Tag Archives: collector car hobby

The World of Rat Rods, Jalopies, and Patina Cars

For years now, Rat Rods have become a bigger and bigger part of the collector car hobby. While some people may not like them, I see them as being a great addition to the hobby.

Now let’s talk about Rat Rods. What really is a Rat Rod? Believe it or not, the term Rat Rod keeps expanding every year to the point now that there really isn’t a solid definition for them. It used to be a car that was assembled using scrap parts with very little fit or finish and with modifications that went to the extreme. Slammed roofs, channeled bodies, all rusted parts, and fabrication using anything you could find that would work to fit your needs.

These parts usually look like something that you would find in a metal scrap yard. Over the years, the Rat Rod has seemed to improve in quality. There are really talented metal fabricators constructing some really cool looking Rat Rods. Generally, the Rat Rod is becoming more refined. We are seeing cars that are built that may be a Rat Rod, but have less of an unfinished or aged look.

patina cadillac

Let’s fast forward several years. Now the term Rat Rod seems to be used for any car that is unfinished, but not being actively restored while being driven. I have heard people say that they “Rat Rodded their car out.” In my day, these types of cars were considered a Jalopy. So I still differentiate between the two.

rat rods

We also have the patina cars. These cars are very popular today. The cars basically look like an old car that has been around a long time with faded paint, some surface rust showing, and basically an all over weathered condition. However, the drivetrain, suspension and brakes have been upgraded for performance and drivability. You can even have brand new modern drive trains. It is relatively normal to see an old car like this with an LS, Coyote, or modern day Hemi engine in them.

1964 GTO jalopy

There are two ways to get a patina car:

1) Find an old car in this condition. This is easier said than done. You have to find one that is weathered but not a total rust bucket. If you do find one, you basically modify or replace the drive train and suspension and then drive the car as is after that.

2) Create your own patina. You can paint a car and wet sand it down so the primer is showing through in spots. Expose some bare metal so you get some surface rust. You can even paint signage on the door panels and then wet sand it down so it appears faded or has parts of the signage missing.

patina truck

Either way you do it, all of these are cool cars with some huge benefits. You don’t have to spend hours upon hours cleaning the car. The cost to build one is a lot less than a full blown show car. These cars get just as much attention and respect as does the 6 figure high-end show car. They also give the ability for people to get into the collector car hobby at a reasonable price.

Having fun is what it is all about. Now go out and buy or build an old car!

Barrett Jackson Palm Beach

The spring 2015 Barrett Jackson auction in West Palm Beach, Florida was one for the books. With over 500 “no reserve” cars going across the block, it was an exciting weekend. I had the privilege to work with TDC Agency, a Barrett Jackson endorsed insurance provider.

Truck

As far as the auction goes, the trends continue. High-quality restorations and high-quality modified cars are bringing good money. Muscle cars make up a pretty good chunk of what went across the block. Because of the multiple generations that adore them, they are always a hot seller.

Convertible

There were also plenty of deals to be had. Don’t let the auction intimidate you. Lots of cars sold for under $20,000. I met a lot of first time auction buyers. The excitement they had bidding and winning their dream cars is second to none. There is literally something for everybody. High end luxury cars like Bentleys, custom street rods, muscle cars, both stock and modified, and a long list of unique old cars that fit perfectly in the collector car hobby.

Bentley

If you’re not in the market to buy, just going to an auction as a spectator is worth it. It is as much of a car show as it is an auction. A Barrett Jackson auction should be on everyone’s bucket list.

Shelby

Will we be passing the torch or will the fire burn?

Will we be passing the torch or will the fire burn out with the next generation? Of course, I am talking about the collector car hobby and the passion for classic cars.

There are a couple schools of thought. One is that the fire will burn out because kids are not into cars, especially old ones. To a lot of younger people, a car is nothing more than something that gets them from place to place. And if that can be done by bike, bus, cab, or a parent, they don’t feel the need to have a car. With this mentality, old cars would seem to be the furthest thing from their minds!

The other thought is that the hobby is going to stay strong for several reasons:

1. Rat rods, low-budget customs and Rockabilly
It is very acceptable to have an old car that is unfinished and still show it off at car shows. In fact, patina is very desirable. The younger generation car owners have embraced the Rockabilly lifestyle. The best part is that it doesn’t take a year’s salary to get started in the hobby and these kids are having fun.

2. New cars are future hot rods.
In ten years, the Mustang GT, Challenger SRT8, and Camaro SS will be very affordable. You will be able to buy a car with more than 400 horsepower that gets more than 20 mpg for under $10,000.

3. Restomods
The popularity of restomods increases every year. Having a cool old car that has new technology built in, so it has the drivability and reliability of a new corvette really appeals to a lot of people, especially the younger generations.

4. Availability of old cars
There are a lot of old cars on the market. This could be a restoration project, restomod, survivor, hot rod, you name it. As new generations come into the hobby, they will have plenty to choose from based on their budget.

If you are in the collector car hobby, share your passion with the younger generations. Your kids, grandkids, and their friends. Take them for rides in the car. Take them to a car show with you. Have them help you work on the car. Let them drive your car (you with them of course). You are not sharing your car, you are sharing the passion!

Which do you prefer, stock or modified classic cars?

There’s an age-old argument about classic cars, keep them stock or modify them. Today, loads of different modified classic cars exist. From stock to modified, here are a number of different roads you can take. You can go with some slight modifications to make a collector car drive efficiently and more reliable, or go fairly extreme like we did with Ami G from The Build.

65 Chevy Malibu SS restomod

My advice is that if you find a “matching numbers” classic car, do what you can to keep it that way, by maintaining it as a survivor, or restoring it back to original specs. As far as long-term investment is concerned, you cannot go wrong with a documented original collector car. In most cases, the value will continue to increase over the years.

stock collector car

On the other hand, if you find a collector vehicle that does not have the original drive train or documentation, all rules are off. I suggest you build it into a custom hot rod:

• there are plenty of these types of cars available,
• it allows a lot of us to have fun in the collector car hobby and
• transform a classic into what we feel is ‘cool’!

modified classic cars

There are pros and cons to either direction you take, stock or modified. Are you someone who wants to own (and show off) a documented piece of history? Or do you want to own (and show off) a hot rod that is an extension of your personality?

Both ways are rewarding and fun. Which road do you take?