The hot rod is as classically American as baseball and apple pie, and as universally loved. A reflection of the innovative, resourceful and rebellious spirit of the owners, hot rods speak to an opportunity for self-expression.
Hot rodding used to be a way to reinvigorate an old clunker, but it has now evolved into an art form of metalworking and sculpting. The hot rod serves as a feat of mechanical engineering more likely to be enjoyed at auto shows than tearing down the drag strip. Let’s take a look at eight cars that are definitely hot rod worthy.
1. 1938 Lincoln Zephyr
The V12 3-window Coupe Lincoln Zephyr is a favorite of hot rodders, who often spare no expense in creating their dream machine. Originally built by Ford as a mid-sized luxury car, the Zephyr lends nicely to being dressed up with air ride TCI suspension, C4 automatic tranny, a fine leather interior and a custom rebuild on the engine.
2. Volkswagen Beetle
Originally designed in Germany as a two-door, four-passenger economy vehicle, Beetles are a great choice for hot rodders as they are inexpensive to buy and maintain and available nearly anywhere. Add custom shafts, a shell grill from a 29 Ford, suspension from a model A, a rear suspension Fat Boy 4-link with air-ride, a 350ci crate motor with Demon carb and Turbo 350 tranny and you’ll have the most enviable bug on the block.
3. 1951 Chevy 3100 Pick Up
With ample space for a big engine, the 1951 Chevy 3100 screams to be turned into a powerhouse. There’s room for a powerful V8 350ci/290hp deluxe crate engine, cast iron cylinder heads, aluminum intakes, and an Edelbrock 600 cfm carb. Add a custom exhaust, GM 700 R4 tranny and custom driveshaft and it’s a beast!
4. 1929 Ford Model A
Once one of the hottest selling car in America, the Model A has become famous for hot rodding as well. The Model A is easily customizable with fiberglass fenders and running boards, custom leather on the seats, a 350 Chevy engine, Turbo Auto tranny, Holly fuel injection, Mustang Two front suspension, power disc brakes, and a roadable rear end gear ratio.
5. 1933 Ford Coupe
This four-cylinder V8 was the first to use the flathead engine and was known as the Model B. One hot rodder doctored this car up with a Roush engine, tangerine orange paint, a Ford Automatic tranny with overdrive and Italian leather for the interior.
6. 1967 Chevrolet Corvette C2
This Vette with hidden headlamps, also known as the Sting Ray, has been valued for decades for its muscle and sporty good looks. It’s a favorite of hot rodders for its high power output and low weight. With a 427ci big block V8, tri-carb, 4-speed manual transmission and a fresh coat of your favorite glossy paint, the rest of the pack will be just a blur in your rear view mirror.
7. 1959 Austin-Healey 100-6 BN6
The 3-liter 3000 was a big competition car in its day, and still popular with car enthusiasts. It can be suped up a 350 Chevy LS1 engine, performance pistons, stiffer valve springs, a downdraft carb, MSD ignition box and custom headers and pipes. Better add some racecar pedals as well, because this custom hot rod will be ready to blow the competition off the road.
8. 1955 Chevy Bel Air
This 55 Chevy was the first to offer a new, lighter and more powerful V8 as optional and a true shoebox body style. Add a 454ci engine for power, a TH350 automatic tranny for flawless shifting, power steering and brakes, a throaty exhaust, classic, polished rims, a bright yellow coat of paint and a pumping stereo system and your hot rod may be the hottest in town.