retro and rat rods, just dont get it.......

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Posted · Report post

let me start out by saying i am a 52 year old car nut that enjoys all motor vehicles and in no way am slamming or putting down anybody or any style car. i appreciate them all....... but ...... can someone please tell me what the whole rat rod or retro thing is all about, yea, back in the day, guys thru things together to go hot rodding. but in todays world, if i put effort and cash into building something, its NOT going to have rust, insualtion (or posters) on the doors, roof and floors, the paint will shine and it will have some chrome on it. so i guess what i am asking is give me your reasons (if possible, sometimes, its just a thing) why you would take the time and effort to go "backwards" in building a street rod.

this is all in fun. please keep it that way. and if by chance it doesn't go that way, please shut this post down.

thanks,

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Posted · Report post

Tubbs,

Whatever I own I want it to look and drive like show room new.

But,

The Rat Rod trend allows those who don't want to wash, detail and polish their rides, the time to just drive them.

I see this stuff at the AutoRama every year but I would not want it in my garage.

For some reason the Rat Rod stuff always reminds me of the Dr. Frankensteins Laboratory dioramas.

CadillacPat

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Posted · Report post

Al, I don't know what the real car guys and gals think about the style, but I can tell you exactly what attracts me about it. It gives me infinite possibilities as a builder to add new finishing techniques to my models. I'm not the only one or the first one here on this forum to think that building only one style or type of model can be tedious and boring.

Variety is the real attraction for me.

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Posted · Report post

I'm not the only one or the first one here on this forum to think that building only one style or type of model can be tedious and boring.

Variety is the real attraction for me.

Exactly. Their appeal is that they are not "traditional", however one defines traditional...or different, or normal, etc.

Like any other "trend" or genre of hot rodding, "Rat Rods" have evolved and will continue to evolve, and people will have their opinions about them. Some are nicely done, others not so much, and some could not care less- just the fact they exist and are created is sufficient.

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Posted · Report post

There is no "answer" to this question, there's no "explanation" why some people like rat rods... just as there's no "explanation" as to why other guys like street rods... or customs... or lead sleds or lowriders or donks or those wacky Japanese bozozukos or whatever the heck they're called or whatever. You like what you like, no explanation is needed.

It's like saying, "Ok, I like chocolate ice cream, can anyone explain how someone could possibly like vanilla ice cream?"

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Posted · Report post

Oh man, I can certainly sympathize with Al on this, I was the same way for a long time. I mean, why build something to look bad on purpose!

For me its a matter of degrees. A point where it goes to far, from hot rod to .......junk. I like patina ................. rust, not so much. I appreciate well built rods. When I see rats slapped together by some guy with no welding experience past high school shop class, with metal grates for floor boards and other questionable safety issues, I really get pissed.

But when someone does it right, I love it. Its a style that thumbs its nose at convention, both modern and traditional schools of thought. Having said that, that goes for 1:1 rods only.

In scale..............anything goes. Models are a reflection of how a 1:1 has, could, should or someday will look. All though in Ira's case, I'm not sure thats true. It's art and as such cannot be judged like a real vehicle.

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Posted · Report post

Well- 'retro' and 'rat rod' aren't always the same. You'll see a few rat rods every now and then with billet wheels, air ride suspension, and Vortec small blocks- nothing 'retro' about any of those things! B) But yes, they're usually built 'the old fashion way', with parts scrounged up from various sources.

I can't explain for everyone, but I like them because they're stress-free to own. I can leave a crusty-looking vehicle in a K-Mart parking lot without having to worry about shopping cart rash, I'll save a ton of money on wax, and I'll have fun- which is the whole point of owning a hot rod in the first place. And not all rat rods are death traps, which seems to be a commonly held opinion- in my area I've seen more second gen F-bodies and Fox Mustangs that are downright dangerous on the road than rat rods.

I also like them because they offend the traditionalists- and if you ask me, a hot rod should be offensive to at least one other person, otherwise it's just a normal car. :D

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Posted (edited) · Report post

When done correctly rat rods are rolling art, almost caricatures of real automobiles with outlandish proportions and piles of creativity. But with any trend you get the copy cats who want to be with the in crowd but don't quite get it. There are tons of poorly done and downright dangerous "rat rods" out there that are more rolling piles of junk that anything else. There are also people who have plenty of money but no sense of style who build cars that just miss the mark. Here are some of my favorite inspiration pics.

Cummins-Rat-Rod.jpg

4af6b52b-72e8-4fbf-812b-ca1.jpeg

rat1_1Y6b_1.jpg

rat2_1vUO_1.jpg

Edited by Fat Brian

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Posted (edited) · Report post

l believe, like most styles, it all started as a budget thing. Hot rodders want to go fast. With a limited budget, many couldn't afford paint immediately so they drove them as soon as possible. Unable to afford to buy everything new, guys would use whatever they had on hand or could get cheap or free. To be on the road & in the wind has always been the ultimate goal, some either couldn't afford or didn't want to take the time to "finish" their ride. Many folks actually began liking the look of these rods. l liken it to getting big brothers hand me down pants that were too big and "sagged". That also became cool fashion! l personally don't care for ratrods OR saggy britches, but l certainly respect the creativity & ingenuity that goes into these rods. You can keep the pants, though.......l agree, Chuck. A hot rod HAS to be offensive to someone!!! Great point!

Edited by Bartster

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Posted · Report post

There is a fine line between "Retro" and "Rat". Retro IMHO is to make it look like something of days gone by, where as Rat harkens back to the 60's and 70's Rat Bikes were folk made them look grungy and gaudy as all get out and now add a little (very little imho) traditional rod flavor and you have a rat rod.

BTW Al I like your avatar where you there?

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Posted · Report post

I do know locally about 2/3 of the ratrods have been taken off the street by the state most as unsafe vehicles and rightfully so!

As for art? Seen better examples rusting down in cornfields and junkyards! :lol:

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Posted · Report post

Just my opinion here - Rat rods are their own category, although blending often occurs between street rods, hot rods, traditional, and yes, rat rods. To me, the original 'rat rods' were the jalopies of the 30's, 40's, and 50's. Then hot rods, then street rods. I think today's rat rods are an expression of the rebellion of the younger generations against the uppity billet-laden STREET rods of the 80's and 90's. You likely know the type...the pastel high buck street rods with the "Heartbeat of America" graphics, and the ol' geezer sitting in his lawn chair in his flamed shorts never leaving the front of his car

For a lot of rat rods, the more extreme the better, often violating most people's 'good taste'. Some of the techniques like extreme lowering and extreme top chops are fine, but when they are designed like a conglomeration of junkyard parts (design-wise), all bets are off. The good thing about many rat rods are they are DRIVEN, and the owners have fun with them.

Everybody has their own definition of a rat rod. For some, it's a hot rod with patina like an old survivor, and for others it may be a rolling pile of worthless junk.

To each his own. I like my PERSONAL vision of a kool rat rod... but an unsafe, poorly designed junker....not really...I never liked what I will call 'goofy' cars.

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Posted · Report post

My personal favorites are TRADITIONAL style hot rods and kustoms. I am right back where i started - for all the rest --- been there, done that. Do what you enjoy doing, whether it's muscle cars, factory stock, sports cars, diesel trucks and trailers, etc.

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Posted · Report post

If I have to explain the rat-rod "thing", there is no way you will understand

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Posted · Report post

I look at it as a kind of Counter Culture, it kind of goes with the Rockabilly theme. I like it a lot and wish I could be part of it. Sometimes it might go too far for us old foggies. I think of "Rebel Without a Cause." It's kind of a biker bunch on 4 wheels! It's all of these things and maybe a guy just can't afford a $5000 and up paint job. These type cars show a lot of creativity often times, I would just watch out for the sharp pointy things. You could build an expensive hot rod and put too many sharp pointy things on it for that matter. I love this subject! :wub:

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Posted · Report post

Don, the only problem is they are not young rebellious kids. The majority of rat rod builders and owners arond here are in the 30's and 40's and claim they are doing what the first hot rodderers were doing, which is far from fact!

Most have almost what some of the shiney car guys have invested in their piece of junk! :lol:

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Posted (edited) · Report post

hey guys, this is exactly what i and probably a few others was looking for. i understand about a style of car "in its own class", i know everyone builds what they like and has certain preferences, THATS what i am after, what makes you like "rusted, chopped, poster interior, primer, if any paint at all, unground welds, and 4 different makes of cars/trucks on 1 vehicle? can i appreciate it, heck yea, understand it, thats another story. i would rather see a nice shiny flathead in a bright red painted 32 highboy. as far as 1:25 scale goes, i do have plans to venture off the pro street path with some different builds, but i dont know if i am gonna venture down the rat rod road any tiime soon.

and thanks for the clarification on the "retro" and "rat" rod definitions. it for sure is the hottest thing going right now. oh, and gassers. now i understand gassers, flat black or primer as paint, still cant figure that one out either.

hey bigphoto, yes, i was there, and many others too. they were the best show ever, i went to them from about 78 on for more than a few years. drove a few 440 and hemi powered runners to them. they even let us nuts out on the indy 500 track. THAT was fun!!! there is a great thread on yellow bullit that covers the show, that and the hot rod nats. both great shows.

Edited by tubbs

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Posted · Report post

If I have to explain the rat-rod "thing", there is no way you will understand

i really would like to hear what you have to say. anyone who has "HOT RODDING" in thier blood can, or should. nobody should have blinders on when they head out to a car show. i love talking to these rat rod guys. they're a few fries short of a happy meal, but i think we all are if we are true hot rodders.

thats the difference between me and my buddy, he says " i'd NEVER build something like that" and i say "why did you build something like that".

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Posted · Report post

I also like them because they offend the traditionalists- and if you ask me, a hot rod should be offensive to at least one other person, otherwise it's just a normal car. :D

i hear you, i remember when i was 17 and brought my first road runner home with open headers, i pretty much offended everyone in the neighborhood, especially, my dad!! Mr. 4 door buick le Sabre!!!! God rest his soul.

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Don, the only problem is they are not young rebellious kids. The majority of rat rod builders and owners arond here are in the 30's and 40's and claim they are doing what the first hot rodderers were doing, which is far from fact!

Most have almost what some of the shiney car guys have invested in their piece of junk! :lol:

I think it depends what part of the country you are in. California has always had it's share of rebellious kids (and older
:wub:
). I can't speak for the other states. Ratrodders do emulate what early hot rodders did up to a point (chopped tops, early V-8's, etc.) but after that, go off on their own. Most of the ones I've seen take pride in building their rat rods on a budget, ending up with 5-10K max invested, sometimes less. You can get a rusty ol' early body pretty cheap sometimes.

I've had people tell me what I 'should' do with my own 33 down to style, color, and grille shell, but in the end it's my choice and my miniscule budget to accomplish what I want (a semi-traditional hot rod). Ratrodders do what they enjoy, which is what I think we all should do...but that's just me.
:D

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Posted · Report post

They're not something that I'm in to, but some of them are very creative. I like the ultra low wicked look but I'd prefer if it shines.

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What can I say? I make no excuses for liking patina and rust.

I ran across this one in South Florida and almost bought it, but then why would I need more money pits in my life. Took the photograph and feel just as happy.

IMG_4347-vi.jpg

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Posted · Report post

It's like saying, "Ok, I like chocolate ice cream, can anyone explain how someone could possibly like vanilla ice cream?"

I think it is more like saying, "Ok, I like ice cream, can anyone explain to me how someone could possibly like ice cream that has been dropped on the floor, stepped on, put back in the bowl, left out for days collecting dirt, dog hair, flies and who knows what else?"

If you take an old barn find with a worn patina, get the engine running, throw some cool tires and rims on it, that's cool.

When cars are purposely built to look like junk just for the "shock" factor, that I hate.

Foose is building these type of cars now, and even uses technics to make fresh paint look old, worn and patina like, dumb.

Steve

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Steve, the reason why Foose is building these now is probably because he is following the trend and is also probably trying something different.

The idea is that no matter what you build or what you like, it's a good idea to change things up a little bit.

A builder's worse enemy is boredom, I think.

I mean, that's just my opinion.

Edited by Dr. Cranky

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Posted · Report post

i cannot understand why anyone would like a poodle skirt. or Boydster. or be overweight. or wear sansibelt slacks.

as a matter of fact, i cannot understand why anyone would be differnt than me.

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