How to Build a 40’s Rat Rod

Posted by at 11 August 2014, at 12 : 31 PM

How to Build a 40’s Rat Rod

So, you’ve decided to build a 40’s Rat Rod and you are trying to figure out in what direction you want to go. Some things we will get into detail with will be the roof heights, suspension heights, and keeping or eliminating your chrome.

Lowering your Rat Rod is another common thing that’s done. This can be achieved in many ways. Changing spring heights to adjust is the easiest way, but it is uncontrolable. Once you set it, it stays that way. Airbags are great since they allow so much adjustment, and they are not too difficult to install. There is some fabrication involved, but replacing coils with airbags is an easy remove and reinstall. Replacing the rear leaf springs with airbags is a little more involved but not much more. A couple brackets to weld in and that’s about it. All you have to do then is plumb the system and add 12 volts. Much like installing brake lines with voltage…in a nutshell.

Chopping the roof height is very popular, and nothing adds more to a traditional Rat Rod than a chopped roof. Now, this should not be attempted by a novice or even a moderately experienced person but don’t get too worried and scared of it. The worst thing that can happen is a messed up cut. So weld it back together and try again. These old cars have thick, workable steel that is easier to weld together than thinner sheet metal of today’s vehicles. In making the decision to chop off the roof and lower the height of your Rat Rod, these are some precautionary measure you should follow: Gut the interior, including all glass and fabrics. Anything that cannot be removed easily should be covered with welding blankets. Weld in a couple of braces from side to side to keep the car from flexing after the roof is cut off. Having enough bracing is important to keep the car square.

Rat Rods and chrome should not be used in the same sentence. Typical Rat Rods are flat and chromeless. Even if you find that you want to use the shiny moldings, sand them and paint them a flat color to keep with the Rat Rod genre. By using these simple ideas and some of your own imagination and intuition, the final result will be one of your vision, and that is your goal after all.

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