Hot Rods And Custom Cars
For those looking to build a car that's unique, with more style and power than a standard production model, there is the wide-open field of hot rods and custom cars.
Hot Rods are time machines. Built right, they never go out of style.
Custom cars and trucks bring out the individuality of the builder.
if you have the time and are mechanically inclined, skills to build a custom car can usually be obtained. You may not have the skills today, but once you learn them you'll always have them.
Swapping An Engine For Performance
Some might say that physical size is the only obstacle when engine swapping, but that's only true if you need to contain the motor under a hood. In the world of hot rods, the sky is your only limit.
Read: Engine Swap Basics
Best Engine For Hot Rod Build ?
For the last 75 years, the two most common motors for custom and hot rod builds are the flathead Ford and the small-block Chevy. No other motors have the history, racing heritage and aftermarket parts availability of these two engines.
Produced from 1932 until 1953, the Ford Flathead V8 was placed in over 25 million cars and trucks. The engine's 21-year production is on "Ward's List of the Ten Best engines of the 20th century".
Although offered in several displacements, the block remained the pretty much the same throughout it's production. Any part needed, including replacement blocks, are still available!
Read: Flathead Ford Performance Upgrades
Debuting in 1955, the small-block Chevy V8 immediately starting beating Ford flatheads on the street and on the track. It's capacity for displacement increases helped keep it the engine to beat.
Since the 1970s, the small-block Chevy V8 has been a common sight between many a hot rod's frame rails.
If you're thinking of building a small-block Chevy for your hot rod, there's a lot out there to choose from.
Read: Small Block Chevy Build
Go Fast Cheap
There are plenty of other motors out there for the street rod project you're brewing up. Any first-gen Chrysler Hemi, or a small-block Ford come to mind. (Did someone say Buick Nailhead?) But they don't have the "go fast cheap" that the flatties used to have and SBC's still have.
"A true hot rod is never finished, it's just taking a rest until the next idea comes up."
1931 Ford Five-Window Coupe
My friend Rick bought this 1931 Ford coupe in 1986. I went along with him for the ride. He still has it, and it's gone through a lot of changes.
I'll give you three guesses what powers Rick's five-window coupe. No. it's not a flathead Ford, and it's not a small-block Chevy. And it's not a small-block Ford...
Read: 1931 Ford Coupe
Build A T-Bucket
To build a T-bucket fifty years ago, you'd have to have been a mechanic, welder, and painter, and also know how to lay fiberglass and do upholstery. Today, it's a whole lot easier.
Read: Build A T-Bucket
Unfortunately, one of the hardest parts of building a hot rod or custom car is getting it registered. Here is a link to Crankshaft Coalition's Wiki page that goes through various state's and country's different procedures: