In Defense of Hot RodsThis is in response to the letter written by Mr. Mel Hayes that appeared in the March 2006 issue of Rod & Custom. As a magazine editor myself, I am used to complaints by subscribers and usually take them with a grain of salt. However, I and many other rat rod enthusiasts were insulted by Mr. Hayes' comment that our rat rods were made for driving in farmers' fields only. Not all of us have wheelbarrow loads of money to pour into our cars to make them shiny trophy winning trailer queens. We do with what we can beg, borrow, liberate, or fabricate from whatever materials we can scrounge up.
I have seen many rat rods creatively built from all kinds of different parts from different makes and models that, in my opinion, are true feats of ingenuity. Almost anyone can find a hot rod shop to build him or her a new hot rod, but what fun is it for the owner of the cookie-cutter car to not have a hand in building it himself? I believe half the fun of this hobby is in building your hot rod yourself and the other half is in driving and enjoying it. Frankly I am thoroughly impressed with the skill, ingenuity, and creativity that is put into rat rods by their owners and I would rather spend a lot of time poring over a rat rod than looking at all those glitter-and-shine, credit card rods.
I'm not trying to put down those who lack the skill to build their own cars and have to resort to having someone build their car for them, but I am tired of those big-buck guys looking down their noses at us rat rodders in disgust and running us down. Just because we don't have all the chrome and high-dollar paint doesn't mean we don't contribute to the hobby because we do contribute to all those vendors in the hot rod industry. We have a younger generation interested in this hobby that will perpetuate it for generations to come, thus keeping hot rods alive.
So in closing, I want to thank all the staff at Rod & Custom for doing an outstanding job of covering both the high-end, shiny hot rods and the rat rods. We are all in the same boat and we need to appreciate each other's hot rods for whatever they are-chrome or rusty.John D. ShankSacramento, CA