Last Call: Rat rod culture is amazing and needs to be more popular

There’s something about an intentionally rusty car that is very badass to me. It could be the chaos that comes with rust and how rat rods embrace it. Plus, the idea of slammed vintage cars also makes them unique. Of course, seeing a perfectly restored classic is always a great sight to see but I would say that a rust bucket sliding on the floor generally turns more heads. It looks almost like the just took that crazy barn find and slapped a new engine in it.

This BMW 700 is a fantastic example of what I mean. The design created by the rust looks so good I wouldn’t be surprised if someone had told me they made it like that on purpose. Do you agree or would you rather see it restored to its former glory?

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23 responses to “Last Call: Rat rod culture is amazing and needs to be more popular”

  1. Batshitbox Avatar
    Batshitbox

    Trip Planning: Just do a flyover first.

    I was never into home video games but maybe I should get this new Microsoft Flight Simulator just to check the weather before I go on a ride in the boonies.
    https://www.theverge.com/2020/8/27/21403769/hurricane-laura-microsoft-flight-simulator
    “Microsoft also worked with the meteorological service Meteoblue to try and simulate the earth’s weather patterns in real time, which is why players who made their way down into the Gulf of Mexico earlier this week were able to catch a glimpse of Hurricane Laura up close.”

    I wonder if I can get a transponder that will indicate in the position, speed and direction of my motorcycle so that people in Flight Simulator can fly over me and see a little virtual motorcycle clipping apexes on the Skagg’s Springs Road. Ooooo…

    1. nanoop Avatar

      Imagine this IRL, being flown over multiple times by way too low and way too obscure airplanes… Which then turn to land on the Niemitz in the San Francisco Bay.

  2. Maymar Avatar
    Maymar

    I live in the rust belt. Rust is something to be avoided at all costs. Rust is meant to be sanded down and at least covered with a coat of primer. Rust will take any leniency shown to it and eat up everything in its path.

    Just. Say. No. To. Rust.

    1. nanoop Avatar

      Is there a higher degree of justice, like, California has no rust but emission testing, whereas the rust belt has it the other way round?

    2. nanoop Avatar

      Is there a higher degree of justice, like, California has no rust but emission testing, whereas the rust belt has it the other way round?

      1. Maymar Avatar
        Maymar

        There’s varying degrees of regulation, but absolutely California has the most severe emissions testing. In my case (Ontario, Canada), we recently got rid of our emissions test, which was pretty weak anyhow (I once had a car *barely* fail despite not having a catalytic converter at the time. We do have a safety inspection (on which rust holes is a failure) but it’s only done at initial registration and then never again.

      2. SlowJoeCrow Avatar
        SlowJoeCrow

        Just live in the PNW, no road salt so minimal rust and no emissions testing in Oregon outside the major metro areas. Plus no sales tax

    3. Sjalabais Avatar
      Sjalabais

      Let me second that. Our wet and salty climate devours cars. Just today I saw a <10 year old Audi A5 with massive rust spots on the hood. Don't allow the paint to slip through nastiness, or you'll pay dearly for it.

  3. Zentropy Avatar
    Zentropy

    Heck, I didn’t even know about the BMW 700, rust or no rust. Cool little car either way.

    1. Batshitbox Avatar
      Batshitbox

      Aren’t they great? I only found out about them recently, too. I’ve never seen one in real life, but if I do I hope it’s that Coupe body style, others had a more boxy rear glass arrangement.

      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/2989b0629e849fd032e0e4c217e5138de078f4ad4e6b5ccbf1561e57438a505c.jpg

      1. nanoop Avatar

        I like the sedan better, the coupe looks a bit like a weekend’s chop job to me.
        The convertible though, that is a little beauty!

        1. Zentropy Avatar
          Zentropy

          The sedan’s more my style, too. Damned cute car either way.

  4. Wayne Moyer Avatar
    Wayne Moyer

    Saw something really cool at the Carlisle Import Car show this a few weeks ago. The import show there isn’t just about Japanese imports. It’s also about French, British, German, Swedish and everything else. It’s a really cool show. To fit into theme is a few pictures of a really cool Suzuki Samurai that was turned into a Rat Rod. A ton of work was done to it. I can’t just post the pictures because I am work. So, for now, I’ll just link my Google Photos of the car. It was hand painted to give it the rat rod look. It had a Japanese Sun that was carved in wood. They converted it to right hand drive. There were so many touches like that. This really was the best in show. That’s in a place with a tent full of real Myers Manx’s!

    https://photos.app.goo.gl/ftEDm5mFV8kM1L466

  5. GTXcellent Avatar
    GTXcellent

    I have never gotten the rat rod – sure, the super low buck slap a few things together, yeah, we did that in high school but only because that’s all we could afford. Believe me, we didn’t want ratty rides. But the high dollar, purposely built rat rod? I don’t get it. Why go through all the time and effort (and money) to still have something that looks like a rusty pile of crap? Even worse, is the faux “patina” – hate, hate, hate it! I wish this trend would go away.

  6. 0A5599 Avatar
    0A5599

    I appreciate rat rods with earned patina. I think faking it is stupid and never understood the trend of aciding Honda hoods to deliberately cause rust, or bullet hole stickers. But I have no problem wearing a comfortable, broken-in pair of blue jeans that might have frayed a bit, and am not put off by their automotive equivalent.

    That being said, something bothers me about the hood on the BMW. I would have expected the sun to have blasted through the pigment on the top of the hood, and left some color on the front instead of the other way around.

    https://nypost.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2016/03/2-photos13.jpg?quality=80&strip=all&w=680&h=356&crop=1

    1. Batshitbox Avatar
      Batshitbox

      Front bumpers weren’t standard on these.The hood seems to have suffered a front-end impact and then been banged back into shape (note the blocky primer, versus the eroded look of the roof.)
      This rat rodder has followed the correct procedure as laid out in the by-laws and replaced all the shiny trim, including the probably destroyed headbadge. All rat rodders must emphasize that they are doing this deliberately, and replacing just the trim and badges is laid out in the by-laws as being “subtle”.

      1. outback_ute Avatar
        outback_ute

        But no shiny clear coat over everything, which to me just looks ridiculous.

  7. Zentropy Avatar
    Zentropy

    The only thing I don’t like about rat rodding is the tendency to chop away certain design elements and weld others in, usually from other cars. Even in high-dollar customs I don’t like chopped tops, channeled bodies, shaved handles, etc., and the usually cruder tactics taken with rat rods often make them look like robotic Frankensteins. It’s all a matter of taste, though, and I guess generally it doesn’t suit mine.

    As for rust and natural patina, I rather like that look, but I appreciate old things with visible wear. And if someone can re-create a worn patina so well that I can’t tell it’s fake, then I have no argument against it. Poorly-done or overly-stylized “patina” isn’t something I care for, though. Just like colored contacts, fake eyelashes, breast implants, and plastic surgery, if something doesn’t look natural, it’s almost repulsive.

    1. 0A5599 Avatar
      0A5599

      If you don’t like chopped tops, you probably shouldn’t enter the Chop Top Challenge.

      2022 Home

    2. Lokki Avatar
      Lokki

      The RatRod thing is generally just the automotive equivalent of designer jeans that come preshredded from the shop. It’s just the Rich pretending to be Poor. This kind of thing used to be called “Slumming”.

      https://us-browse.startpage.com/av/anon-image?piurl=https%3A%2F%2Fi.dailymail.co.uk%2Fi%2Fpix%2F2017%2F07%2F25%2F00%2F42A6CDBF00000578-0-image-a-9_1500938576104.jpg&sp=1598857899T00716c01a03c53adaa807cb97362c2e5a147270d0439bb12a5d1deabf4e35160

      1. Zentropy Avatar
        Zentropy

        Your link isn’t working in my browser, but based on your analogy, I personally disagree. The rat rods I’ve seen involve much more than simply ignoring rust and wear. It’s the personalized modifications, repurposing of parts from other equipment, complete removal of parts like fenders and hoods, and the chopping/shaving/etc. that I generally don’t care for. A car that appears worn and rusted (and has been deliberately left that way) but is otherwise mechanically solid is not something that I would consider a rat rod, but perhaps that’s just my own perspective.

        Your designer jeans analogy would fit if the said garment had one leg ripped off from the knee down, was asymmetrically dyed, had patches sewn in from old dish towels, and maybe some cheap fashion earrings clipped on the pockets.

        To me, this is a rat rod:
        https://images.squarespace-cdn.com/content/v1/577ed2139de4bb6e5ddb4096/1475266779998-IAT92XF9LNSHDMUSB4LN/ke17ZwdGBToddI8pDm48kIbr4GMv6qhN3QTyY_lNIMF7gQa3H78H3Y0txjaiv_0fDoOvxcdMmMKkDsyUqMSsMWxHk725yiiHCCLfrh8O1z5QPOohDIaIeljMHgDF5CVlOqpeNLcJ80NK65_fV7S1UdYpSKpvOaXjwqxBPDoOTinAMsGtwTFvx9wxur_pXZnqdOUYsfFLkrfmerB-FgLAHA/Hot-Rod-Factory-Bethel-Minnesota-automotive-website-commercial-industrial-photographer-August+09%2C+2016-www.jcoxphotography.com-064.jpg?format=1500w

        This isn’t.
        https://collectorcarblog.amig.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/patina1.jpg

        Perhaps in reality, they’re both in the same “rat-rod spectrum” but on different ends. If so, I can appreciate the creativity and craftsmanship that goes into the former, but I rarely find examples appealing at all. However, a worn-down appearance backed up by restored drivetrain mechanicals is something that I find more far favorable than a perfect restoration.

        1. Lokki Avatar
          Lokki

          Your first example makes my point perfectly: $100,000 car pretending to be old and made from available parts. A rich kid all dressed up like a poor kid, at great expense.