New builder questions

Rat Rods Rule

Help Support Rat Rods Rule:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.


New member
May 6, 2024
Hey! I am wanting to try and build a rat rod as a project with my father before time gets away from me. Id like to build a rat rod type of vehicle, because I think it would be a lot more fun (and quicker) than a full on restoration of like a classic vehicle. Ive already got a built 302 Im wanting to use for this project, and I can get a 5 speed manual to go with it. I can weld, fabricate, wire, do mechanical stuff etc, so I feel like this won't be too terribly difficult.

I guess my question is what is a good place to start? Like what frame, suspension, axles, bodies, etc are recommended for first time/simplicity? Are there any standard go-to options I guess. Im not going for a perfect machine, just trying to build something cheap that will be both a fun father son project as well as a fun driver.
My thoughts:
Buy something already running and driving, then personalize to your taste. You can get a lot more for your buck if you find something that someone is bailing out on. In most places the days of going to the wrecking yards and pulling out a project and a bunch of parts to build it are mostly gone. Not many yards left that deal with older stuff. It will be quicker, too. It can take years to start from a bare floor to a driver, ask me, I’ve been there, done that.
Watch places like Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, even local papers if there are any left with a classified section. Put word out with your hot rod buddies what you’re looking for.
Most importantly, have cash in your pocket. Lot of deals go down within hours or even minutes of a vehicle being posted for sale, you better have the money right then if you want a chance at it.
A lot of guys have built on s-10 platforms, but to get the right look, it only works well with some body configurations. Same as a Mustang II front end, as it can be difficult to work with on an open motor vehicle. One of the easier ways is a small pickup frame, and putting a "speedway" front axle in. But this is a Pickup style Rat. There are a hundred different ways to go, and it depends mostly on the look you are going for, and style you like.
Lots of good advice there. Depending on your confidence level. Find a project vehicle you like and think you can make run. Turn it into what you want. That's an easy way to find out if you want to dig deep enough to build one from scratch. By all means, whatever you choose, do a build thread on here and the gang will help you along. You just stepped into a room of individuals that have knowledge from mild to wild. All of them will step in with help!
There quite a few builds posted on this site. It might be worth looking into several of them. It will give you a picture of what is involved, and maybe some great ideas.

Buying a project someone has given up on, or grown tired of, or maybe has encountered health problems that will prevent its complexation are often the best bang for your buck projects to start with.

Latest posts