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.