50 Cool Rat Rods You Have to See
Rat rods are a special breed, and they’re not for everyone. Compact, crazy fast and crazy cool – these 50 rat rods take the standard rat rod to the next level. Do yourself a favor and check all of these out, because they are funky, fast and furiously odd. Nothing short of cool! Give all 50 a good look, you won’t be let down.
1925 Duesenberg 8 Speedway Roadster
Built by the Duesenberg brothers in 1925, it was given to driver Peter DePaolo, who zoomed his way to victory at the Indy 500, setting a new average speed record of 101.13 miles per hour, which held up for seven years.
The engine measured 121.3 cubic inches with a supercharger thrown in that could produce 225 horsepower. This car was on the auction block and expected to fetch $200,000-$275,000, but blew that estimate out of the water, going for a cool $352,000.
By now you’ve probably noticed that half of this car is missing. That’s when you realize it’s not a car at all, but a wild rat rod.
With the front one third giving off the look of a classic hot rod, this Frankenstein-esque creation turns head with the rear two-thirds of a 1950s Chevrolet Bel-Air. For many Americans, drag racing was synonymous with the 1950s, and the Bel-Air was a huge part of that era, selling 1.7 million units in 1953 alone.
1927 Ford Model T
The Ford Model T saw its final days in 1927, with the last ones rolling off the line on May 26 of that year.
Even in the early days, people took these cars apart to build custom tractors, ice saws, and threshers. Its all-terrain toughness and durability make it into a viable rat rod even headed toward its 100th birthday.
There might be more efficient ways to scare yourself to death, but there are few more thrilling that constructing a rat rod out of a wheelbarrow. Yes, you read that right. And it’s not just a wheelbarrow that enthusiasts are using to construct these mini-racers.
The one featured above, built in the 1970s but still active in the 2010s, has a pitchfork grill, a snow shovel for a seat, and a post-hole digger serving as its rear bumper. If the headlights look familiar, they were swiped off a 1953 Mercury.
1929 Ford Pickup “Phoenix”
This cherry-red number just screams old-time speed, doesn’t it? Originally it was a stock-bodied Ford Model A, but its custom-loving owners have modified just about every single bit of it, including 2 inches of extra leg room, a hand-carved, foundry-cast Phoenix emblem, and a 383-cubic inch motor with fuel injection heads and Rochester Tri-power induction.
The car still boasts its original Stewart Warner heater for the AC/heat. This eye candy was built completely in a home garage over a two-decade period of labor and love.
1957 Chevy Wagon Rat Rod
This vehicle is a 1957 Chevy Wagon Rat Rod. It won a 2013 ‘Rat Rod Build-Off’ nationwide competition.
ITW Hot Rods in Minnesota used a .57 wagon body as the base and created a new frame. They put in a 355ci Yeoman Racing Engines Small Block Chevy engine into the vehicle. Rick Newberry later purchased the car.
1968 Lamborghini Espada
We have conflicting feelings on this one. This car is a 1968 Lamborghini Espada that received the rad rod treatment in 2018. We do think it looks cool, but who could do this to such as classic? The ones responsible are Danton Art Kustoms, a French tuning house, who decided to implement these “modifications” to celebrate the car’s 50th birthday.
They customized about every part of the vehicle, from the seats to the wheels. This Espada is about 8.2 feet wide, showing off an exposed 3.9-liter V12 engine, which goes around 350bhp. The car became available for purchase at Kissimme auction in Florida.
Jeepster Rad Rod
This Jeepster Rad Rod was spotted in 2016. The owner spent $13,000 on it with new parts, including a stainless steel fuel tank. In a video by the YouTube channel “Wheels,” he notes he uses a GPS for the speed due to the vehicle’s mismatched gauges.
We think the only flaw is perhaps the front fenders need to be stabilized, but it still looks really cool. We mean, just check out those spider headlights and the arm like parts holding the side-view mirrors.
Jason Bliesner is an entrepreneur in Illinois. He owns a bar, car wash and manages rental properties. At some point, Bliesner felt motivated to build a school bus rat-rod. At an auction, he bought a 1941 Chevy bus for $2,700.
He kept its original look but added a 12-valve 8.9L, air-ride suspension, and compound turbos. Bliesner also updated the interiors. The bus gets 15-mpg at 80-mph. Imagine the kid’s reaction if this bus picked them up in the morning.
This rat rod was completed on the popular Motor Trend YouTube show “Roadkill.” The hosts Mike Finnegan and David Freiburger, took a 1950 Ford F6 2-ton dump-truck and added a 454 cubic-inch big-block Chevy engine and Weiand supercharger kit.
Along with these additions, they used a Hooker weld-up kit for the exhaust, shortened the wheelbase. For the engine to fit, the group had to mount the engine backward, creating the vehicle you see before you.
Jim Bye from Camillus, NY, purchased a Jeep DJ-5 from eBay. As a retired letter carrier, he turned his Jeep into the ultimate mail rat rod. Bye said he removed the body and welded the frame. He went on to customize the front and rear. The Jeep has an exposed 292-cubic inch, six-cylinder engine from a 1985 GMC Truck along with Mickey Thompson tires. Bye decided to use postal service paint schemes such as the USPS logo on the left and blue and red stripes on the sides. He even included a mailbox.
Bail put in under $5000 to complete the vehicle. He said it is a big hit at “cruise-ins, car shows, and parades.” He also welcomes people taking pictures of it or even sitting in it. Thanks to his vehicle at one auto show, Bale raised more than $4,800 in three days for a Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA). Now that is something to write home about.
Hot Rod Scooter
We could not find much information on this one, but it seems to be a heavily modified mobility scooter. We think it looks hilariously awesome.
Who needs to walk at the grocery store when you have this baby? You’ll finish your shopping ten times as fast with an engine like that.
If you’ve seen Mad Max Fury Road, you might be familiar with this one. Nicknamed Crazy Frank, the car was built off a Holden FX ute and has a four-intake supercharged Chevy V8 combined with a two-speed Powerglide transmission.
Snapper also called Colin Jon Macey built the car. At a car show, some films scouts approached him about buying it. Vehicle designer James ‘Johnno’ Johnson said they “simply had to have it” for the movie. We don’t blame them.
This rat rod was built off a 1928 Sudebaker and is now fitted with a turbocharged 29-liter engine from a Patton tank. The result produces 1400 horsepower.
The creators of this monster, Blastolene Brothers, assert that Rodzilla can do a quarter-mile in 11 seconds. If true, wow! On top of that, the car stands over 7 feet. Also, if you thought the “Rod” in the nickname derived from “hot rod” or “rat rod,” you’d be wrong. It is actually named after the car’s owner Rodney Rucker.
This is a 1955 Chevy Sedan 150 Gasser built by WelderUp.
We love how they made the blower look like it literally ripped straight out of the vehicle’s hood. It looks awesome, Nuff said.
’64 Cadillac ‘Deuce DeVille’
Check out this rat rod. Matt Groover was the mastermind behind this creation. It is built off a 1964 Cadillac DeVille and contains an AM General M35A2 multi-fuel drive train.
If you want to see more work by Groover, take a look at his Southern Rust Facebook page.
Zingers were model car kits developed at MPC Corporation made popular by showman Bob Larivvee Sr in the 1970s. The idea was to create scale replicas of cars using almost full-size engines.
The models were often used to promote ISCA hot rod shows. While not technically a rat rod, we thought it was a cool bit of trivia. We would not be opposed to someone creating a full-size vehicle with this look.
What Is This?
Okay, so this car defies a few things about logic and reason. It genuinely looks like one of those cars you would find in an old Hanna Barbara cartoon (think Laugholympics, and you are in the right neighborhood). The rear wheels add to the drama and somehow serve to balance out the vehicle just enough. Yet, the fire on the sides and over-stated body styling are the real stars here… after the engine, of course.
I’m not sure how often you would drive a car like this, but I am sure you would get noticed plenty when you do. We give kudos to this guy for all of his hard work. This is one amazing piece of eye candy. If only we could hear that engine rev to complete the picture, life would be perfect! Maybe we will just stare and make noises when no one is around. Yeah, that’s it. I’m drawing my shades as we speak.
1976 Toyota Land Cruiser Fj40
Our next vehicle is a 1976 Toyota Land Cruiser Fj40. The lowered street rod version was built by Allers Rods & Customs in a shop near Johannesburg, South Africa. The mechanics said they made this vehicle because they wanted something that represented South African culture.
We guess classic land cruisers are pretty popular over there. Looking at the Fj40 itself, Allers Rods & Customs included modified front suspension, Jeep Wrangler seats, and Volkswagen Golf headlights. It also has four-pot calipers front breaks with single-pot discs and Lexus 1UZ V8. It took the team 1,200 hours to finish. We think it looks all sorts of awesome.
Monster Farm Truck Rat Rod
You’re almost guaranteed to see at least one crazy concoction when you attend a rat rod rally, but you’d be hard pressed to top this Van Rod. It’s an original 1964 Chevrolet G10 van that has been chopped, then rat rodded with a Chrysler engine that – get this – is installed backwards on top of the van’s rear axle.
It’s a far cry from the original classic flat windshield van that came standard with a 90-horsepower, 153-cubic inch engine, complete with three-speed manual transmission and optional heater and front passenger-side seat!
1930 Ford Coupe
With its exposed engine, it just screams muscle and speed. The detachable hood was the first way to intimidate your opponent.
The top speed of the original was just 65 miles per hour and the roadsters cost $385, but it’s become a popular choice for souped-up rat rods that pack a powerful punch. The classic look has extended to popular culture, where Georgia Tech University uses a 1930 Coupe “The Ramblin’ Wreck” as the official mascot of its student body. We love these stunning rat rod cars and trucks!
Hey, if you can make a rat rod out of a 1960s van and a wheelbarrow, why not a semi? This 1984 Peterbilt 359 Hod Rod. The entire truck has been handcrafted or modified to blend these two worlds of short-track speed and long-term hauling into one vehicle.
The motor is a standard issue Cummings, no surprise given how much one of these big boys is lugging around. Drop the trailer off the back and suddenly it feels light as a feather as you fire it up.
1930 Ford Model A
With a body shaped like a bullet, there’s not much doubt as to the vision this rat rod’s owners saw when they began building their vision. Henry Ford and family would have trouble recognizing their creation with its 4.6-liter, fuel-injected V8 and 5-speed manual transmission.
The roof and supporting structures have been removed to implement more speed with less resistance, but the overall appearance of the car is in keeping very closely with how it looked 90 years ago when it was the most popular car in the world.
Another Truck Rod
Just when you think you’ve seen the only truck rod in the world, a second one appears before your eyes.
Done up in patriotic colors with an American-flag driver’s compartment, flag stand on the back, and deep blue steel underneath, all this bad boy needs is a fireworks cannon and James Brown standing on the roof singing “Living in America” to complete the vision. The big exhaust pipe might be the most interesting part of the whole thing, bigger than the gutter system on most people’s houses.
1932 Ford Tudor “GPT”
Built by Johnson’s Hot Rod Shop for the Detroit Autorama in 1997, the theme here is “less is more. Powered by a 312 Ford Y block V8 with a hidden Hillborne injection unit system, this 1932 Ford Tutor combines a JHRS chassis with gold anodized Hallibrand wheels.
To shorten it down to rat rod size, the quarter windows were shortened, the panels were chopped, and the cowl was moved down. The black paint gleams off every detail to look almost indigo in the best possible lighting.
Darth Vader x Megatron Rod
When you take the baddest villain from Star Wars and combine him with the baddest villain from The Transformers franchise, you give birth to the Darth Vader x Megatron Rod.
It looks like it’s going to crash into your ride and destroy you at any moment, with the engine set back from the front tires and two pulsing search lights waiting to expose your hiding spot. The spikes coming out of either side of the engine serve no purpose other than to look totally awesome. Job well done.
The great Joe Cruces finally retired in 2002 after decades as one of the most legendary car customizers in California, including cars such as his own Crucifier shown above.
The Crucifier got him on the cover of Hot Rod magazine. He moved to Chico sometime after that – hired by a private collector to restore his massive collection in 1974, restoring everything from motorcycles to airplanes to a 1910 horse-drawn fire engine. The Crucifier looked like a double-barrel pistol aimed straight at you when it came roaring down the track.
It’s not a soap box derby racer, it just feels that way. Illustrator Jimmy Smith designed it and owner Fritz Schenck from Kansas City brought this to life. It’s a VW Beetle powered space car with a bubble top and a fiberglass body.
The engine is a vintage 1971 VW 1600cc and the front two wheels come to you live from a pair of Harley Davidson motorcycles/ The paint job is meant to emulate a maze so try not to get lost in there.
1948 Ford F-7 “Standin’ Tall”
If you’re good friends with Shaquille O’Neal or Yao Ming, good news: You just found them a birthday present. Standing at 11 feet, 6 inches tall, and nine feet wide, this 1948 Ford F-7 first existed as a fire truck in Shelby Township, Michigan.
The Willhite family rebuilt it, complete with a big-block Ford V-8, a C6 automatic transmission, and a pair of Rockwell five-ton top-loader axles for all that crazy elevation. Throw in a SCS Gearset transfer case and you’re ready to ride off into the sunset.
This is why you never say that a hot rod made from a semi is the biggest thing you’ll ever see. Because when you do, someone will build one out of a tank. Based on an MS Personnel Carrier, the Major Payne Monster Tank had to be originally stripped down to make it anywhere close to qualifying as a rat rod.
Its owner stripped 12,000 pounds of steel to make it ready. It runs on brown alcohol and its current owner estimates it’s generating between 1,000 and 1,200 horsepower every time it fires up.
1952 Kaiser-Frazer Henry J “Henry Jaded”
Kaiser-Frazer was the first US company to pen up a production and sales company in Japan following World War II in 1947, partnering with Sears Roebuck to sells cars in catalogs. The Henry J was named after chairman Henry J. Kaiser, although the company folded inside of five years.
This Henry J has a Chevrolet Performance 572 engine dropped into it, silenced by single-chamber Flowmaster mufflers with a four-inch inlet/outlet. But that paint job is what most people want to talk about. Teal with a mix of Orion Silver and Kandy Koncentrate Intensifer is just as pretty as a picture.
Supercharged Big Block
If you’re old enough to remember black and white TV shows from the 1960s, you might be wondering why the Addams’ Family has turned their comfortable sedan into a street racer. That’s what this hybrid of Ford and Chevy comes off as. It sports a 468 big block Chevy engine, a Dyers Supercharger, and a Mutha Thumper Cam to give one of the most unique looks around.
The 1930 Ford is one of the more popular body styles for rat racers to cobble together into unique custom jobs. When this heavy hitter starts up, you’ll swear there must be a dinosaur walking around.
Looking at this 1940s-era Wily reminds us of the quote Han Solo lays on Luke Skywalker when the latter first lays eyes on the Millenium Falcon in 1977’s Star Wars. “She’s not much to look at kid, but she’s got it where it counts.”
Where it counts is the monstrous engine block that threatens to cut off the driver’s field of vision. These cars were built in all steel and this one can generate up to 502 horsepower thanks to its 350 motor with a Holly 4-barrel carburetor.
Steam Punk – Diesel Punk
Never heard of steampunk? It’s the cultural offshoot that imagines a world that had developed on steam-powered everything rather than coal factories that led to the electrical age.
It might sound a bit convoluted, but imagine our air quality today without all the exhaust fumes given off by our car engines and it sounds a bit idyllic. This rat rod is made from an old diesel Model A and can produce a whopping 1,250 horsepower on regular fuel or an even crazier 1,600 on nitrous.
1941 Ford Pickup “Gold Standard”
If King Midas had owned a car, it might have been this piece of work. Built by Ed Sears of Annapolis, Maryland, who had a passion for trucks from his days growing up on a farm.
He fell in love with the flowing lines of this 1941 Ford and got it fixed up by Ray Bartlett of The East Coast Hot Rod Garage. They pulled the cab, dipped it in acid and treated it to restore it. It houses a 1953 Ford block at 284 cubic inches.
Spider Web Rod
If you’ve ever suffered from arachnophobia, might be best to move on to the next entry. For the rest of you, this incredible creation is done up like a Halloween lover’s masterpiece with spiderweb seats, steering wheel, side panels, and more.
It’s all crammed into a 1931 Chevy. The owner makes the understatement of the year when he calls the bucket seats the result of “a bunch of cutting and welding”. 1931 is a special year for Chevy lovers. It was the last year it outsold Ford thanks to its new 6-cylinder engine.
There’s no denying the power when this rat rod rolls up with its hood removed for maximum effect. It boasts a Chevy 427 engine with a turbo 400 transmission and a rear mounted radiator to keep the engine completely on display whether it’s driving or winning competitions.
This one’s not much for speed bumps given how the grill is about half a centimeter off the ground, but there’s no denying the wow factor involved when it comes rolling up.
George Jetson would have loved that cockpit, and the the whole package looks like the perfect way to drop Elroy and Judy off to school ever morning before heading into Spacely Sprockets.
The bubble dome is a rarity on any car, let alone a rat rod where owners prefer the wind in their hair. Hailed as the Beetle from Outer Space, it’s a mishmash of old VW Bug parts put together with a bubble top. The body’s seen better days, but you can’t deny the style.
1949 Chevrolet C10
It’s not hard to know who owns this gorgeously outrageous pickup when you see it rolling down the streets of Mount Vernon, Texas – population 2,650.
Bobby and Hazel Collvins are the proud owners of this beaut featuring a custom rear-hinged driver’s door, brown leather interior, and flashy taillights swiped from a 1949 Cadillac and affixed to the rear fenders. The original C10 was a half-ton, two-wheel drive model eventually replaced by the K series of 4x4s that entered the lineup in 1960.
Soviet Minsk Auto Zavod Truck
You’ve got to be a pretty deep fan of international autos to know the abbreviation MAZ – short for Minsk Auto Zavod, or Minsk Auto Factory in English. It was founded in Minsk, formerly part of the USSR in 1954.
In addition to its normal production runs, it put out some crazy customs, one of which found its way across the ocean. Believe it or not, in a former life this rat rod used to carry the Soviet Union’s long-range ballistic missiles during its parades to flex its military might.
1950 Dodge D-100
This scrappy masterpiece combines a Chrysler 392 crate engine with a Tremec six-speed manual transmission. The drive train is straight out of a Dodge Challenger and capable of revving up to 485 horsepower.
It’s a gorgeous mixture of old and new. It’s got repurposed wood in the bed of the truck that’s from 1920, while the D-100’s original instrument faces have been rebuilt to work with complete functionality. About the only truly “new” features are custom headers and a similar exhaust.
A semi, a tank, why not a Rolls-Royce as well? You won’t be stopping to ask for any Grey Poupon while rambling around in this bad boy, but that’s sort of the point to the thing, isn’t it?
This one is a 1934 Rolls Royce Phantom with the roof of an old Mercedes on the back. The front and rear ends of the chassis have been cut off to get it down to rat rod classification, as have the front spring leafs.
1933 Ford Renaissance Roadster
How does a car gleam so much like this 1933 Ford Renaissance Roadster, which won the 2017 Ridler Award at the Detroit Autorama? It was designed by Chris Ito and Steve Frisbie and built at STee’s Auto Restorations in Portland, OR.
Its engine is a GM Performance Anniversary Edition 427 with a GM 4L60 transmission. The headlight buckets and the rear bumper are all custom formed. There’s also a smoothed case, CNC pan, and a CNC machined tapered aluminum driveshaft.
Ricky Bobby Rat Rod
If the name Ricky Bobby doesn’t bring a smile to your face or a chuckle to your lips, you might want to get off this website and head to Netflix to watch “Talladega Nights” right this very minute.
This real life Ricky Bobby owns a rod shop in Manchester, Tennessee, and grew up racing a 1970 Plymouth Duster that his dad built a 340 six-pack V8 into. This rat rod has a 304 cubic inch flathead engine from a 1949 Ford. The body has been chopped nine inches, shortened three inches, and channeled four inches.
1954 Chevrolet Corvette
Have you ever seen a Corvette you didn’t like? We haven’t, and this Custom Corvette is just another example of what makes the great American sports machine so damn gorgeous. The exterior of this gleaming red speed machine has been kept the same, but a supercharged V-8 engine now lives inside.
Slight modifications include later-model Corvette windshield and hardtop. Incredibly, the original was just a two-speed automatic with a six-cylinder engine. Sixty-five years older, there’s definitely been a few upgrades.
Rusted Rat Rod
If your initial reaction is “What the heck is that thing?”, well we’re right there with you. It’s one of the latest Frankenstein custom jobs put forth by Roadkill Customs. This is the quintessential rat rod, checking all the boxes: unfinished appearance? Check.
Showing rust? Check. Lacking paint? You got it. Deliberately worn down? We sure hope so, this look doesn’t happen by accident. Non-automotive items repurposed? Good Lord, yes. We’re not sure how fast it goes; heck we’re not even sure it runs, but if you plug Rat Rod into the dictionary, this might be the picture that comes up.
1954 Kaiser Manhattan “Voodoo Sahara”
If you saw this vision zooming down the highway late at night, you might think you’d seen a ghost, or possibly someone visiting from another planet.
This is a full custom rod with 1960 Corvair headlights in buckets from a 1935 Ford; the windshield of a 1955 Chevy; a 1977 Nova rear end; and 1958 Mercury taillights. The engine is pure Chevy, a 1969 small block V-8 with a Hydra-Matic Turbo 350 automatic transmission. A look inside shows 1950s-era telephone, microphone and a television to boot.
Modern Rat Rod
We hate to break it to you if you saw this thing and immediately broke open your piggy bank to start saving up: It’s not real.
This is just a mockup rendering of a modern-day rat rod, something that is becoming more and more en vogue as the custom crew of the industry starts getting younger and younger. Of course, having newer vehicles sort of defeats the purpose of the scrapped, rusted, broken down appeal of the rat rod, but you’ve got to change with the times.
1961 Buick Invicta
The Invicta was a short-lived car that ran from 1959-1963, a continuation of the Buick Century concept that put a Buick LeSabre body in tandem with the 401 cubic inch Nailhead V8 engine.
The name came from the Latin “Invictus” meaning unconquerable, invincible, unbeatable, and unvanquished. This is a second-gen Invicta. This one has kept its 401-cubic inch Nailhead V-8, but moved to 20-inch steel wheels and an air-ride suspension. It is the pride of Gregg Peterson of Warren, Michigan.
If you’re of a certain age, seeing that name has the theme song playing in your head already. For the younger bunch, we’re talking about the popular CBS TV show of the 1970s and 1980s that stood for Mobile Army Surgical Hospital and followed a team of surgeons and support staff during the Korean War.
As fitting, this rat rod, wonderfully named “Loose Nuts”, this rat rod is a chopped down US Army Jeep with mismatched tires for aesthetic appeal. These Jeeps were known for their durability and remarkable ability to master any surface on the planet.
1966 Chevrolet C10 “Tiffany”
A sneaky combination of time and effort combined with the derelict look of a rat rod defines Ms. Tiffany, built by Classic Car Studio and owned by Saint Louis’s Noah Alexander.
Busting out of the front is a turbocharged 346-cubic inch LS1 V-8 engine. No hood can hold this big boy, and it has two giant exhaust pipes pushing out of the front. If you’re wondering where the wheels are, look again. There are 22 inch wheels and air springs tucked in under the fenders.
There are a lot of jokes here. That it’s a great looking rat rod but it will never get you anywhere on time. That it looks good but it always goes to the wrong house. That you are driving around in a dinosaur.
Still as rat rods go, it definitely makes a statement, especially with the exhaust pipe made from a mailbox – custom painted with upturned flag no less! The cab is intact, a rarity on rat rods, but definitely good for when you need to go though rain, sleet, snow, or dead of night.
1966 Chevrolet Corvette “Split Ray”
The Corvette Split Ray is a perfect rat rod to be because it already is a hybrid, mixing the body of a second-generation Corvette with the engine of a sixth-generation ZR1. The engine packs an absolutely ridiculous 638 horsepower from its 6.2 liter V-8 engine.
That is helped by the extra six inches of widened body that sit on 19 by 11 inch wheels in the front and even bigger 20 by 13 inch wheels in the back.
License Plate Rod
This rat rod is straight out of Johnny Cash’s “I’ve Been Everywhere” tune. The steering wheel looks like you might catch tetanus if you touch it without wearing gloves and the seats look like they would be comfortable for about 20 seconds before your butt started getting sore, but there is no denying the kitschy charm of antique license plates from all over that dot the interior of the car- we see plates from all eras of Kansas’s history along with a few from Arizona and New Mexico sprinkled in.
1969 Chevrolet Van
So plain it’s beautiful? That’s the appeal of this 1969 Chevrolet short-wheelbase panel van with faux rooftop blower intake.
It was not finished when this photo was taken (as evidenced by the stay tuned sign), but the builder is honoring Ed “Big Daddy” Roth’s Rat Fink with this design and the remarkable lack of exterior details. The red headlights and minimalistic paint job are about the only signs of life that something powerful lurks under this otherwise ho-hum facade.
Lawn Mower Rod
Rat rods are supposed to look rusty and ragged and rural, and there’s nothing that fits those categories better than a lawn mower.
Not this particular model is clearly a little step up from the push mowers you see in the city, but it has gotten a serious upgrade and looks ready to run through flood water and rescue grandmas and puppies when the hurricane hits down on the bayou. The powerful headlights are about the only thing looking remotely modern.
Jeeps can do anything, and apparently you can do anything to a Jeep. Including lowering it, ripping out one engine in favor of a second, giving it piping to make it look like the world’s friendliest grill is checking you out.
The camo paint job is a little out of date given how much this thing stands out, but as the picture above shows it’s still great for cruising the beach. Just watch out for speed bumps or you might get ejected from your own ride.
Is the Joker’s plan to concoct a car so sweet and refined that the Dark Knight and the Boy Wonder will be powerless to escape its charms? Diabolical, Batman!
The most famous car in the history of pop culture is even more recognizable in rat rod form, chopped down for more speed but still maintaining its gorgeous tailfins and swooping fenders. A T-Top gives you some protection against the elements while still making the ejector seat a viable option during high-speed pursuits.
Nobody does rat rods like Bangshift, the Car Junkie Daily Magazine that keeps growing and growing. Its annual events all over the country gift birth to little beauties like this number from Pennsylvania.
With barely enough space for two and breaking tradition with those big beautiful white walls, this hot rod matches the tires with the interior and the steering wheel to provide newcomers and super fans alike with a cool, crisp look at how gorgeous these type of cars can truly be.
Car purists would go insane at the thought of a beloved BMW getting the rat rod treatment, but you’d be crazy if you didn’t think this innovation doesn’t look absolutely sick in its form.
Forget the hood, there’s no room to contain this massive block engine that seems to be pushing the signature front plate of the Beamer forward along with the wheels to match. Intimidating and brutal in all black, this BMW rod looks like it might be more at home chasing James Bond’s Aston Martin through the Swiss Alps.
Hot Rod Flames
Is it the coolest thing on our list? The flames don’t lie, although we wouldn’t want to be in charge of parallel parking this bad boy anytime soon.
There are a million hot rods with flame paint jobs, but not a one can match the dark red on dark red motif being rocked here. This isn’t a true rat rod, but does anyone think that really matters? The coupe’s long body, gorgeous rear end, slick coupe top, and amazing paint job are perfect.
Cross Hot Rod
If anyone from Thunderdome in the Mad Max movies lost their car, we’re pretty sure we’ve found it.
With the Iron Cross on the side, spikes on the roof and the back quarter, and the most outlandish engine we’ve ever seen poking up in the front, it’s hard to not just shake your head in wonder at this magnificent monstrosity. The front tires are extended out tos upport that massive engine bloc and the whole thing is painted a gritty, gruesome dull grey.
Ford Hot Rod
It’s unfair to say the best hot rods have always been Fords, but it’s not necessarily untrue given that company’s long love affair with cars and trucks that scratch America’s itch. This bad boy needs you to be under 6 feet tall if you’re going to drive it.
And the twin exhaust pipes spouting up from the top of the engine bloc aren’t doing your sight lines any favors either. Its lowered body and gorgeous tires, not to mention that shield-shaped front guard will have you drooling over this one for days.
The car that briefly populated the US before it turned into Nissan, Datsuns are rare types that have a bizarrely loyal army of enthusiasts. This model, the 510 Sedan, was not the traditional sports car like the later 240s and 280s, taking off its hood makes it the perfect housing for the kind of big block engine that hot rod and rat rod enthusiasts love to death.
The black and orange paint job on this rat rod didn’t come standard on the usually peppy Datsuns, but definitely fits nicely with the trend of scrapped out part cars.