Rat Rods & Hot Rods

So Whats the Difference?

Article: C.A. 8/9/10

Photos: Gabor Mereg & D. Arredondo


So what exactly defines the difference between a Rat Rod and a Hot Rod?
A fundamental definition for the word  “Rat Rod” is:  a semi-restored Hot Rod that is intentionally left with the appearance of being incomplete.

The Rat Rod is created of the thought of awaking a (pre-WW II) vehicle from the dead and embracing its natural form of deterioration, rust and all, while the Hot Rod is immaculately restored and customized for high performance.

Rat Rods grow old gracefully while Hot Rods go under expensive cosmetic procedures to appear like new.  Rat Rods are daily drivers better left unwashed, while Hot Rods only come out to play in shows and require the high maintenance of wax and polish.

Rat Rodders resent the restrictive high standards of Hot Rods, while Hot Rodders  dislike the neglectful nature of Rat Rods. The tattooed Greaser and outrageous  Rockabilly  are often credited as influencing the shape of the Rat Rod, while the affluent retiree is accredited  for spending without restraint to achieve Hot Rod perfection. 


There are several definitions for a Rat Rod....It just depends on who you are talking to. People  put too much strain on definitions anyway. Build  it like YOU desire as long as it is nontoxic.






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Rat Rod

Rat Rod

Rat Rod

Hot Rod

Hot Rod

Hot Rod

Hot Rod