How Many Hot Rods?

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bob w

Still crazy after all these years!
Jan 2, 2008
Stillwater, MN
Here's a question I've asked myself many times, and I haven't come up with a good answer:

Two parts: Currently running cars and project/under construction ones.
For this exercise let's use all modified cars and trucks older than 1955.

If you make a guess, give your reason for the number you came up with.
This might seem silly in a way but there is a bit of importance to it. The bigger the hobby the less liklihood we can be legislated out of existence because we have too much political clout.
So, what do you think the totals are?????
Here's a question I've asked myself many times, and I haven't come up with a good answer:

Two parts: Currently running cars and project/under construction ones.
For this exercise let's use all modified cars and trucks older than 1955.

thats a great question to be honest with ya there are too many awnsers to that question

if ya think about it there is a third part

the cars your planing too get to some day if ya ever get all your other projects done first that means there are too many HOT RODS to do in your lifetime

and thats just if ya ask me
I have thought the same thing before. I'll see a car at a local show that I have not seen before. Or I know of some one who has a car and I hardley ever see it. I have several friends, like Bob, who have several cars. I myself have several cars, and way too many projects. okay, it breaks down like this: The city I live in is about 100,000 people. There are several local shows and the biggest is probably 150 cars. Not all shows bring out all the cars, and some guys don't go to the shows. But around here there are some of these classics still on the road, never been stored, or parked. If I started making a list, probably 500 cars that I know of, or have seen. But there are still lots more that i have not seen. But that 500 cars to 100,000 people, will change from area to area.
hum? well i know of 3 in the county i live in who wouldnt be ashamed to post their rides in RRR,, me and two other guys about maybe 50 to 75 purest, with at least 2 cars a piece, so three i would say!!! well at least where i live:D
If one of our crazy enemies gets a chance to set off an EMP explosion, the only thing on the road will be old Hot Rods. And you'll probably have to run it on Likker.:confused:

i have several friends in santa fe texas 4 all of them have at 2 on the road and 4 building,6 freinds in humble and they have at least 3 on the road as well and last i saw they had 10 in the field and 4 in the build process,i alson know another guy in santa fe who has my dream collection at least 20 drivers and 15 hes working on man thats my dream, to answer your question it depends on how many people you know ive been all around east texas and have met quite a alot of rodders,theres no way i could i could say for sure but if i had to guess around houston alone theres 12 million peoeple at least id have to say half of them have at least one rod before 1950, theres more out in the country.:cool:
WB3, I understand the difficulty in defining a "Hot Rod". I Picked 1954 as a cut off date even though in my opinion, a hot rod needs to be 1948 or earlier. I figured that 1954 would include customs and all old cars that are modified or going to be modified. I've looked at this a couple ways. How many mambers do NSRA and Goodguys have? Many thousands. How many fiberglass and aftermarket steel bodies have been made? Look at all the hot rod parts manufacturers. It's big business.
Another way to look at it is there are 305 million people in the country. If the average family is 2 adults and 2 children then there are over 76 million adult men. How many have a car that fits into one of my categories? A million? A hundred thousand? What do you think???
I would think that 1 million is a good number , I also think that as far as legislation looks at it , they are only going to consider how many are actually titled registered and insured , there is a huge number of rods that are under construction that may never show up on their radar.
That's like asking how many licks to get to the center of a tootie pop?

Now, that'll take a back a few years.
I have thought that there are more hot rod projects to be found in the garages in towns and cities than on farms in the country. Potential hot rods, whether started and never finished, finished and put into the corner for decades or dragged home and never touched are everywhere. For every running rod on the road there has to be 2 or 3 cars like the ones I just mentioned. I have friends that have only one running hot rod and no projects. But I have just as many accquaintences that have from 1 to 30 project cars and trucks stashed away. So there could be a million or three projects out there waiting to happen. And, they wouldn't be fiberglass or reproduction steel ones (except for some early manufactured fiberglass T buckets stored away). Then, there's the older restorations that come up for auction or at estate sales that the wealthier among us can afford to remake into rods. Throw in the yet-to-be-manufactured steel and fiberglass rods and you could have a total of 3 or 4 million. The hard part will be finding rear wheel drive donor cars in the junkyards for driveline or suspension parts.
A friend of mine, who works part time at an early Ford parts store, and has been a T and A restorer and modifier for decades offered at lunch a few weeks ago that there are over 100,000 restored Model A's in the country. He would know. For every restored Model A you see, I'll be you see 10 to 100 rods of various types and kinds. There's gotta be a lot of hot rods out there.
Depends on your perspective, I guess. I have 4 friends that have at least two running or project cars. Then I know a few people that are like me that have 4, 5, or more projects. The problem is when you step away from your box and look at the general population you'll see that for every person that is a rodder there is 20 or 30 people that couldn't care less. If you extrapolate that out over the 240 million people in the country you're probably looking at around 8 million rodders of some form or another.

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