A Rat Rod is difficult to define but you know when you see one! They are often based on cars from the 1940's to the 1960's but some examples are as recent as the 1970's. Some Hot-Rods are assembed from a selection of parts usually dating around the 1930's.
To the people not familiar with Rat Rods these cars may appear unfinished and shoddy but that couldn't be further from the truth. Rat Rods were originally developed as an alternative to the glossy high-price Hot-Rods which were never driven and trailored to shows. Rat Rods are all about the fun of building and driving them and appearance take second place. The majority of Rat Rods that are seen at the shows will be dented and rusty but importantly they will have been driven there. If a part needs to be replaced then the owner will often fabricate the part themselves of fit a part that does the job equally well. If the Rat Rod is painted at all it is usually matt black or primered and often will have Maltese crosses on the doors and skull accessories such as the gear-shifter.
For the builders of these cars it is all about building a car that performs well both in speed and acceleration as well as handling and braking. For that reason the majority of the 'comfort items will be stripped away such as headlining, interior trim to give the best power to weight ratio possible. Many of the cars have heavily modified bodies and are often roof-chopped, channelled, lengthened, shortened etc.
The typical choice of engine for a Rat Rod is a V8 which would probably be a Ford Flathead V8 or an early Chrysler Hemi.
To see then entire article together with some Rat Rod pictures click here.