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Hot Rods What kind of car should a young guy start on?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by RockaRolla1998, Dec 29, 2017.

  1. RockaRolla1998
    Joined: Nov 19, 2017
    Posts: 10


    Hi, I'm new to the HAMB and as a 19 year old whippersnapper I figured there must be a lot of other young guys with the same question as I have. Ever since I started reading hot rod magazines as a kid traditional rods have been appealing. The only real issue is that anything nice is incredibly expensive... There isn't a thing I wanna do more than build a car based on what a guy could have built in the early 60s. But is there any steel body left that doesn't cost an arm and a leg to get?
  2. chevy57dude
    Joined: Dec 10, 2007
    Posts: 4,352


    Only one choice.
    1957 Chevy
    *I am a little biased*
    4 doors are still affordable. couple threads on here from teenage guys building them.
    Welcome to the hobby.
  3. What's your budget (you do have a budget, right?), what era car do you want to build ('30s, '40s, '50s, or early '60s), rod or custom, skill level and tool availability?

    Living in the rainy NW, finding unrusted cars is a tough trick. Buy the best car you can, it will save you money in the long run.
  4. Morrisman
    Joined: Dec 9, 2003
    Posts: 1,600

    from England

    Cheapest start is a T bucket, or RPU style roadster, if you are into them.

    You can even make a body yourself, if you really want to cut your teeth on sheet metalwork. You are in the best place on earth to build a hot rod.
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  5. Get something that you can drive and do small stuff to for your first project. Hot rods and antique cars don’t drive like todays cars , so they take a little getting used to. Expect to get about 15 mpg. I like any thing that the top goes down on.
    Save the restoration or major project for your second project. Drive one- fix one - sell one and re Pete.

    Sent from my iPhone using H.A.M.B.
  6. NashRodMan
    Joined: Jul 8, 2004
    Posts: 1,441


    Yep...what biggeorge said. Find one you can drive and fix mechanicals on to learn how to use tools and fix things.
    brad2v, hotrodharry2, Stogy and 2 others like this.
  7. DDDenny
    Joined: Feb 6, 2015
    Posts: 9,592

    from oregon

    A lot of old trucks can still be had for a reasonable price, at least compared to cars.
  8. southcross2631
    Joined: Jan 20, 2013
    Posts: 2,415


    Don't overlook 4 door cars. Early falcons and Comets are simple to work on and can be updated to V-8 power very easily . Chevy 2's are the same way. Early Rambler Americans make great hot Rods.
    Find the car with the least amount of body work. I would rather buy a non running good body than a running rust bucket. I fix rusty cars for a living and can tell you from experience that unless you have a lot of patience and welding skills, stay away from cars that need a lot of rust repair. Fixing rust wrong is like not fixing it at all.
    Texas57, powrshftr, wudchuk and 10 others like this.
  9. I'm so glad to see young people interested in Hot Rods. Your at the right place. Finding an early metal Ford body these days, and at a price that you can afford is not to likely these days. My model A body that I bought for $100. today would be $4 to 5 thousand dollars. The most important thing is the { WANT TOO }. You see on some of the T.V. shows how fast they build a Hot Rod. That seldom happens for real. This is what I would do in 2018, and it being my first Hot Rod. First you need a garage, a dad or friend that loves this stuff too, is a big help. I would Check out Speedway motors starter kits. They are very affordable kits. Then I would buy one piece at a time. Never spend more than your budget. Farm out what you can't do. If you really want a Hot Rod it will happen. Post a build thread and ask lots of questions. Most of us didn't have the advantage of a site like the H.A.M.B. for help. Good luck and I hope we can help. The easiest way is to just buy one finished. But beware and have a knowledgeable person with you. What everyone said is good advise. But there's nothing more FUN than a HOT ROD! Ron....
  10. Clay Belt
    Joined: Jun 9, 2017
    Posts: 288

    Clay Belt

    Go for a spin in the middle of nowhere. Something will pop up real quick if you have the nerve to knock on the door.
  11. trad27
    Joined: Apr 22, 2009
    Posts: 1,095


    I second on buying a pickup. They can be found cheap compared to cars and fix a little bit at a time. If your more into a rod and have space and tools what I did when I was 18 was buy a A cowl or what ever you can find and just start piecing togeather. Don’t worry about anything period correct or anything yet. Just a 2x4 frame and whatever horse traded, junk yard, and Craigslist drive train and the rest and ask lots of questions.
  12. WTF really
    Joined: Jul 9, 2017
    Posts: 860

    WTF really

    Small block chevy drive train will be the cheapest and easiest to find stuff for.
  13. First, welcome to the Hamb. You will get more input than you can digest easily so give it a little time before jumping in. I like DDDeny's idea of buying an old truck. Even something from the 50's or early 60's. You can learn, drive it, work on it and then keep it for transportation or hauler (if money allows). This will give you experience and maybe push you a little in the direction you need to go. Keep us informed and post pics of things you like. We like pics! Tim PS, I didn't want to ask how much you can soend but it will determine what you wind up doing.
  14. wicarnut
    Joined: Oct 29, 2009
    Posts: 2,109


    Agree with biggeorge, start out easy(baby steps) and IMO focus on school, a trade, career so you can afford the fun things, like the car hobby. Not your Dad, but now is the time to start thinking on your future, before too much gets going in your life, love, marriage, kids, mortgage, etc. Welcome and Enjoy the Car Hobby ! Warning ! It's a lifelong addiction, enjoyed from youth till the end !
  15. firstinsteele
    Joined: Jun 13, 2013
    Posts: 666


    One can probably find something East of you over the mountains. Not as rusty.

    HOTRODPRIMER likes this.
  16. flatheadpete
    Joined: Oct 29, 2003
    Posts: 9,142

    from Burton, MI

    I built a fiberglass T-Bucket for my first 'real' hot rod but had a few late models under my belt beforehand. The Peter beater cost me under $3k to get roadworthy and rewarded me with years of enjoyment. user1721_pic23052_1224350258.jpg
  17. khead47
    Joined: Mar 29, 2010
    Posts: 1,405


    ^^^^^^^^^^^^ What he said.
  18. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 40,080


    I've been buyjng and fixing up a few older cars, just to have fun driving them for a while. It's really pretty affordable, if you decide it's ok to get the "dregs" of the hobby.

    Last year, I got an Edsel and got it going and put a bunch of miles on it, then sold it for less than I had in it. But it was still a good car that could be used for daily transportation.

    This year I got an old Corvair and I got it going and put a bunch of miles on it. I sold it to my brother for a little less than I had in it, and he's sinking more money in it and using it for a semi daily driver (he also has a 58 chevy wagon, and you might discover that having two old cars is better, because then you might have something to drive while you're fixing the other one!)

    I had about $2700 in the Edsel, and maybe $1300 in the corvair.

    Old trucks are neat, but you might have trouble finding a desirable year Ford or Chevy that is complete and in good enough condition to get it driving easily for cheap. But it's possible, so keep looking. I still have the 59 chevy truck my dad bought for me for $250 in 1977.
  19. buffaloracer
    Joined: Aug 22, 2004
    Posts: 664

    from kansas

    Lots of good advice above. What you do now will have a great effect on the rest of your life. Get a good education. Remember that a good trade is a good education. Don't go into debt. Find something you can afford. Those that tell you will outgrow it" are most probably wrong.
  20. FrankenRodz
    Joined: Dec 20, 2007
    Posts: 837


    Welcome! And as you can see this Forum is a wealth of information.
    My 2-Cents, as touched upon, anything with a large availability of Parts like Tri-Five Chevy's, Advance Design Pickups, Mustangs. (We just Brokered a deal for a Client on a '65 Mustang for $2,500., with 4k original miles!)
    For me the Hunt is half the fun. If anything this Hobby will teach you Patience. Take your time, don't compromise, and ask for opinions if you find something you'd like to buy.
  21. A lot of members have valid points and I remember having big dreams but no money to fulfill them,keep your eyes open for something running and nothing that needs a lot of work,and money to get it running even if it is a good deal.

    Your generation is much more inclined to buy a 4 door where my generation avoided them but they make great hot rods & customs. HRP
  22. missysdad1
    Joined: Dec 9, 2008
    Posts: 2,459


    Before you do anything, read, read, read! Visit as many hot rod websites as you can and read as many older (that won't be hard) hot rod magazines as possible and see what make/year/model/style makes your dick hard. The secret of being a happy hot rodder is to buy and build what you love, not what's handy or what you can afford at the moment. So, take your time, save your money and read, read, read.
  23. Here’s the smartest thing you can do. Don’t get into cars at all. It’s a lifelong addiction that there is no known cure for.

    All jokes aside, what are you into? What kind of money do you have? What’s your tool situation? What are your current skills? Do you have a place to do work on it?
    Trucks are a great start. They can still be had relatively cheap and they made millions of them. If I were you I’d find a running driving vehicle that you can cut your teeth on. You can make it your own while you enjoy driving it and as your skills grow you can do more. 4 doors are fine, I’ve had a few.

    Sent from my iPhone using H.A.M.B.
  24. FatfenderJ
    Joined: Oct 6, 2004
    Posts: 149


    57 to 60 Ford F100. Ive seen a couple running, driving, lowered pretty cool looking trucks for under 6k in the last couple months.
  25. alchemy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2002
    Posts: 12,434


    If I was you I would wait until Squirrel is done with next summer's car and make sure he knows you want it. Whatever it is. He will have all the bugs worked out and well broken in. ;)
  26. belair
    Joined: Jul 10, 2006
    Posts: 7,507

    1. H.A.M.B. Chapel

    I would recommend a pick up. BUT FIRST: DO YOUR HOMEWORK: find the one(s) you like and can afford. Then study those vehicles. What aftermarket help is there, what are the issues (where do they rust, what engine/transmission choices, etc.) with that particular vehicle? I like trucks because there is less interior, and they are fairly simple and straight-forward to work on- especially from about 1966 and older. They really hold there value and are always in demand. Whatever you wind up with, spend as much money as you have to up front to get as a good a vehicle as you can possibly afford. It will be money well spent, in both the long and short run. Then come back here and we will help you build it. Be patient-the cars are out there, and the right one will be there when you are ready. Figure out what you want and what you can get before you go buying.
  27. If you are inclined to get into the older rods like 1920-30s type you might come out better to buy a fiberglass body to start with. I see them for sale as unfinished projects a lot. Buying someone else 's unfinished project could save you some bucks.You will save time and money over rebuilding a rusty beat up steel body. Sometimes you can find Model A bodies fairly reasonable and build a home made frame from rectangular steel. But I would say, start with what you can afford even if you have to get a later model like a 1950s car. Fords will be cheaper than Chevies in the 50s and Mopars even cheaper, depending upon where you get it.
    Just remember, you will be putting more money into it than you will get out of it if you sell it. Amateur builders usually have more in a car than they could ever get out of it. It has to be a love of the hobby because old cars can break you. Thats my 2¢
    chryslerfan55 likes this.
  28. a50merc
    Joined: Apr 20, 2008
    Posts: 908


    First Welcome to the HAMB
    Build what you Like because if you get Something that You realy
    don't like and build it because it Cool., it will go by the side of the
    I have Had a Lot of Cars in all the Year's that I have been in this
    Hot Rod, & I have always Kept my 4 Door Merc.
    Because I liked it alot.

    Just my 3.5 cents

    Live Learn & Die a Fool
    chryslerfan55 and tfeverfred like this.
  29. You are young, as stated before, get your education sorted out first be it academic or a trade. You aren't going to find anything "nice" that you can afford so you are either going to have to work on it or have someone do it for you. Learning to do it yourself saves you money and teaches you, there is that learning thing again. Yes you are done with high school but you will never ever quit learning, get used to it or die. There are a lot of good suggestions here. Decide what you like, what you can afford, what you can do, or learn to do and go from there. You will not be a panel beater or weld a row of dimes at first but practice equals learning, there it is again. You will fail, do not accept it, strive for the best that you can do. It may not be perfect but will demonstrate desire and a willingness to learn. Look at car gatherings at a local meet, there are bound to be some and look at what is there, talk to the owners. A lot of advice here. You are obviously young and have a desire, pursue it whatever way it may be and welcome.
    chryslerfan55, pitman and jnaki like this.
  30. Elcohaulic
    Joined: Dec 27, 2017
    Posts: 110


    Just my 2 cents..

    Find one with the steering linkage in front of the front tires (front steer).. 58 up Chevys, Tempests, Specials and F-85s are like that.. I think they handle better, they have a decent spindle length and are easier to get positive caster out of..

    As far as performance, parts and info, the Chevrolet can't be beat in my book..

    Those 55-57 Fords are badass though!! haha

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