Hot Rods Are Cool, Still and Forever

June 24th, 2011

1935 Ford Custom

In the car world the really creative hot-rod nuts who toil in crummy backyard garages or expensive custom workshops are the ones the car media ought to celebrate. But mostly, they don’t get no respect.

Hemmings compared the gorgeous Chip Foose creation above, a 1935 Ford Custom Coupe, to cars of the past created by custom coachbuilders. Or, as one commenter (Rick Block) put it:

Nowadays, folks like Chip Foose create a completely different chassis and mate an engine unrelated to the chassis. I think it would be more fitting to say Foose etal would be called constructors, much like the english and/or american sports car companies such as Shelby, Caterham and Lotus [sic].

Hot rods are really a combination of both approaches, and we’ll show you a few we like. The U.S. Senate, which can’t do anything much else these days, has designated July 8 as “National Collector Car Appreciation Day.” Collectors and restorers of old cars deserve to be celebrated.

Original 1935 Ford Coupe

Here’s an original 1935 Ford three-window coupe, like the car that inspired the Foose concept.

1932 Ford Deuce Coupe RoadsterThe classic “deuce coupe”-inspired 1932 Ford Roadster, the car that hot-rodders have always loved to transform. This one is by Rick Smith of Quincy, Mass., and is powered by a much-modified small-block Ford with Weber carbs.

1933 Ford by John ReidAnother Ford classic, this one a 1933, by John Reid of New Zealand. Power comes from a hemi with twin carbs.

1953 Studebaker Coupe projectWeird hot rods abound. This one is a ’53 Studebaker being worked on at Brown’s Metal Mods, a shop in Indianapolis. The final result may not be weird.

CadzzillaNow one from Boyd Coddington, the hot-rod king who died three years ago. Above is the Cadzzilla, designed by Larry Ericson and built by Coddington for Billy Gibbons of the rock band ZZ Top. Price was around $900K.

Foose Hemisfear CoupeThe Foose Hemisfear came from Coddington’s protégé and is really the ancestor of the 1997 Plymouth Prowler. Look back at the Ford roadsters, and you can see the clear heritage.

Have you ever owned or built a hot-rod? Tell us about it.


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Used Plymouth Prowler

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    1. Randy
      June 27th, 2011 at 18:41 | #1

      Nova wagons are quite rare, I sure wouldn’t cut one up for a hot rod.

    2. Jason
      June 25th, 2011 at 12:32 | #2

      There are some cars that need very little work. I was walking through a rough part of East Oakland yesterday and came across this fine 67 Chevy Nova Wagon. Hot and Rod without a lot of work.

      The one I saw was the same color, but not in nearly as good shape as the pics above.

    3. Randy
      June 25th, 2011 at 08:14 | #3

      I’m solidly on the side of accurate restorations. There are so many classic cars around here that have been butchered into hot rods that going to a show and seeing literally hundreds of them, it actually becomes boring. With that kind of field, a clean, accurate restoration really stands out and I doff my hat to the owner who resists the temptation to chop and channel to give us a glimpse of what motoring was like eighty years ago.
      On the other hand, I did grow up on the custom creations of guys like Dean Jeffries and George Barris. While yet another 32 Ford hot rod is not exciting, one-off stuff like Monkeemobiles, Batmobiles and Munster coaches are pretty cool.

    4. June 24th, 2011 at 23:12 | #4

      Love Hot Rods but not inpressed by factory built Boyd coddington type business cars, build it yourself is the way to go not shop bought

    5. June 24th, 2011 at 15:19 | #5

      Anyone who likes hot rods and ZZ Top will probably dig this video:

      No Cadzzilla, but the Eliminator was pretty hot, too.

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