Hot rods emerged out of the Great Depression and got their name from recently installed engines that growled more powerful than ever before.
Hot rodding became a go-to pastime where drivers would race one another around the country. Perhaps you’re a die-hard fan of hot rods but you can’t decide which popular hot rod model is best for you.
Sounds familiar? Luckily, you’ve come to the right place. Here are the top 10 hot rods of all time.
1. 1947 Ford Roadster High Boy
Regardless of who you’re rooting for out of team hot rod vs rat rod, we can all agree that the 1947 Ford Custom is a stunner. This powerful rod has a 350 engine, Sanderson headers, and sports Coker period wheels.
The key feature that makes the 1947 Ford Roadster High Boy so popular is the premium-quality upholstery, compact storage underneath the driver seat, and the fantastic sound from the Cherry Bomb mufflers.
2. 1940 Chevrolet Master Deluxe
One look at the 1940 Chevrolet Master Deluxe and there’s no doubt that it’s a head-turner. This model is running on a Chevrolet 350 CI V8 engine and is loved for its Mustang II front end. And you can’t forget the black leather interior and custom wheels.
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3. 1932 Dodge Coupe
Go to any classic car show and you’ll find a 1932 Dodge Couple gleaming at the very front. Every hot rod enthusiast knows that this model is far more than a landmark car, it’s a cultural icon.
But Phil Cercone modified the classic with his twist, making it suitable for traversing off-road terrain. Cercone remodeled the hot rod chassis and installed a six-pint roll cage so the car looks more Mad Max than a classic car.
4. The Beatnik Bandit
Ed Roth’s one-of-a-kind hot rod car hails its name from a famous bank robber, making it just as memorable as its aesthetic. Roth built upon a 1950 Oldsmobile chassis and created a striking canopy made from fiberglass, giving it a unique look.
Roth used an old hot rod engine which was fed by a Bell Auto Parts blow along with Ford carbs. Although he built a beauty, Roth sold The Beatnik Bandit to Jim Brucker, a hot rod enthusiast, for a mere $50.
5. 1932 Ford Roadster
One of the most striking aspects of the 1932 Ford Roadster is its sleek bodywork. A major improvement was the evolution from a wooden structure to a steel-reinforced body. As a result, the hot rod was lighter and more durable so it was safe from the elements.
Ford also removed the fenders and running boards to increase aerodynamics for hot rodding. This made this the go-to hot rod especially for those after a classic style and a smooth cruise. But the 1932 Ford Roadster is also a rarity, making them even more desirable.
6. 1950 Studebaker Champion
You’ll notice the 1950 Studebaker Champion looks similar to a plane, and that’s no accident. Robert Bourke, from Raymond Loewy’s studio, took the original hot rod from Missouri and brought it to Minnesota to redesign it.
The result includes widened rear fenders, rear suspension, and a huge amount of metalwork. And this model is complete with a leather interior and a new console.
7. 1967 Ford Mustang Fastback
In 1967, the Ford Mustang hot rod had its first major redesign although it stayed true to the 108 wheelbases. But, the grille opening was made larger, giving the hot rod a menacing look and this model was the first to use a dual hydraulic system.
8. 1939 Lincoln-Zephyr (The Scrape)
Otherwise known as “The Scrape”, the modified 1939 Lincoln-Zephyr took four years to build. Terry Cook, the creator and former Hot Rod magazine editor fitted this beauty with a modern V8 engine for more horsepower.
An attractive part of the 1939 Lincoln-Zephyr was its glossy purple exterior and lowered body so it looks like it’s hovering. It’s In fact, this hot rod was so famous that you can find a Hot Wheel version of it.
But, when it was later sold to Barry Weiss, the Lincoln-Zepher was repainted black and had diamond step plates installed on it.
9. 1967 Chevrolet Corvette C2
The 1967 Chevrolet Corvette C2, also known as the Sting Ray is the ultimate hot rod. It was developed from the C1, and now features a long nose, a well-designed cabin, and the back has peaked fenders.
Although, it was mostly the front that transformed. The C2 model has pop-up lights and a sleek grille. One issue the design team had was the amount of steel installed onto the C2 as it increased the weight of the hot rod. To make up for it, the team decreased the fiberglass thickness so it still kept the mesmerizing aesthetic.
10. Volkswagen Type 1
Many car enthusiasts would argue that you can’t transform a beetle into a hot rod because they are common. But this isn’t the case! You can make a fantastic car when you get creative and add your personalized twist to create something special.
Plus, a major advantage of using the beetle is they are affordable so they’re perfect to build upon.
These Are the Top 10 Popular Hot Rods
Hopefully, you’ve found a popular hot rod on the list that you’ve fallen in love with.
Hot rods are a fantastic way to pay homage to a moment in history and project your imagination upon it. Just look at the classics like the 1939 Lincoln-Zephyr or the plane-like 1950 Studebaker Champion. This list is only a few great examples of how life-changing hot rods can be. Happy driving!
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