Story and Photos Mike Spicer
Coming across a Rat Rod with its ludicrous ideas and strong throwback to Hot Rod car builders of the 1940s, 1950s, and early-1960s, it’s a pure automotive expression of art. An automobile’s purpose and practicality go out the window and creativity and humor are the main goals.
The term Rat Rod, coined in the early 1990s, was a reaction to the rarely driven high-priced custom cars built for shows. Lacking a very good paintjob and leaning on the patina of old cars, these Rat Rods create a stark contrast to the pristine vehicles on display.
Assembled from a myriad of repurposed spare parts matched with a builder’s skills, these cars are a playground for a person with a welder. Upon examination you’re immediately pulled into the builder’s creative world. Ingenuity combined with hidden jokes use a clever mixture of automotive and non-automotive items that hold no boundaries. Utilizing street signs for floorboards, exaggerated shifter knobs, wrenches for door handles etc.… result in a pretty unique vehicle.
While I’m no psychologist and don’t pretend to know what goes through a person’s head when embarking on such a creation, I can tell you the end result is entertaining and very captivating.
No matter how humorous or serious these welded pieces of art come into existence they make a statement. The builder’s imagination is at play from every turn, and the end result is a car with plenty of personality.
When you encounter any classic car, the story is a very intriguing part of the equation. Rat Rods are filled with nothing but stories, so the conversations can be endless – even if they are just with yourself!