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Hot Rods Step Plates – Why?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Stan Back, Dec 3, 2020.

  1. Stan Back
    Joined: Mar 9, 2007
    Posts: 1,074

    Stan Back
    from California

    Step Plate.jpg
    Why do some put an ugly appendage on the running boards of their hot rods? They break up the lines and most serve no purpose as many already have serviceable rubber surfaces designed to keep you from slipping while getting in.
  2. Marty Strode
    Joined: Apr 28, 2011
    Posts: 5,937

    Marty Strode

    Maybe Dean will give his thoughts.

    Dean Lowe 4.jpg
    Rolleiflex, RICH B, Happydaze and 4 others like this.
  3. jimmy six
    Joined: Mar 21, 2006
    Posts: 9,461

    jimmy six

    Never liked them especially on a 50’s Pickup trucks but see them as an accessory like curb feelers, dual rear antenna’s, dummy spots, etc. If I purchased a vehicle with them I would hope it had a rubber mat so that was all I would need to replace and not weld up holes and repaint. Different strokes for different folks... but at buy/sell time I don’t want your pink or baby blue car...
    PoTaToTrUcK and Lil32 like this.
  4. Country Joe
    Joined: Jan 16, 2018
    Posts: 314

    Country Joe

    Why do people do most of the things they do?

  5. Corn Fed
    Joined: May 16, 2002
    Posts: 2,991

    Corn Fed

    50 years ago it was a style. Just like 25 years ago hidden hinges was a style. And 10 years ago it was spider webs. It's just one of those fads that comes and goes. Luckily it was one of the least intrusive kinds.
    My 32 built back then had step plates on it when I bought it. I removed them (and the cowl lights and horn) when I went thru the car.
    bchctybob, Lil32 and VANDENPLAS like this.
  6. gnichols
    Joined: Mar 6, 2008
    Posts: 10,989

    from Tampa, FL

    Well dang, I always thought they were for cleaning the mud off your shoes before you got into the car (with that raised / curved lip at the back). Or at least for some extra grip if things were wet. But I suppose no one steps on the running boards these days, smoothie or otherwise.
  7. jnaki
    Joined: Jan 1, 2015
    Posts: 5,981


    Having watched a ton of old movies with the early Ford Coupes, Sedans, and Trucks, they seem to be useful for scraping the bottom of the boots to get $#!+ off, before getting in the cab. Most of the early streets were dirt and when a slight rain, fog, snow or other forms of wetness pops up, the driving and walking in those old towns was horrendous.

    When we were little, our dad took us to a friend's farm/ranch in Indio, CA. It was dry there, but the property had plenty of water spraying all over the fields. Some of the pipes leaked and got the dirt roads wet. The property between the house and garage/barn was usually wet and muddy. This was in the mid 50s. Our shoes got muddy and our dad told us to sit on a log and scraped the stuff off of the soles. Wet, muddy shoes were not accepted inside of his pristine, big Buick sedans.


    So, if the coupes, sedans and trucks had them, it would seem the delivery people did not want muddy stuff inside of the cars/trucks. Who does? In modern times 1960-63, when we went to Big Bear to join in the "Gathering of The Tribes" after Christmas, it was a muddy mess if it snowed the days prior to everyone's arrival. My passengers had to scrape the crap off of the bottoms with sticks and towels before they could get inside of the Impala. I had a trunk full of mechanic's hand towels and wooden sticks. As muddy and wet as it was during/after a snowy period, my Impala had to remain pristine, just because...

    If the early roadster pickups were used for farming/ranching and other outdoor activities, mud was evident in the country roads and properties. A scraping pad on the running boards kept the running boards relatively clean and not slippery.

    In our family photo albums, we do see the early roads back in Norman and OKC as being dirt. Rain, snow, and just watering the yard gets those dirt roads somewhat muddy. Great for kids, but problems for drivers getting in and out of the cars parked in some sort of wet soil or dirt.

    These days, it is decorative, but can be useful for those that consistently have muddy roads or properties.
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2020
  8. Dusty roads
    Joined: Nov 29, 2016
    Posts: 179

    Dusty roads

    Reflections.JPG Some guys paint there running boards. Step plates save the paint.
    Packrat, Elcohaulic, Lil32 and 2 others like this.
  9. jetnow1
    Joined: Jan 30, 2008
    Posts: 1,829

    from CT
    1. A-D Truckers

    As Dusty roads said, painted running boards need them. What I question is customizers putting in so much effort to making something smooth and flowing then installing spotlights?
    Lil32 and flyin-t like this.
  10. I have them on mine. I’m not fond of the look but they were on it when I bought it. I’ll leave them be, it’s a truck after all and they come in handy when it’s wet and muddy. What gets me are the little signs/stickers that say “not a step” or “do not stand on running board”. Now that’s funny!
    chevy57dude, Lil32 and High test 63 like this.
  11. Marty Strode
    Joined: Apr 28, 2011
    Posts: 5,937

    Marty Strode

    My Brother has them on his hand built truck, it does save the paint on the running boards, and it fits the application. Tom's Truck 2.jpg
  12. Back during the days of the Resto Rod, and tires hanging out in the breeze, bell bottom jeans and white striker caps they were at their height of popularity. HRP
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2020
    49ratfink, Lil32 and VANDENPLAS like this.
  13. UGLY??? Says whom?

    chopped and Lil32 like this.
  14. I have bare neckid running boards on my truck. I don't care too much for the steps with logos and the fishtail spoiler on 'em so I found these.
    I haven't pulled the trigger and screwed 'em on yet, still taking a 'giant step' into the truck without touching the running boards.
    I'm thinking that they don't look too bad compared to those above this post. DSCN1731.JPG DSCN1733 (1).JPG
    Lil32 and VANDENPLAS like this.
  15. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 49,265


    A few scratches in the paint are way less noticeable than those stupid ugly steps will ever be....

    I have a pair of new ones with the Ford logo, the guy who I got my T from never got around to installing, them, fortunately.
  16. Stan Back
    Joined: Mar 9, 2007
    Posts: 1,074

    Stan Back
    from California

    Let's see. Running boards were made to step on. How about painting the brake pedal, too.

    "Needed to wipe your muddy shoes." Maybe all the step plates are installed 180º off. If you need to scrape the mud off your shoes, take them off, try to clean them up on the raised part that is nearest to the splash apron while you're standing in the mud. Put your muddy feet in the now clean shoes and realize how smart you were.
    Lil32 and texasred like this.
  17. Budget36
    Joined: Nov 29, 2014
    Posts: 6,719


    I think they look good on a classy looking car/truck-pre war. But I don’t pick a part someone’s vehicle anyways. ;)
  18. partsdawg
    Joined: Feb 12, 2006
    Posts: 2,969

    from Minnesota

    Anything else you want to bitch about?
  19. The37Kid
    Joined: Apr 30, 2004
    Posts: 28,170


    Back in 1970 a good friend restored a 1922 MERCER Raceabout, it had linoleum covered running boards, just like it left the factory. Somebody stepped on the running board to get in and turned their foot 180%, they weren't wearing golf shoes, but the effect was the same. I'm not a big fan of the step plates on Fords, some teens and 20's cars had nice factory, ones, I do like the ones with the outside mud scraper. Bob
    26 T Ford RPU likes this.
  20. The37Kid
    Joined: Apr 30, 2004
    Posts: 28,170



    Then there are the guys that Love step plates and Hate running boards. :rolleyes:
  21. 5window
    Joined: Jan 29, 2005
    Posts: 8,231


    Why do I think this is a silly conversation?
  22. indyjps
    Joined: Feb 21, 2007
    Posts: 4,246


    Just an accessory, some guys load their cars up with them, some dont use any.

    My father has installed chrome wheelwell moldings, chrome mirror covers, plastic wind deflectors on the doors, and a drop in bedliner on his past 4 new trucks. I offered to do a spray in liner in the bed - and buy the material.
    Who knows? .....thats what he likes
    Lil32 likes this.
  23. blowby
    Joined: Dec 27, 2012
    Posts: 7,746

    from Nicasio Ca

    They don't look all the hideous to me, and no I don't have 'em. If I did, I might incorporate a bottle opener on the driver's side, and a mirror on other side, for dating.
  24. 26hotrod
    Joined: Nov 28, 2009
    Posts: 958

    from landis n c

    I cut the flange off of the one I had to make a cover on the hole in the floorboard where the dual master cylinder is. The FORD logo looks good on the cover................
    Lil32 and The37Kid like this.
  25. woodiewagon46
    Joined: Mar 14, 2013
    Posts: 1,895

    from New York

    I can't say why people install them now other than they are an old time accessory item. Back in the day some running boards were painted and some were rubber coated. To prevent scratching and the wearing of the rubber, they came out with accessory step plates. I never put them on any of the Model A's that I have owned, simply because I couldn't see myself drilling holes in the new running board. Some people like them and some don't, it's simply a matter of choice.
    Lil32 likes this.
  26. hotrodjack33
    Joined: Aug 19, 2019
    Posts: 2,561


    When I was building my wife's Panel...and adding every accessory known to man (at her request), step-plates were a given:p
  27. Budget36
    Joined: Nov 29, 2014
    Posts: 6,719


    Take them little mirrors our of your penny loafers and act ya age!;)

    Okay...I was the same way, had my glove box lid chromed in the PU, used to shine it up before a date....sigh...
  28. stanlow69
    Joined: Feb 21, 2010
    Posts: 5,493

    from red oak

    There was a thread about stupid curb feelers too. So I put mine back on my car after 25 years of not having them on.
  29. Black Panther
    Joined: Jan 6, 2010
    Posts: 1,764

    Black Panther
    from SoCal

    I like them...was an interesting eye catching doo dad to run on an otherwise plain black rubber mat. Plus, its traditional
    egads and Lil32 like this.
  30. Roothawg
    Joined: Mar 14, 2001
    Posts: 21,622


    I remember wanting a set when I was in grade school, way back in the 70's. I used to look at them in the hot rod catalogs and pipe dream.
    Lil32 likes this.

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