So ya wanna be a Rodder?

This is an idea put forward by some of the uk-hotrods e-mail group members and it is a good guide to anyone wanting to get into the Hot Rodding or Kustom scene in the Uk. What is written below is the mistakes that many make and the words of wisdom from Guys who have been there and done that and wish to pass on there pearls of wisdom so you can have  an easier road into the Uk Rodding scene read and learn!

1  Don't make do with what you don't really want, you will end up spending all your cash and end up with a half built car you don't really want and won't finish.  Trust me on that I have done this more than once.

2  Before you spend anything do your research, particularly around how much you intend to spend on the project. This is because it will cost twice as much just to buy the parts and you will end up with a half built car you can't afford. Trust me I have done this more than once.

3  Buying an unfinished project can be a bargain as many can be bought for less than the price of the parts they contain, if you get a good one or a nightmare if you get the wrong one. If you don't know enough about basic engineering take someone who does, who you trust.

4  If you can't see it running, it's a non-runner dispite any claims by the seller to the contrary.

5  If you can't drive it, it's not drivable even if the seller either takes you for a drive. Trust me again I have driven too many death traps.

6  Go to rod runs.

7  Go to more rod runs.

8 Don't over estimate, your own ability, your mates ability, your dads ability, etc,etc.

9 Don't over estimate, you enthusiasm nor your mates/dads enthusiasm to help, particularly if ther'e not in to rods.

10  Once you have done your basic costing and then doubled it, check out what rods you can buy that are on the road, it may be worth buying. Really do trust me on this, I bought my first rod, a 27T for around £1000 more than the priceof the parts I had bought to build a 27T and still didn't have a body or chassis!!! Re-selling the parts funded most of it.

11  Having a rod on the road will keep your enthusiasm and you can work on it while having fun.

12  A reasonable rod can be had, on the road for less than a new hot hatch and you won't have to buy a massive stereo, the latest over priced do-dads, fake rear disc brakes, flashing dust caps etc and still look like every other  shopping trolley on the street.  

13  Be realistic, if you want 32 highboy it doesn't have to have a blown big block, spindle mount halibrands and flawless paint to start with. A bonnet will hide the pinto lump, painted steels and imagination can do wonders.

14  All this may sound a bit negative at times but the first time you fire up your car and drive off round the block (probably about 11.00pm after a 12 hour session in the garage and sat on old box) the elation you will feel is unreal. trust me on that too.

15  It is all worth it. I still go out to the garage just to look at my rods and go on errands (the long way) for no reason. JUST BECAUSE I CAN!!!!

16  Warning, having a hot rod is addictive. The only thing better is 2 hot rods

Paul Haywood, Lake Modified 27T and 28A Roadster  

1) Do talk to people and find out what is a good way of starting
2) Don't make your first car (at age 19) a big block blown, nitrous'd, injected space framed, lenco'd etc drag car. You will not finish it!!!
3) Listen to people, if they (general consensus) say its too hard,...then it probably is
4) What's your skill level? .... Be realistic, if you cant weld, then you cant build your own chassis.
5) How much money do you expect to spend? you cant build a good rod for less than £5,000. (yeah I know, you will all tell me how YOU did it for £3,000!!!)
6) Do you have a garage? if you don't then the task will be 100 times more difficult.
7) Do you have any tools? if not then this will eat £500-£2,000 of your budget.
8) Don't bite off more than you can chew, there are 100s of "unfinished/abandoned projects" across England.
9) If you are not sure if you are able to build one, then buy a ready built one, there's no shame in it. then you can modify it as you learn.
10) This is where all you lot join in, add ANY ideas, good or bad, remember, this is to GUIDE, not TELL, new blood how to avoid the pitfalls, of building a car, if they get it right first time, then they will have the confidence/experience to build a better second one, & a third, & a fourth.......................


If you go the build route also bare in mind:

  1. Remember that buying your body, chassis, wheels and tyres is not 50% of your cost ,more like 20%.
  2. Make your budget and timescale and then bear in mind that it will actually cost & take twice what you thought, although may be nearer if you don't keep changing your mind
  3. Join a club or website . You can pick peoples brains and they are a great source of support when times get tough. We've all had times when we didn't think it would be finished.
  4. When the going gets really hard try to bum a ride in someone's car! A quick trip to remind you of the joys of Rodding will give you a much needed kick.
  5. Be realistic in your aspirations. You can't build a £40k rod in a year if you only earn £10k.
  6. To get that blown big block 34 ,you may have to start with a xflow powered 100E  ( if you don't know what a xflow is ,you've even less chance )
  7. Take time to learn about what makes a car a certain style. Trying to break the unwritten rules is a difficult task unless you KNOW the unwritten rules.
  8. Just because its matt black doesn't mean its poorly engineered.
  9. It doesn't have to be shiny to have fun but it has to be safe.


Have one built:

  1. You could have your dream Rod built by one of the well known rod builders, . Its may not be as expensive as you might think.
  2. Rod shops can do as much or as little as you can afford.
  3. When and as you can afford it.
  4.  So if your technically challenged, like me, give one a call, they will advise you the best way to have your rod built. It takes time and money as we all know but in my book "a little at a time" is a good rule to follow.

Good luck
Vince O'Mahoney

  1. Don't under budget & only get jobs done you can afford.
  2. Don't skimp on safety or build quality remember you do want to be able to drive it don't you.
  3. Rod Shop builds don't come cheap but should get you a very well made car.
  4. Discuss every eventuality, and what you expect from your Rod.
  5. Pay as you go along, don't think I will be able to afford that by the time it is done, as nothing is written in stone circumstances change and you may end up with an unfinished car and a load of debt so be sensible and realistic.
  6. Don't go into a turn key rod with you eyes closed or the blinkers on, take a mate who will be impartial and listen.
  7. Do follow that dream though as it makes it all worth while once you finally get to drive your Dream Rod.
  8. Ask to speak to other customers who have had work done there and remember it is you who is paying for this Rod to be built, so get a style built you want and can live with.
  9. Enjoy it!
  10. oh yeah how about reading a few books these two are recommended by Dally (Ian Gray) Hot Rod Bible and Car Builders Handbook no publishers name at the mo sorry.


I am 20, and building a (almost finished) tube framed, big block, nitrous injected, drag raced Pop. So completely ignoring Rule 2 :>)  I've been lucky enuff to have had a dad that's been in to it since like 1970!

1. Buy the best base u can afford
2. Lots of research
3. Don't be afraid to buy 2nd hand bits, just be aware, many Rodders will help you buy good stuff, some may help you buy crap aswell.
4. Folow your own ideas, but also take advise from other Rodders, they done it before.
5. Most Rodders don't bite if you say what you are doing and need advice. 

Ben, (ben_speed)

1  DO IT....its just the best thing driving your own Rod.
2  If you don't know much about Hot Rods find out as much about rodding as you can via the WWW/mags/local meets and cruises.
3  Ask questions.
4  If you don't understand the answer, say so.
5  Know your limits. (Mechanical and Electrical)
6  Be realistic in what you want, can afford and can afford to run.
7  NEVER worry, help is always a phone call or an e-mail away.
9  If your building a rod, decide what you want and DO NOT deviate from your plan.
10  Rodding is about invention, if you've got ideas use them....safely
11  Some things are tried and normally means they are good.
12  Only reinvent the wheel if you are REALLY clever
13  When you've got a hot rod...DRIVE IT.
14  You can't make a hot rod from a FWD car :)


1. For gawds sake start with the right car! You cant make a purse out of a sows ear.

Ed Mather's 

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