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History "Hot Rod". What is the origin of the Term??

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by gbgh, May 17, 2009.

  1. Nice explanation for why a gun is called a rod, but do not see the correlation to hot rod cars. As told to me by a very old newspaper editor, the term hot rod was coined like Gray said, from hot roadsters. The reason for the shortening of the word was to help with fitting the verbiage in the headline, roadsters was just too long, such as HOT ROD YOUTHS CRASH! Just a journalistic trick to get the type to fit. Gow Job and Hop Up are what all the old timers out here said they used.
     
  2. kurtis
    Joined: Mar 13, 2009
    Posts: 1,989

    kurtis
    Member
    from Australia

    The cheapest trick to go fast was to advance the timing. When you do this to a stock flathead the engine overheats. HOT. Roadster=ROD. and........

    it gets HOT driving around SoCal in a roadster.
     
  3. Mike Rouse
    Joined: Aug 12, 2004
    Posts: 365

    Mike Rouse
    Member

    Back in the beginning of Hot Rod time the guys building these cars were using junk yard parts. They did not have a lot of money. They wanted to go fast. In the time of babit bearings, if you drove a car real fast and abusted the motor the rods would get hot and start knocking. I know because I did it. You could easily hear a car with a HOT ROD. Given that the early rodders abused junk yard parts with babit bearings their rods knocked.
    People would identify wild driving with the sound of Hot Rods in the vehicle. Thus calling those cars the kids abused Hot Rods.
    Mike
     
  4. Just like the term whippersnapper meaning a young guy, lasted long after buggy whips were used by racing youngsters in horse and buggy days, Hotrod started with guns and went on to mean a hotrod young guy who weapon was a car.
    Again, we all have our opinons of how it started, this was always the most logical to me.
     
  5. onlychevrolets
    Joined: Jan 23, 2006
    Posts: 2,307

    onlychevrolets
    Member

    Have you seen the new TV show " Man vs Cartoon" ? They do all the roadrunner / coyote stunts
     
  6. Rodicus
    Joined: Jun 13, 2006
    Posts: 26

    Rodicus
    Member

    I always thought it was Latin; I got my screenname from the great Roman General Rodicus, who ruled with an iron block...er, I mean, fist.

    Sounds like the origin of the term will be debated here for some time. I think it's possible that all of these explanations have some truth to them. Human history is weird; it's full of instances of similar ideas popping up in different places simultaneously, with no apparent connection.
     
  7. pyro3256
    Joined: Apr 21, 2009
    Posts: 111

    pyro3256
    Member
    from OKC

    stroker motors! thats my story and i'm stick'n to it.
     
  8. Dago 88
    Joined: Mar 4, 2006
    Posts: 2,037

    Dago 88
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Awright then, where did the term "street rodder" come from? :eek:
     
  9. The Bomber
    Joined: Dec 10, 2005
    Posts: 529

    The Bomber
    Member
    from mass.

    The term came from when the they first started putting high performance cams in the motors.Guys would say that The motor was running a " hot rod"(CAM).
     
  10. plywude
    Joined: Nov 3, 2008
    Posts: 700

    plywude
    Member Emeritus
    from manteca ca

    MikeRouse.. I was working the NSRA Merced show in the early 70's and we had a 75 year old there with a bichin 26 full fender roadster who won an award on the mike they asked him about the term Hot Rod and he said, just like you, that it refered to the rods knocking in the poured babits, and this was from a guy who was out there from the 30's to the 70's...
     
  11. Earliest I have seen the term is in the 1949 movie "The Big Wheel" with Andy Rooney, he says it a number of times. Not the worst car movie either.
     
  12. Terry
    Joined: Jul 3, 2002
    Posts: 1,825

    Terry
    Member

    Andy rooney was in a movie!?
     
  13. Mike Rouse
    Joined: Aug 12, 2004
    Posts: 365

    Mike Rouse
    Member

    Plywude,
    That seems to confirm it from another part of the country.
    The crank end of the rod sometimes turned blue from the heat.
    So it was obvious which rod was the hot rod.
    Thanks,
    Mike
     
  14. According to Alex Xydias the term was a derogatory name for our cars. I kinda believe him, think he explains it in Hotrod Story USA.
     
  15. We all know what a traditional hot rod is... but can the term also apply to any
    hopped up car, lowered car, kustom, shoebox, muscle car, dragster, funny car etc, etc, etc. In all the time Hot Rod magazine has been published it has had to cover a lot of ground. seems the term hot rod is as confusing as it's origin.
     
  16. jimi'shemi291
    Joined: Jan 21, 2009
    Posts: 9,499

    jimi'shemi291
    Member

    Cool thread. I've been seriously trying to track this down, but MOREso isnce joining the HAMB!!!
     
  17. T_BAGGER
    Joined: Oct 23, 2009
    Posts: 38

    T_BAGGER
    Member
    from onamia mn

    this is what i was told. i dont know if its B.S. or not.after the war guys came home and started building cars out of what was around using a welding rod to peace them together and thats how the name came HOT ROD I dont think its right but cool story
     
  18. jimi'shemi291
    Joined: Jan 21, 2009
    Posts: 9,499

    jimi'shemi291
    Member

    T Bagger, that sure sounds like a plausible explanation!!!
     
  19. Crackett
    Joined: Nov 21, 2009
    Posts: 36

    Crackett
    Member

    Thats just genius :D
     
  20. jimi'shemi291
    Joined: Jan 21, 2009
    Posts: 9,499

    jimi'shemi291
    Member

    Crackett, now aren't YOU proud of yourself!!! LOL
     
  21. Bob K
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 5,773

    Bob K
    Member Emeritus
    from Antigo Wi.


    That's Mickey Rooney, not Andy Rooney !!!

    B:rolleyes:B
     
  22. proscriptus
    Joined: Mar 6, 2007
    Posts: 34

    proscriptus
    Member
    from Ver-mont

    I've been wondering about this too, and to give this thread a bump, here's the earliest I can find the term in print, LA Times, March 25 1946. By August it was all over the place.

    Hop-Up was used way back, as in, they were arrested for hopping up the race horse with heroin and cocaine (an actual news item from 1933).

    [​IMG]

    (larger image http://www.flickr.com/photos/proscriptus/5327303976/)
     
  23. proscriptus
    Joined: Mar 6, 2007
    Posts: 34

    proscriptus
    Member
    from Ver-mont

    Whoops--it's in Life in 1945.

    [​IMG]
     
  24. Mazooma1
    Joined: Jun 5, 2007
    Posts: 13,598

    Mazooma1
    Member

    Theories don't constitute fact.
    The origin of "hot rod" and "who had the first flamed car" will never be answered, so...move on.
     
  25. Deuces
    Joined: Nov 3, 2009
    Posts: 19,727

    Deuces
    Member
    from Michigan

    I remember reading an old paperback novel titled "HOT ROD" back in the early '70's... Wish I could find another copy of it.. :( It was a pretty kool story! :)
     
  26. Deuces
    Joined: Nov 3, 2009
    Posts: 19,727

    Deuces
    Member
    from Michigan

    Sounds more like a sex act if you ask me.. :eek: :D
     
  27. Larry T
    Joined: Nov 24, 2004
    Posts: 7,661

    Larry T
    Member

    Probably not the first time it was used, but the National Street Rod Assn. made it popular. They used it as a term for a car that could be driven cross country to events, to distinguish them from hotrods that were just local cruisers (for whatever reason).

    Kinda ironic that Street Rod has morphed into Trailer Queen for some folks.
    Larry T
     
  28. mrconcdid
    Joined: Aug 31, 2010
    Posts: 1,157

    mrconcdid
    Member
    from Florida

    As a kid, I was always told, the term Hot Rod came from guys souping up there cars to go fast and they tended to run hot. so the term Hot Rod fit.
    That may just be a local definition
    MrC
     
  29. uncleAud
    Joined: Jan 2, 2003
    Posts: 123

    uncleAud
    Member

    the old lake racers used to run till they melted the babit out of the bearings...hence the term hot rod car...
     
  30. Proscriptus - Do you know which 1945 issue this article is in???
     

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