RatRod design trends

Rat Rods Rule

Help Support Rat Rods Rule:

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


Well-known member
May 31, 2012
Holmes Co, Ohio
I have noticed what appears to be a move toward more recent models as the starting point for ratrods. Am I misreading something? What I mean is there are more 60's and even later vehicles being rebuilt (it seems to me), in place of the 30's models, often with a tractor grill, or something made from scrap.

(Part of the reason I'm asking is that I bought a Farmall M radiator shell some years ago, and I'm thinking now that the plans I had for it will never happen, and I need to clean out some stuff. So wondering if there is any demand for that sort of thing anymore. I have the grill shell, the hood, and the gas tank. I was thinking of a sort of 20's racer design, with the fuel tank as the "boat-tail" rear section, and hoping to find a MoPar straight-eight flat head.)
Shock rods and art type cars seem to be out of favor anymore. Pickup cabs with tractor grills aren’t very common anymore, either. I saw several “ patina” type cars this year, mostly 50’s and 60’s models. Cars with updated drivetrains and interiors and more rust than paint on the outside. They look unfinished to me. I understand a faded, thin in spots factory paint job, but when most of the paint is gone and only rust remains, I’m [. We used to call those beaters, work cars, or fishing cars. Not what you wanted to drive with your good clothes on.

Like Lowbud said, build it like you want, you only need to please yourself![cl
Your parts could be a good start for a rat/speedster.

Wherever rat rods came from, the idea exploded in many directions. None of it will have universal appeal.

For years I left my Anglia in the spectator lot at shows because it was in primer. Times have changed.
I myself have moved away from the so called rat rods too, in the build part.
In the last two years I've only done one rat rod and I'm finishing up one 37 Chevy truck with original frame mustang ll front end and fenders.
The folks I have been building for are wanting Chevy trucks 47-53, 68-72, 73-87 square bodies.
Build what you want for yourself but be cautious when building to sell, the customers are fickle on what they want and can change their mind in the drop of a hat.
Build what you want for yourself but be cautious when building to sell, the customers are fickle on what they want and can change their mind in the drop of a hat.

That's the truth! "Rat rods" don't bring much money these days for sure! Hard to make a profit building cars in the first place! Best to build something you like and then drive the wheels off it!

I do all my builds with the thought in mind..."how much will I loose on this project???"

I would also try to keep so it is salable on the other end when it is time to send it away...

Freak shows on wheels are a hard sell for sure...

Good luck which ever way you go...

Economically speaking, building a rat rod for $7,000 and selling it for $5,000 is far less of a loss than building a show winning car for $250,000 and selling at auction for $150,000 plus expenses.

When I sell a car I feel fortunate if I get the cash spent on it back. My labor is free. The payback for me is the fun of building and driving it.
You mean if I sell my build I have to make money on it?

Gee wiz! Seems like I'd have to sell it for 250,000 to make 10.00 on hour on it.... LOL

But I am having fun!
Most vehicles we have owned, fun or family car, we usually keep them until there is very little life left. Case in point, we had a used 1997 Taurus. Not too sure how many miles were on it but by the time we got rid of it, junked, it had a busted. brake line, broken motor mount, busted radiator and the trans was gone. We had it for about 15 years. The radiator partition for the trans cooler section broke and the trans fluid was in the water. Right my 02 Dakota has 165K on it and every time I slam the door a piece of rust falls off but it still runs. I very seldom sell cars but when I do I usually don't make money. Jim
The ratrod term has been so overused that the average person calls just about anything in flat paint a ratrod....
My Hercules gets called a ratrod by people of all ages 'cause that's what they've been fed by the various media.
To me it's pure hotrod (another *******ized term...:(), though trying to explain the difference to the uneducated generally goes over their heads...
I just let it go with the satisfaction that they at least recognize that it is different than the average clone mobile, an expression of my individuality
Ratrod, sports car, hot rod, street racer, performance car... etc... I prefer nice car, thumbs up by the passerby and all the other friendly things people say...

Latest posts