Saturday, June 13, 2009

Pics from Home: Dad's Rat Rod Project

The other day I received some update photos of my father's Rat Rod project. For those of you unfamiliar with the "Rat Rod" concept, it's essentially a nod to the very earliest hot rods of the 1940's and 50's, cars that were extensively modified by their owners or built from scratch with the bare essentials that would be needed to make them driveable.

In later years customization became more and more specialized work that couldn't be done in backyards and junkyards. Custom hotrods became costly luxury items that the average hobby mechanic couldn't just throw together in a few spare weekends. More recently, a wide variety of retro-inspired lifestyles have brought about a resurgence in the original bare bones style of the original hotrods. These are cars that were built to be driven, not to be shown. As such, they tend to have little or no finish work done to the bodies while the builder concentrates effort on the running gear.

In Dad's case, he started with the spare pieces of one of his late-30's International pickups like these (but not actually these):
39 International 007

Since then he's replaced the suspension so that it will ride lower to the ground, channelled the body to sit lower over the frame, and chopped a bit of height out of the cab. Here you can see the frame (with it's shiny new paintjob) with the modded cab in the background.

Here's a shot of dad custom-shaping the dashboard:

And test-fitting it:

Here he is checking the placement of his speedometer:

Hoisting the cab into place above the frame in his usual fashion:
crane etc
This is the engine in place with the cab being lowered onto the frame behind it:

Here he is checking the fit of the cab. It's not quite in place yet, but this gives you a good idea of how low the whole vehicle will be once the cab is set all the way down on the frame:

You can see the weld line here at the back of the cab where he cut the extra height out of the cab and re-shaped the rear window. You can also see the new gas tank and the shiny red frame under the bed:

Of course, when he's working on projects like this there's always a few pieces left over. Those pieces end up on the trophy wall:

He's asked me to sculpt out a steering wheel to go with the Rat rod. I'll be sure to post some pics once I've started that as well as a few more shots once the whole thing is a bit more together.

Stay tuned.


  1. The rat rod is coming along, Barry!

  2. That's pretty darn cool. I'll have to post pics of a 6x6 Army "Deuce and a half" converted into a super low radical rat rod truck... radical engineering feats were required to get it set-up right but the end result is mind-blowing.

    It was at a car show this summer in Renton, Washington (near Seattle).