What the emergence of shows like RoadKill, The smoking tires “all cars go to heaven” movies, Top Gears cheap car challenges, even to an extent Regular Car Reviews. Have in common is the idea of “kinda crap” is “kinda cool”. Is this a new thing? Is what’s going on a Rat Rod evolution? This seems like a bit of a silly question, but it has implications beyond what you may think! The whole world may rely on the answer! Probably not though.

So rat rods came about (as far as Wikipedia tells me) when A fellow named Jim “Jake” Jacobs decided to build the “Jakelopy” interesting article here http://autoculture.org/?p=671 that’s where this picture is from

So like any good movement the initial effort was not to be dramatically different, more of a reintroduction to the roots of the hot rodding. Cheap, fun, and kinda goofy. Then slowly the rat rod morphed into a style of its own. It became what it intended to end. Now Rat Rods are all about crazy, over the top, and in my personal opinion a being a bit ridiculous.

So we had Hot Roding which started as cheap power & fun in cars, that became overly costly and begat Rat Roding, which followed the same path. So what did Rat Rodding begat? Well that’s the thing, it didn’t spawn anything in its place. We as a car culture grew beyond our “Roding” roots. We had powerful import cars, cheap muscle cars abound in the late 90’s and beyond. So we weren’t needing to build our cars up we could grab an off the shelf powerhouse.

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As trends in the automotive world expanded and became more insular in the wake of all this off the shelf performers. i.e. ricers, euro tuners, American new muscle, it goes on all the way down to brand loyalty in each subculture. Yet out of all this emerged a very interesting thing happened. A pure enjoyment of cars in all there shapes and forms, but mostly in the ones that are a bit crap. Everyone reading this is probably one of these enthusiast. You like your cars no matter what kind, but you have a soft sport for those left unloved for years, almost like a “rescue” pet. Part of the love for this type of motoring is the knowledge that you are saving something that would have ended as scrap, another part of the enjoyment is because it’s cheap!

What I think is so remarkable is that this whole thing seems to be a product of the Internet, and just a touch of counter culture. It really didn’t spawn from any existing car trend. It will be fascinating to see how it evolves. Will Miata always be the golden idol? It can’t be known. We aren’t hemmed in by any sort of constrain that other trends like Hot/Rat Roding faced.

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It’s truly an exciting time in car culture

Ike is host of the Untitled Car Show ( untitledcarshow.podomatic.com ) he has owned 2 Dodge Challengers; a Volvo C30, a V70XC, a V70R, 740; and a Saturn Ion . He is a new father and loves driving and autocrossing. He can jerry rig with the best of them, and he wrote his bio in third person. He also has 2 dogs, 2 cats and is a crazy person some say!

The two photos up top are not mine, they were found via Google, last pic it my car.

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Email the author untitledcarshow@gmail.com