Rat rods at various prices and points of completeness are available for purchase online at RatRodAuctions.com and at eBay under the Rat Rod Project category. Both sites offer auction-style listings for lower priced Ford, Chevy and Dodge rat rod project cars, along with related vehicle parts.
Rat rods are bare-bone versions of classic hot rods of the 1930s, 40s and 50s. The jalopy-style vehicles often feature a simple but sturdy chassis, an exposed front beam axle, an open drive-line and an unfinished or primer-only exterior. Many rat rod builders prefer Flathead V8, Chrysler Hemi or Chevy small block engines.
The rat rod movement began with Jake Jacobs' 1928 Ford Phaeton Jakelopy, which he entered into the 1987 Goodguys' West Coast Nationals car show. The Jakelopy featured the rusty body of a 1928 Model A Ford Phaeton fastened to the frame of a 1932 Ford Deuce. This original rat rod had no fenders and included a chopped windshield and a shortened Deuce grille. The Jakelopy was powered by a Chevy 350 small-block engine coupled with a 1939 Ford three-speed transmission. At the car show, Jake parked this unpainted tub next to the expensive customs and shared paint brushes with spectators. With a few cans of red paint, Jake and the crowd finished this cheap and basic hot rod. The event reminded many that hot rodding is about fun and affordability.