Even if you don’t know that much about rat rods, it doesn’t take much to figure out a Rolls-Royce doesn’t really fit the mold. Fords, Chevrolets, Dodges, and other American vehicles are typical candidates for the rat rod treatment. A proper British car, especially the ultra-stuffy Rolls-Royce is at the opposite end of the spectrum. That fact makes this build so much more epic.
You can hear the whole story from Sam Hard of Hard Up Garage in the video above. It is funny how an Englishman got caught up in a plan to build a rat rod, yet he was living in jolly old England where such things are virtually unheard of.
The resulting build was epic, unlike any rat rod build before. The car was chopped, lots of flair was added, but the Spirit of Ecstasy hood ornament proudly remained on the radiator surround, so everyone could quickly identify the brand.
We have Robert Williams, a famous artist who was already involved in the hot rod community, to thank for getting the rat rod movement rolling. Taking a ’32 Ford Roadster, Williams lowered it slightly, added some modest performance upgrades, streamlined the body, then added red primer. For the final touch, he put “Dead Man’s Hand” graphics on the front panel, reading “Eights & Aces.” Taking the car to different shows in Southern California, it was nicknamed the “rat rod” by Hot Rod editor Gray Baskerville. The term stuck as people started to imitate and improvise on what Williams had done.
Call it a pushback against the Pro Street movement, but a good number of enthusiasts were fascinated by the concept of rat rods. Instead of glistening chrome, perfect body panels, and 6-figure builds, the rat rods always have an edgy, fun look about them. And now you know this philosophy can be applied to virtually any vehicle, apparently.
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