used upholstery takes to shave the door handles, but you can only do so much with a 3-foot frontend holding a 4-cylinder engine before it all becomes kind of a joke.
The White Knuckle Wharf Rat Rod, say that three times real fast almost got left off because it’s not that bad but damn sure not that good. Maybe it is just the lack of craftsmanship, perhaps it is just that a tractor engine doesn’t look right or maybe it would help if someone washed it once in a while. For whatever reason, the WKWRR is one of those great ideas that somehow got lost in translation.
This rod is wrong on so many levels that it is hard to know where to start or stop for that matter. First, it is VW van, and the horns and chains don’t make up for it having the power of a Hot Wheels car. Then, you have the fact that it has been customized to the point that it looks like it was abandoned where it sits some time in the late sixties, or maybe they just decided to have a car show in the field where it died.