A rat rod is a modified car with a purposely worn-down, incomplete appearance.

It is typically made from cheap and cast-off parts that lack paint, showing rustThese parts are usually repurposed products of non-automotive itemsA rat rod might not carry an extraneous decoration but will always radiate a great deal of persona.

How much is it to Build a Rat Rod?

Well, to be honest, building a rat rod can cost you roughly around 1,500 US Dollars. However, it depends on the types of gadgets and parts you are adding. This affects the increase or decrease in cost. You plan to include thicker plates for the body and a high CC engine with greater horsepower. Then the cost can rise to 3,500 US Dollars. Similarly, you plan to go for a thinner body and less expensive wheels with a lesser CC engine. Then the cost may decrease to as low as 1,000 US Dollars.

One of the major problems with the rat rods is that they are undergo modifications for driving. They don’t appear in any car shows on a trailer. Moreover, no one ever overly worries about damaging a rat rod’s paint job.

  • However, a vehicle driven on public roads needs to meet the safety and emission laws. So, how do the manufacturers ensure that their vehicles are on the right side of the law?
  • To be honest, some simply don’t. They simply build their rat rods whichever way they want. Then they register their car using a somewhat moderate interpretation of what it truly is.
  • Subsequently, they pass the safety inspection process since they happen to be folks with the licensed mechanic. Nonetheless, these outlaw rat rod manufacturers are less in number. Most rat rod manufacturers are generally on the level.
  • The manufacturers of rat rods who choose to obey as per with the motor vehicle laws face the state laws. A few states are very firm about vehicle inspections. California, for example, has strict emissions laws.
  • Further, some states have extremely tough limits on sound pollution or require cars to possess good visibility. This is a real problem for vehicles with chopped roofs.
  • The preeminent way around usually is to register the rat rod as an antique. This frees it from certain regulations; though it is not a free pass.

What is Considered a Rat Rod?

A Rat rod is an alternative for hot rod, a term which we generally use for a modification or customization. To be precise, it is usually customized from a classic car for a higher speed which has been in operation since the 1940s. However, automotive historians are not sure of the origin of these rat rods. Some claim that it is a shortening of a hot roadster. And, others say rod referring to the engine’s camshaft and a hot rod initially referring to a performance camshaft. Also, by extension, it is called a performance engine. In the early 1930s, the hot rod was also used as slang for an unruly young man or an armed criminal. The purpose may be to suggest a possible link between a furious and flashy car with hooliganism.

How do You Channel a Rat Rod?

Channeling is a customization that we apply to cars with body-on-frame build-up. To channel a rat rod,

  • You can momentarily lift the body off from its perimeter frame. After cutting the floor you have to lose as well as refastening it much higher inside the body.
  • You can then lower down the body over the frame. Hence, the customization causes the total body to rest near the ground without any alterations to its suspension.
  • This will give the rat rod a massive appearance with an overall effect on the car’s body.
  • Lastly, each automobile will have its engineering confrontations as far as customizing the different components of the chassis. The local laws may avert from making the customization too extreme, but safety will dictate some control.

Rat Rod Building Tips

You can build a rat rod on your own considering some basic knowledge of cars. Firstly, you require the following equipment prepared:

  • Car
  • Chassis
  • Engine
  • Components like the tires, transmission, pistons, and lights

Here are some tips to build a rat rod,

  • Firstly, pick a car frame as light as possible. The lighter the car frame, the less weight the car has to carry, and the faster it will run.
  • While you are planning to build a rat rod, the basic rule is to search for the most powerful engine possible. There is no need to be concerned regarding its looks. You can simply get the largest one which fits easily in your car.
  • After that, it’s time to put in some other components. The most fundamental are the transmission, steering wheel, batteries, clutch, etc. Since you are planning to build a rat rod for speed, keep it as simple as possible. You shall focus on adding components that will only give as much speed as possible.

How to Build a Rat Rod Frame?

You have to constantly adjust and tweak the Rat Rods since admiring it is as much for its aesthetics as for its practical value. Thus it makes this a fun job for the garage hounds with superfluous parts and time. Here are some useful tips you can consider while building a rat rod frame:

  • Primarily, you need to procure an old model. To get that, you need to visit a local junkyard and check out the oldest cars that are still running. This will make good candidates.
  • Then, remove all interior parts from the car. That means you’ll require removing all the seats, fixtures as well as all other accessories from the car. This will strip it down and start fresh.
  • Deplete all the gasoline present from the gas tank. You can place a container below the drain cock. You can also remove one of its fuel connections and collect any gasoline leftover in the gas tank. This is an important step in building the rat rod. Now, you need to be doing many welding jobs and any lingering traces of gasoline can be dangerous.
  • Lastly, you can shape the frame in whatever way you wish. Then, measure and mark the place where you wish to insert the vehicle’s new axles and wheels. After that, you can cut up the frame to your desired length by using a reciprocating saw.

Rat Rod Frame Ideas

You can purchase enough steel to make your rat rod frame for sixty US Dollars to eighty US Dollars. This is particularly for a 2x3x1/8-inch wall tubing frame. Moreover, this will be more than the required strength for a rat rod. Furthermore, its lightweight will be a major bonus. You can tie the frame together such that it won’t break unless you are planning to mount a top fuel dragster engine.

  • You can also build the frame for 1948 Ford which will be a great idea too. Then you can see how easy it is to customize a rat rod frame on your own. The pattern for the rat rod and truck frames differs merely. The same goes true for the T- buckets or whatever blending you are up to.
  • Moreover, this 2x3x1/8-inch tubing frame will possibly come in a twenty-four-foot length. This means you will need another eight-foot stick. Adding further, you can offer the layout for a 1948 truck rod as well.


  • Never chose heavy iron frames as it will make the rat rod slower.
  • Try to fix as much powerful engines as possible that fit into your frame.
  • Always legalize the vehicle from ‘Motor Vehicles Departments’ to avoid legal actions.

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