The team at R&T Crew had the chance to chat with Rodding USA‘s top editor, Paul Martinez, who gave us the full rundown on building one-of-a-kind hot rods.
This story originally appeared in R&T Crew, Road & Track’s magazine for kids. For more information, click here.
First off, what exactly is a hot rod?
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a hot rod as an automobile rebuilt or modified for high speed and fast acceleration. My definition goes beyond speed to include the car’s look, its stance, and the owner’s passion. Hot rodding began in the late 1930s in Southern California when car enthusiasts would modify their cars and race them on the dry lakes northeast of Los Angeles.
What’s the difference between a hot rod and a street rod?
Street rods are from 1948 and older. They tend to keep more of the body’s original/stock look with modified suspension, engine, transmission, and interior creature comforts. They get painted any color of the rainbow and always have custom wheels.
How long does it take to build a hot rod?
A home-built hot rod might take two to 10 years, while one built at a professional shop could be done in a year or so. It all depends on the condition of the vehicle and the number of modifications.
How fast do they go?
Depending on the engine and the body style, I’ve seen them run 200 mph on the Bonneville…