Register now to get rid of these ads!

The Cost Of Hot Rodding

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Ryan, Nov 29, 2007.

  1. Ryan
    Joined: Jan 2, 1995
    Posts: 17,714

    from Austin, TX
    Staff Member

    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 1, 2014
  2. Big T
    Joined: Aug 29, 2006
    Posts: 637

    Big T
    from Florida

    Interesting post. Also remember, D. Hitchcock paid a heckuva lot less in taxes in 1954. If an ad like that came out today I'd say that car would sell in about 5 seconds.
  3. Aaron51chevy
    Joined: Jan 9, 2005
    Posts: 1,986


    It ain't cheap, but it's getting easier to do. With things like the HAMB and the HUGE aftermarket, getting into a hot rod is easier then ever. Hell I just saw that speedway now sells a complete roadster, just add a driveline and go! Of course to stay Traditional and build with ONLY orignal parts, whew, that takes time and MONEY! Or at least to know some old cogder that squirreled away enough cools parts to build a rod today :)
  4. zman
    Joined: Apr 2, 2001
    Posts: 16,511

    from Garner, NC

    I actually read a report on how housing prices then and now compare, about the same conclusion as what you said about hot rods. Shit is getting expensive... but if you look real hard you can sometimes still find a deal...
    Register now to get rid of these ads!

  5. Evel
    Joined: Jun 25, 2002
    Posts: 9,022

    1. 60s Show Rods

    Funny I was just talking to my wife about this the other of the guys I
    interviewed for MFs 5 mentioned he paid 325.00 for his upholstery (Interior, roof instert and trunk) in 1956 and we came to the conclusion that it wasn't much different than todays rates comparing income then and now...
  6. Harris
    Joined: Feb 15, 2007
    Posts: 863


    Interesting read. I don't know - I think it's all about perspective, EVERYTHING is more expensive now. What was the price of a bottle of coke back then? I'll guess around ten cents - now a small bottle goes for over a dollar and a small can goes for eighty cents!
  7. tommy
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 14,763

    Member Emeritus

    One of the barometers that I've always used is the price of a mid scale new car of the same time period. It always seemed to be pretty close to what a upscale hot rod was priced at. At least that's how it seems to me.

    One other thing to consider when doing the price game is the standards of the time compared to the standards of today. Most of the guys here can build a state of the art (1953 standards) in their garage. The bar has been raised which muddies the water when making price comparisons.
  8. Firetop
    Joined: Jun 5, 2007
    Posts: 247

    from chicago

    Its all was expensive then...its expensive today.....and itll be expensive tommorow.....but we'll always be hot rodders and no matter the cost we will always find a way to make it happen. Hot rodding is like cant live without it and what ever the cost you'll do what it takes to get it ........I also think its what seperates us from the sheep.
  9. It's never been "cheap" I have a bunch of old speed catalogs for the late 50's early 60's and I am surprised who expensive parts were back in the day.
  10. Paul
    Joined: Aug 29, 2002
    Posts: 13,607


    $48,000 median income?
    that's tough,
    averages aren't always that clear to me,
    does that mean that most hot rodders are trying to make do with less than that,
    and only a few are way above that?

    I’m guessing that most hot rodders are at or above that number

    as for the estimated apox. one third yearly income for a nice car it does make a good case to take to the secretary of war and finances
  11. Plowboy
    Joined: Nov 8, 2002
    Posts: 4,239


    Interesting. I find that I spend about 50% of my wages on hot rod parts and stuff. That is mainly because I practically live in the garage and never go anywhere or do anything except for about 5 or 6 shows in the summer.

    Funny, it seems that anymore just as many guys lie and brag about how LITTLE money they have in their cars as those that used to tell everyone how much they had in it. Ha Ha Ha

    That is why I am stockpiling my projects for the future. Hoarders C.C.! Ha Ha Ha
  12. happy39
    Joined: Dec 7, 2006
    Posts: 11


    Thats what makes this so special. It is not an elitist thing but rather a passion. I always feel that things are relative. My thoughts have been that most things have gone up by a factor of ten in the last 35 years or so. From gasoline to housing to the price of a gallon of milk.
    I also agree that it is much easier today to find things rather than in the early days. Sometimes its best to just enjoy and not worry about the bottom line.
    Nothing turns me off more than someone trying to sell a hot rod by justifying each expense they have made in trying to determine asking price. Every one needs to set a limit on worth and stay within it.
    Have fun and drive the wheels off of them.
  13. I think one of the big differences between now and then is simply- How many aftermarket parts did your average 'Rod have in '54 compared to now? I mean, isn't that part of how trad hot rodding regained it's popularity?

    In other words, does the "nice" $1200 Hot Rod in 1954 represent alot more blood, sweat, and tears- and a whole lot less catalogue parts than a modern $25K Hot Rod or Kustom?
    Joined: Nov 22, 2005
    Posts: 7,594

    from SIDNEY, NY

    I'm quite certain, after seeing the brief description of what the car had in it, that Mr. Hitchcock was losing money at $1200. No one actually expected to make money selling their rod in those days.
  15. Paul
    Joined: Aug 29, 2002
    Posts: 13,607


    Hoarder's CC

    that's a good one,
    'bet most everyone here belongs
  16. Choptop
    Joined: Jun 19, 2001
    Posts: 3,277


    Lets face it, hot rodding aint a cheap hobby/passion/lifestyle.

    Even if you build a really low dollar rod for say.... $2000, thats still alot of money.

    I've LOTS of hobbies, and hot rodding is tops in expense. R/C cars or planes, hunting, high powered rocketry, archery, fishing, music, racing motorcycles.... none of them come close in cost.

    the other side... is that hot rodding is worth it. I have a passion for cars, the cost rarely enters into my mind.
  17. Ryan
    Joined: Jan 2, 1995
    Posts: 17,714

    from Austin, TX
    Staff Member

    The reason I picked that ad for the comparison:

    1. It wasn't a '32 to '36 Ford, so the collectability effect on value is minimized. In that same magazine, there was a '32 roadster at $1100... Since deuces are way they are now (that car could be worth 75k now), that would have been a much harder comparison for me to make now...

    2. It was priced pretty high relative to other cars in the section... In fact, there was a "just finished" model-a truck for $450. Trucks weren't "cool" then as they are now.
  18. flathead fred
    Joined: Jul 18, 2006
    Posts: 298

    flathead fred

    Even worse if you rent a shop like I do, it is almost as much as my house rent. Gotta find that old barn in the country to live/work/play.
  19. Hot Rodders hold a tremendous amount of personal pride that is equated to value in the products of their labor. Rodders are a passionate and optimistic bunch. I’m one of those, the money that I spend is worth every penny to me. Yea it’s expensive.

    A cynic knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.-Oscar Wilde
  20. Shifty Shifterton
    Joined: Oct 1, 2006
    Posts: 4,966

    Shifty Shifterton

    Not so sure it's a bad thing. Sounds a little country club, but also helps sort the wheat from the chaff. Ya gotta have a certain amount of stability and level headedness (or be born lucky) to have the resources to physically build & acquire parts for a project car.

    I find bikers to be an interesting comparison. It involves the same basic thrill-ride mentality mixed with mechanical complication. But cycles are attainable with 1/2 the cost and 1/3 the time of an equivalent car. Don't know if any of you have run with bikers, but the lower price of admission (hours & dollars) brings in some interesting folks. Least that's how it seems to me. Flame away biker HAMBrs.
  21. zibo
    Joined: Mar 17, 2002
    Posts: 2,350

    from dago ca

    $420 could get you a nailhead, hemi or a big chevy 409
    $190 rebuilt flathead sounds like a deal even back then!
    but for $320 you could have the 347 pontiac

    This looks about 1963+
  22. Joe T Creep
    Joined: Jan 1, 2003
    Posts: 1,145

    Joe T Creep

    WOW. What a great comparison. So interesting. You gotta pay for what you love. Be it cars, women or anything else......
  23. Prop Strike
    Joined: Feb 18, 2006
    Posts: 652

    Prop Strike

    Thanks for another thought provoking entry in the JJ.
    That reminds me, I need to go check last nights lotto numbers. They always say anything worthwhile requires sacrifice. Relatively speaking, some things are probably more affordable (air travel) and others are still expensive (unobtainium for example). To a certain extent, cost of hot rodding sparked the innovation that resulted in scarcity of alot of the bits and pieces we lust after.
    Finding alternative (read cheaper) solutions at the junkyard or scrap pile has always been part of the fun to me. There's a garage full of brand new vintage caddy speed parts and other fun stuff for cheap somewhere. At least thats my fantasy. Better get looking.
  24. KIRK!
    Joined: Feb 20, 2002
    Posts: 12,034


    The bottom line is that prices are all relative to their time. I just read a report about gas prices. It said that when gas was $.50/gal it was equal to us paying over $5/gal today.

    I think it's funny when people get worked up about prices when they look at old ads and don't think at all about the relativity of the situation.

    Guys always look at being able to buy a Model A 40 years ago for $250. Well, that's very comparable to paying $2500 for a used Honda Civic today (They were definitely the Civic of their day). Especially considering that the price of a good new car was in the $2500 range. A 1967 Malibu hardtop coupe with a V8, for example, was $2,540.
  25. pastlane
    Joined: Oct 4, 2007
    Posts: 1,058


    I have a 1972 Gratiot "Garage Sale" catalog that offers a complete 375 inch sbc 6-71 blown, enderle 2 port with scoop, Mondello heads, crane valvetrain, Isky 2" drive, ready to run for only 1595.00 How times have changed...
  26. ray
    Joined: Jun 25, 2001
    Posts: 3,731


    compared to collecting stamps or building models, hot rodding is expensive, but that's a no brainer.

    i compare the cost of hot rodding to buying a "real" car. most people today are driving new cars in the 20g+ range, LOTS of people are driving 30grand or more SUVs and trucks. those people are usually the ones that ask "how can you afford all those cars you have!?" truth is currently i have 5 old cars and one $500 late model beater for my girlfriend in the winter. i don't have 20 large in ALL of my cars. i generally buy parts similar to the lower income to average guy of the period i build to, that means fentons instead of halibrands, 51 chevy instead of 51 merc, etc. if you build only with the rarest of the high-zoot parts, yeah it gets spendy, but the "relatively" common and cheap stuff i use usually costs LESS than current aftermarket stuff, or even stock replacement parts for a late model car. when i can have a small fleet of cars, nearly one for every day of the week, for half the cost of a new pickup, i consider that pretty damn cheap, and the best part is, every one of my cars, even my shitty "beaters" turn more heads than the most tricked out late model. that's fuckin priceless.
  27. i'm not sure if that's a fair comparison .$1200 was the price he was asking in 1954,,,but how much did he actually have in it? back then hot rods didn't have much resale value and he could have has much more into it,,maybe even $2400?

    now , hot rods seam to have good resale value and if you build it right and do most of the work yourself, you can can usually get all your money back out of it when it comes time to sell
  28. Great blog enrty. Sure it takes SOME money but as mentioned by Plowboy, IT TAKES DEDICATION and SACRIFICE!

    Reading this brings to mind the folks that you see looking at a hot rod and talking with their buddy " I sure wish I could have something like this" No they dont! They havent a clue because they lack passion man!
    Joined: Oct 2, 2007
    Posts: 68

    in 1967 i paid $7200 for a new 427 435 horse corvette. they sell for arround $150,000 at Barrett Jackson now. hopefully the hot rods we build will be worth more as time goes by,so the investment will pay us back as well as the fun of driveing a srteet machine.
  30. BAD ROD
    Joined: Dec 16, 2004
    Posts: 1,434


    Interesting to think about, but it seems to me you are comparing apples and oranges. Most folks here covet traditional hot rods. We want the cars that would have been built back in the day. The folks that built the cars that we covet, the hot rods we are talking about, were not building cars with the self imposed restriction of using old, outdated, less available parts (read expensive). They started with a cheap, cool, available platforms and used any part (modern parts included and really preferred) to put together a hot rod and go fast. This is a cheaper way to build a hot rod.Think of it this way…..The 1954 classified add was selling a 28 year old ‘hot rod’ car. A car that, in its stock form, was very available and cheap – that is why it was turned into a hot rod. If we looked at a 28 year old hot rod car from today, say a late 70’s Camaro or heck even a mid 60’s Mustang, the cost to build a hot rod would be much less than $25,000. I just reread what I wrote, not sure it makes sense. But, it seems to me that you are comparing building a hot rod without restrictions (using modern, old, whatever parts are good and cheap) to building a traditional hot rod that is at a severe cost restriction of relying on expensive parts. So, it is more or less expensive to build a hot rod? Heck, I don’t know, I would guess it is more expensive to build a ‘traditional’ hot rod, but less expensive to build a modern hot rod.

Share This Page

Register now to get rid of these ads!


Copyright © 1995-2013 The Jalopy Journal: Steal our stuff, we'll kick your teeth in. Terms of Service. Privacy Policy.

Atomic Industry
Forum software by XenForo™ ©2010-2014 XenForo Ltd.