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Hot Rods Best way to get into hot rodding?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Straight30weight, Jan 8, 2018.

  1. So I’d like some opinions on the best way to go about getting into hot rodding. I’m thinking about the next project and really thinking I’d like to do a rod. My past is filled with mini trucks, lowriders, drag cars (vintage and modern), bikes, etc but I’m really thinking it’s time to switch gears a little. I’m 40 years old and I’d like everything I build from now on to be a keeper, I’ve sold so many cars/trucks over the years that I’ve regretted. And I’ve also built stuff I didn’t really want, but it’s what I had or could afford at the time. I don’t want to do that anymore.

    My initial thought is to buy something stock and modify over time, like they would have done way back when. I like A’s, but not opposed to a T coupe. I don’t personally care for roadsters too much and I don’t mind tudors either if done right. I like chopped and channeled, but I’m also 6’4 so I have to be realistic. I’d be fine starting with a Flathead but ultimately that’s not what I’d like to see in it.

    So, what would you do and why? Start with bone stock and modify, buy a bunch of parts and start building, or find an abandoned project? I’ll be honest, I don’t know everything there is to know about building a hot rod. Or even much. I’ll be asking a ton of questions, I’m sure I’ll make mistakes, but I’d like to give it a go. Thoughts?

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    Joined: Dec 14, 2009
    Posts: 985


    Do your research as to what you want to end up with .

    Probably the cheapest way in is an unfinished project. I see them pop up all the time, lots of money spent colecting stuff but nothing is assembled.

    If you have time this might be the way to go.
  3. My thought would be find something that you like. Also make sure you’re comfortable sitting in and driving it. If you decide to to buy a stock vehicle be aware that they can be expensive, if not overpriced. But that’s just me.

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    osage orange and BZNSRAT like this.
  4. By a running and driving car and make it your own. This is the better choice 90% of the time.

    Ask me how I know...
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  5. The37Kid
    Joined: Apr 30, 2004
    Posts: 24,016


    I think a lot depends on were you live and how much you have to spend. If you have lets say 10-15 grand and live in the rust belt, start looking for a vehicle in Arizona or Texas, the two grand in shipping saves a few years and dollars. Decide what really looks nice to you, then buy the best one you can afford. Having a complete running car vs. buying a rusty body gets you a lot further along in shorter time.

    mod700rmk and tinsled like this.
  6. metalman
    Joined: Dec 30, 2006
    Posts: 3,253


    The only problem with an unfinished project is making sure what is done is done right and that's hard to do if you don't have a lot of experience. I have a customer new to hot rods, bought an "almost finished" project. They were told it just needed paint, upholstery and they believed the guy. Chassis was totally fu-- up, body work was horrid. It would of be easier and much cheaper for them if the PO hadn't touched it I have spent so much time ($$$) going backward. I'd suggest if it's in the budget buy an older build that still runs and drives. That way you can start rebuilding/ changing things that it needs and making it more to your taste as you go.
    tb33anda3rd likes this.
  7. GordonC
    Joined: Mar 6, 2006
    Posts: 1,068


    Being too general isn't going to help you much. You need to narrow it down to the type of car you'd really like to have and keep and then start by researching that model. Once you start to look you may or may not see a car done the way you like at a price you like. Its usually easier to buy someones mostly complete project and make it your own than to start from scratch, unless, your skilled enough and fussy enough to only be happy with it if it was done by you. Being 6'4" I would think fit would be the first thing on the list and coupes and roadsters don't offer a lot of room. Before anybody jumps on me I know they can be MADE to be easier to fit in but a small car is still a small car regardless of what you do inside. I'm 6' and 275 and my 31 roadster is going to be a snug fit.
    czuch likes this.
  8. Buy a restored original.
    Sell off the stuff not used and build a hotrod.
    The quickest way to get it done and the cheapest way to a finished car.

    If you want to end up with 1/2 finished car that takes forever and costs a bunch of money anyway start with a derelict and bring it back
  9. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 23,377


    I agree with the do your research concept. Not only by reading, looking on the net and what not but by going to some events and see what you like that might be a possibility.
    I'd also suggest sitting in and maybe riding in the style that you get on your short list. I've been around some guys in the past who built rods who couldn't comfortably drive them when they had them to the point where they could be driven.
  10. luckythirteenagogo
    Joined: Dec 28, 2012
    Posts: 1,191

    from Apex, NC

    This is what I usually tell guys looking for their first rod, find something you like that is complete and runs and drives. Drive it as you work on it. This will keep you having fun with it, and keep you driven to work on it. It will also tell you if the car is for you or not. It sucks building a car only to hate it when you're done.
    Buying a stalled project is great if you have the time, money and motivation to finish it. I'm sure you know the headaches trying to finish (fix) someone else's work can bring. I know a few guys that bought projects cheap, just to find out it was going to be the most expensive pain the the ass to finish and ended up selling it as a pile of parts.
    Complete cars are always the best ones to get, running or not. You get all of the parts and pieces that are supposed to be there, even if you have to replace them, you still know what they are and where they go.
    Good luck.....

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    Spotweld, clem, osage orange and 2 others like this.
  11. Slopok
    Joined: Jan 30, 2012
    Posts: 1,905


    Read the thread How not to build a hot rod- My 33 Plymouth by Johnny Sparkle, best adivce you will find!
  12. Gman0046
    Joined: Jul 24, 2005
    Posts: 5,063


    Buy rather then build and then make it your own. Way cheaper then building. FWIW, the car in my avatar has 90K into it. I'd sell it for half of that.
  13. To quote Steve Magnante "Fill your library before you fill your garage"
    Buy books on hot rodding thumb through vintage magazines do your homework.
    Pick an era you like and build your car to match.
    Books and magazines are cheap compered to jumping head long into a project with a hodge podge of parts that don't work or match the era.
    As Brad Masterson said "You don't want to build an 80's version of a 50's custom."

    A small look at my book shelves-
    IMG_2394.JPG IMG_2395.JPG IMG_2396.JPG IMG_2397.JPG IMG_2398.JPG IMG_2399.JPG
    patmanta likes this.
  14. Six of the best books on traditional hot rods-
  15. Robert,
    You are a hoarder!!!!
  16. Oddly enough, I did read that!

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    Clay Belt likes this.
  17. I live in NY. But, I have no problem traveling. Almost everything here is junk, I’ve been all over the country buying projects. Shit I went all the way to Seattle for a 67 Jim Davis FED!

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  18. That’s kind of what I’m doing now, the research. I worry about unfinished projects a little, as a lot of time they’re hacked to hell.

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  19. This is what I fear when it comes to projects. I don’t want someone else’s screw ups. I can screw things up all on my own!

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  20. Hey Straight,
    From my viewpoint only.
    I will first say that I never built a car so can't comment
    except that tons of guys love the collection and building part.
    Just look around here!
    I like finding lost cars that talk to me, and bring them back to the
    road the way I think they were headed in the first place.
    Then drive them as if I came up with the idea in the first place.
    I've had a lot of great cars in the last 50 years!
    If the build is your passion, buy the best project and parts
    you can afford, that go together in your own vision.

    Making yourself happy is way further ahead than building
    for the next guy.
    Just my $.02

    PS: There are always lots of A's around as a good start!
    Robert J. Palmer likes this.
  21. See that’s just it, my height may cause me not to be able to have exactly what I want. I lean towards Tudor’s since I feel like I can get more room. I know I want it chopped, more heavily chopped than not. But I love coupes, to me a hot rod needs to have attitude. Something like this is what I’d be after [​IMG]

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  22. Squablow
    Joined: Apr 26, 2005
    Posts: 13,233


    Some good advice here. If you're thinking about starting with a stocker and slowly making a rod out of it, an A works a lot better than a T. You can add hydraulic brakes and change wheels on an A, you can hop up the stock engines a lot cheaper and they're bigger inside too. The A frame can handle a V8 swap a lot easier than the T can, ect.

    I love T's and I have one but starting with a stocker T, unless you just want a really hopped up T engined car, all you'll end up using is the body and title.

    Of course, stocker 32-34 Fords are also great bases for hopups, but are very expensive to buy as a driver, stock OR modified.

    My biggest questions would be, how much space/tools/time (realistically) do you have to work on the car, and how much money do you have for your initial purchase? Those answers would have a huge effect on what good advice is.
  23. I don’t have a lot of opportunity to do that, sit in or ride in. I don’t really have a lot of connects in this area.

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  24. Thank you. I’ve bought and sold more than one project that I decided not to pursue because of the PO’s work. I’d like to avoid that this time.

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  25. Great collection! I tend to research things to death. I don’t have an endless supply of money so I try to make the right choice to begin with.

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    Robert J. Palmer likes this.

  26. I think of myself as preserving history! That's nothing I also have 20 binders of Hot Rod magazines 1952-1972.
    Don't forget @Tony Martino I am only 36 I don't have the advantage of being boyhood friends with Henry Ford like you.:D

    Tony and I have known each other about ten years a little good natured ribbing.
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2018
    i.rant and Tony Martino like this.
  27. Live in NY huh?
    They are all over the place!

    Here are 2 quick examples, from CL Hudson Valley.
    I could look at an A almost every day less than 100 miles away! 00a0a_fVQXEYKxpjT_1200x900.jpg 00i0i_hNupcOLzg2T_1200x900.jpg
    Green $10,000
    Copper $12,000 obo.
    Both run and drive and turn into
    hot rods with change of wheels and tires
    and a dropped front axle, and loosing
    a few springs front and back.
    Hot Rodding like this has endured for 75 years.
    They will always be cool and you can modify
    and drive at the same time. I don't have any connection

    PS: Watch out for CL Model A's for $6000
    they are all scams!
    i.rant likes this.
  28. Robert is right about the books!
    I'm a little older (Ha a lot older!). I think he got a lot
    of those books from me! But I can't remember.
  29. Yup, in Rochester. That’s kind of how I want to do it, like it would have been done way back.

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  30. Here are some cars I have owned that illustrate
    my point. All just basic runner-drivers that could
    be called Hot Rods. P4060006.JPG HPIM0962.JPG 00101_1qNHSh5ozLm_600x450.jpg 22576_282657574895_6907375_n.jpg 11427799_10204547955039087_1350374285028604672_n.jpg
    48fordnut likes this.

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