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How did the term Hot Rod

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Backpacker, Jul 4, 2012.

  1. Jalopy Banger
    Joined: Aug 5, 2002
    Posts: 375

    Jalopy Banger
    from Sweden

    This is taken from people who knows a lot more then me.

    Quote :

    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).

    Gray Baskerville always used to say that it was a shortened version of "hot roadsters", according to some quotes of him in Hot Rod magazine. At that time, he said that they were more commonly referred to as "hop ups" or gow jobs".

    Pre WWII they were also called HOT IRONS.

    I think it ws originally a Navy thing. On shore leave, the sailors would enter the bars with hot rods, and go back to the ship having had a gow job.

    I have read pre and post war mags, letters to the editor , the cars were called ''gow jobs'', then later '' jobers'' after that ''hot jobs'' . I have also read that the term ''hot rod'' was coined by the press when reporting on auto accedents. It was said that it may have been a typo, of ''hot jobs''. Being called a ''hotrodder'' was like being called a hoodlum .

    My Dad built his first hill climber in 1935, and was in the Hot Rod world hot and heavy untill his death 3 years ago. This is what he told me:

    Hot Rod, was a term used because of the stroker motors being built

    Gow job was a name used alot till after the war.

    On a interesting side note, he said that Gow job was a slur of Go cat Go. All his old rodding buddies pronounced it that way as well (Gow as in Go). But lately I have heard it pronouned as Gow (as in Ow I smashed my finger)

    After 45 years of Gow jobs, it will always be Gow(Go)-jobs for me, and Hot Rods are modified (stroked) motors. :End qoute.

    Attached Files:

  2. chopt top kid
    Joined: Oct 13, 2009
    Posts: 959

    chopt top kid

    The Origins of the Beginning...​

    As soon as the internal combustion engine was put in an automobile, people began searching for ways to improve performance. Both of my grandfathers owned model T Fords, and everytime they encountered more than a slight grade, all the kids had to jump out and push to enable the car to get up the hill. If they could figure a way for the little engine to make more power, then maybe only the boys would have to get out and push? All sorts of modifications were performed on these early cars in a relentless quest to improve performance. If one could squeeze just a couple more horspower from a twenty horse model T it would be deemed quite an accomplishment. Heads were shaved to increase compression, the valve passages were ported and relieved, cylinders were stroked and bored and multiple carburetors were added. These terms became commonplace around the mechanic shops that performed these operations.
    There was a downside to hopping up the ol' four banger though. These early engines had poured babbit bearings and when they encountered the increased abuse resulting from these performance modifications it would only be a matter of time until the babbit was hamered out of a rod bearing resulting in a "hot rod". It soon became expected that if you drove around with a modified engine in your car, sooner or later you would end up with a "hot rod". As the years passed the term "hot rod" became synonymous with an engine that had been modified for increased performance. By the time the insert bearing was introduced, the term was already ingrained in the mechanic shop vocabulary and the rest is history...;)
  3. davidbistolas
    Joined: May 21, 2010
    Posts: 962


    That's the best explanation ever. Is it true? Wait, don't answer that- I, being ineffable, deem it so.

    Love it.
  4. Cooder2
    Joined: Jun 3, 2012
    Posts: 49

    from up yours

  5. OneBad56
    Joined: Dec 22, 2008
    Posts: 534


    According to Ed "Isky" Sr, they were called "get-up and go's" in his earlier days, other called them gow jobs, or hop-ups and final evolution to hot rods.

    Hollywood B-movies called them "hot rods".
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2012
  6. N49racer
    Joined: Aug 26, 2012
    Posts: 35


    When was the first time the term Ark or Arc was used to describe a HotRod?
  7. reefer
    Joined: Oct 17, 2001
    Posts: 742


    I would guess it was a term coined by a journalist somewhere......people involved never usually set out to give themselves a is usually some guy coming up with a catch.all name to categorise a fad or's a damn cool term though, whoever came up with it.....HOT R O says it all, whatever it means in reality....shame it gets used too often on the wrong sort of cars.
    Fordnut40 likes this.
  8. Many disputes over the origin - But the most likely explanation is this;
    In California in the '40s and early '50s hot Rodders despised the term "hot rod" and never used it. They considered it a black eye. To the general public a hot rod was beat-up jalopy with no muffler, careening through a school zone with a juvenile delinquent at the wheel. To the newspapers they were a menace on par with Communism and ought to be stamped out by the police. To the serious student of speed who had a lot of brains, sweat, and money tied up in a sophisticated performance car, this was nothing but an insult.
    They used the terms hop-up or gow job. So where did these come from? Well, "hop" and "gow" were names for opium which were in use as far back as the late 1800s and probably came from the Chinese. In the old days they improved the performance of race horses with drugs including opium and cocaine. This was not even illegal until the early '20s and continued surreptitiously after that.
    A horse that went faster than it had any right to, was said to be 'hopped-up" or "gowed-up". From there it was a short step to apply the same names to a souped-up car. By the way, human drug users got the same names. If you read a few hard-boiled detective stories from the '30s and '40s you will soon find reference to "hopped-up punks" and "gowed-up hoodlums." And people still say "Johnny is all hopped up on drugs"
    clunker likes this.
  9. Fordnut40
    Joined: Jul 10, 2009
    Posts: 112


    Real Hot Rods don't have fenders.
  10. Chappy444
    Joined: Jan 27, 2012
    Posts: 1,103

    1. Maryland HAMBers

    You're thinking of Richard Simmons ...

  11. scotts52
    Joined: Apr 7, 2008
    Posts: 2,087


    Not necessarily hot rod but I know the disciples drove a Honda. Says so in the Bible.
    "They were with one Accord"
  12. reefer
    Joined: Oct 17, 2001
    Posts: 742


    There will never be an answer to this question as it’s been asked so many times over the years.

    I have a theory though,..go back to the days leading up to the term “HotRod”, the races at dirt tracks etc.Now think of a signboard put up by the organisers with the different classes..but abreviations instead of the full words, so , Sedans=Sdns...Coupes= Cpes.. and Roadsters= Rods..... a bit of advertising to jazz things up and stick Hot in front of the names and hey presto..Hot Rods.
  13. Barrelnose pickup
    Joined: Aug 20, 2008
    Posts: 1,125

    Barrelnose pickup

    Then Colonel Saunders got involved!

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