What is a rat rod

what is a ratrod

Controversy often clouds the origin of rat rods, sometimes the definition of a rat rod is not 100% clear. When reading through the articles, wikis and forums online, some key points become apparent. That’s all well, but we are in South Africa and on this site, we will be adding some local flavor.

In a broad look at rat rods, the popular belief is that rat rods exist as a counter reaction to hot rods. Building hot rods often involves restoring vehicles to their original state and/or applying modifications for aesthetic reasons. In the end it has become expensive and most builds purely exist for decorative purposes, hence the term “trailer Queens”.

A rat rod embodies many facets but in the end, the sole purpose of building a rat rod is to drive it. This is also the reason that most rat rods are built by their owners.

Think about this:
If you are not going to show your car, why waste money on chrome parts and expensive upholstery and airbrushed paint, which will definitely get stone chipped or dinged while racing around the desert?

That sort of sums up what a rat rod is in theory. Keeping bodies bear and rusty, with engines made from sourced parts (not necessarily original), assembled on a modified or self built chassis. Just because something is rusty or broken, doesn’t make it a rat rod.

Where did it start?
Where rat rods originated is always a debate, we are not going to start a debate now. If you like to find out more, read these:

A point of interest is the story about Jake Jacobs from Pete & Jakes Hot Rods. Jake arrived at a hot rod show with a bare ford tub. He really got the crowd’s attention when he pulled some paint and brushes and started painting his car. Soon the Ford Tub became know as  “The Jakelopy”. This wasn’t the first rat rod but the Jakelopy made most people realize that hot rod builds does not have to be expensive but should be affordable and fun for everyone.

rat rod space bar

Rat rodding is a movement that entails much more than cars. The start of the rat rod movement is much easier to pin down than what a rat rod are supposed to be. The rat rod phenomenon ignited in the early 1990’s and raced it’s way to many countries all over the world. Organized events fuel the excitement and it is easy to see why.

Dusty Rebels180The dusty rebels and the bombshells organized the first South African Rockabilly festival in 2013 and the second time round proved to be even better.

South African rat rod festivals presents a mixture of burlesque performances, rockabilly music and bands, rat rod shows and dirt tracking with 1950’s inspired custom made style, roller derby girls, bycicle polo and much more, even makeup and hairdressers on the day to help you fit right in.

Whatever you do, make an effort and meet up with us at any of the festivals or planned events. These events offers a fun filled dress up opportunity for the ladies and chance for the guys to show off and race their custom rat rod builds.

Extra Bits:

ratrodsa video – rev hom pappie