‘Hot rod’ may be a surprising and obscure term. For automobile lovers, it stands for old school American cars that have larger engines, meant for greater linear speed. It has been seen as a very American tradition, now it’s got enthusiasts on more continents.
Hot rod magazine have been changing along the years. Nowadays, it is not only about engineering; it resembles art, since upholstery and metal sculpting are involved. The metalwork requires a high level of craftsmanship and dedication. Such cars look more like precious museum pieces than vehicles you’d take out for a race. This is one reason why their appeal is so great even to this day. The timeless beauty as well as the intricacy is very seductive.
These fancy looking cars were not as expensive or luxurious back in the day as you might believe. In fact, in the 1930’s, these were made by poor people out of old automobiles, by adding new parts and making various improvements. The main enhancement of such custom cars would be a bigger and better engine. The style of hot rods would become unique. Fenders, windshields and other features that would no longer matter so much would be eliminated. The performance mattered more to owners. Also, the front end was made lower, while the rear end was lifted. The aerodynamics were improved in various ways. All these changes led to a highly distinctive look.
Hot rods are cars that are built (or, better said, re-built) for speed. It’s thrilling, not just because of the end result and the performance, but also because of the re-styling process. Vehicle enthusiasts love to customize their cars and transform them into something unique. Modifying an old and almost useless one is an appealing challenge. It feels great to accomplish something this way. Many types of cars have been modified like this along the years. One may lower the roof or the entire frame. Besides, the seams are usually filled.
Hot rodding was also very engaging in the street. Racing such cars was quite risky. The dangers were real, people getting involved in this could get injured or even die. In spite of these consequences, it grew in popularity in the 1950’s. It grew along with rock music, fueling a culture of rebellion. This became similar with living dangerously.
These being said, it is of no wonder that racing these old modified cars still has a great appeal today. Passionate people are investing large sums nowadays, because such cars tend to be more like works of art than rescued wrecks. Customization goes to a greater extent and technology has definitely more to say.