My Kind Of History
A term that used to just mean a car modified to go faster has now changed a bit. You can still use the word that way but most people nowadays will have a different image in their head. Most people will think of 1930-1950 vehicles that have exposed wheels, engines, and other shiny bits.
Well that’s what I went to look at a few weeks ago in a fabricated ghost town. It was cool, I’m not a history buff by any means but there was a lot of period correct stuff going on. People were dressed up to match the cars and the backdrop of this old saloon was awesome. There was rockabilly music playing throughout the town as well. Everything was giving off this vibe, and I felt as if I must have hit 88mph in my DeLorean on the way in. (I don’t have a DeLorean, I wish I did.)Quite possibly the best thing about car culture from the 1930s up till now, is that not one car will ever be the same. The cars begin to mimic their owner in a sense as the owner modifies the vehicle to his/her liking. Personal preferences, colour choices, additions and subtractions mold the vehicle. Some of these old hot rods had period correct goodies, while others were modified to newer technology. Some had original paint, whereas some were probably just repainted. Another term that has existed just as long as hot rod, is rat rod. This term is used to describe the matte black or rust coloured beauties. The premise behind a rat rod is this: You have been building your hot rod for several years and are basically done. You’re sitting there staring at the car you’ve poured your heart, sweat, and tears into and notice something. You have an uncanny amount of extra parts lying around. So much so that you could basically build another car. You do this but don’t spend the time picking out the right pieces and mash this abomination together. Boom a rat rod is built. It’s essentially an abomination. It’ll be loud, rough around all edges, and will probably have parts from all kinds of vehicles involved.
While hot rods are very nice and shiny and you can respect all the labour involved, rat rods are actually why I went to this event. I just love looking at them and trying to catch all the little details. Seeing one drive by is like watching something for the first time and then when you see it parked you can dive into the car, noticing all these little things you never noticed when it drove by the first time. Also they’ve been around so long now that some people take on themes. I’ve seen one with metal webs for a grille and spider like exhaust, and one that was painted like an old bomber jet. As an added bonus to my trip to the ghost town I got to ride in a friend of a friend’s old rat rod. Nothing better than a saturday of driving, looking at loud cars, and hanging out with a beer in an old ghost town.