"Get On It!"

How to Build a Hot Rod - I have no idea

by motorfoot 12/2/2008 2:07:00 PM

The Jan 2009 issue of Ol' Skool Rodz has a nice article by Alan Mayes called Project Planning 101. As the "101" implies, the article was basic but had some good tips. Therefore, I thought it would be worthwhile to digest the advice and write my thoughts from a novice perspective.

Some of the main points I picked up from the article are:

  • Decide on a budget and stick to it.
  • Plan your build in stages.
  • Don't borrow money.
  • Keep it a roller.
  • Pay as you go.
"You can build a hot rod for $40,000 that is only worth 16K. Don't do it."

So, since I just recently started looking in to building a hot rod I thought I would take some of Alan's tips and mix in my thoughts and experience so far.

Decide on a budget and stick to it.

Because of my budget and lack of experience in building a hot rod my plan was to simply wait for a deal on ebay, but things happen.

I recently went to a hot rod shop to browse and maybe get a new t-shirt. During the visit I struck up a conversation with the shop manager. Well, he was so dad gum enthusiastic about my quest he got me thinking, "Is building a hot rod from scratch a viable option?" So we talked about what I was interested in and he put together an estimate. The bad news. If they were to do the whole thing from scratch it would cost $37,000, and what do you get? 1930's technology for the price of a used 2007 Corvette.

To make the budget I have no choice but to be involved in the build, which isn't a bad thing. I actually want to get back in to the hobby. So what I need to do is determine what makes sense for the builder to do, and what makes sense for me to do. Those are the key questions to answer to make sure this project is a success. It is the only way to get something safe and reliable and not be nickel and dimed by buying every little do dad from the hot rod catalog. Decide on a budget and stick to it.

Plan your build in stages.

Most everything that is moderately complex has components that work together as a system, such as brakes, electrical, tranny, etc. Like a house, there is a preferred order in which the stages should be completed. In addition, once the stages are determined, you can decide which stages you want to tackle, and which stages are beyond your skill level. So planning a build in stages makes a whole lot of sense when you have budget constraints.

Don't borrow money.

That hits home. After studying the quote the shop manager worked up I realized I would barely have a roller when my funds ran out. After that I had this vague idea about funding the "rest of the build" with miracle money. The reality is, I can not afford to borrow money to build a dream car when my daily driver needs work and my home appliances are cranky, and oh, the economy has gone to hell. Not a good time to be in debt. This is where the "build in stages" keeps you engaged. While you are squirrling away your spare change you can be researching the next stage of your build.

Keep it a roller.

What if you lose your job, get sick, or need cash for some unforeseen emergency? If worse comes to worse, a car with wheels is easier to sell or move in a hurry if you have to.

Pay as you go.

If you plan your build in stages you can pay in stages also. This is a win win situation. You don't over extend yourself and your builder has clear understanding of your budget and scope of work. If a stage goes over budget for some reason then you can adjust by waiting a little longer for the next stage or try to find a better deal on parts for the next stage. The key is you have options.


So those are my thoughts from a novice perspective on "Project Planning 101". As I progress in my planning I will write about the issues I come across and post any resources I learn about during the process. My goal is to have a completed hot rod that is safe, reliable, and just what I want. My goal in writing this series is to encourage you to give it a try. And, if you have already been there and done that, please feel free to share your experiences!

Stay tuned for pictures...


>> Rat Rod Inspiration - My Manefesto. It got me here.

Saved! Five-Window with Hemi Power -- Hot Rod Deluxe

by motorfoot 11/23/2008 11:53:00 PM

On Friday I got a little treat - a short but highly entertaining excursion in a bitchin hot rod built by Mark Ford of Austin Speed Shop, Austin Texas. This coupe caught my eye on a previous visit so it was blast to have the owner give me a ride in it.

Another cool bit is that you can read about this traditional hot rod in the January 2009 issue of Hot Rod Deluxe, on the news stand now.








>> - Hot Rod Delux returns. 

>> - Austin Speed Shop.

>> - Coupe photos on Jalopy Journal.


Austin | Cool Cars

Atomic Punk Roth Style Hot Rod on ebay

by motorfoot 11/7/2008 12:33:00 PM

Check out the latest prize on ebay...the Ed Roth inspired Atomic Punk Hot Rod built by Aaron Grote!




>> - More photos.


Cool Cars

MOTORFOoT Gallery Update - New Rat Rods

by motorfoot 10/29/2008 2:33:00 PM

A few more ebay rat rods added to the MOTORFOoT Gallery for your viewing pleasure!

If you have a bitchin rat rod then by all means, drop a line to MOTORFOoT. It will get added to the gallery.

 MOTORFOoT Gallery



Rat Rods

The Hub Garage Launches Top Shops

by motorfoot 10/16/2008 12:55:00 PM

The Hub Garage is about to launch their first new original HubTV series called Top Shops at

Top Shops features Chris Jacobs, the host of the popular TV show Overhaulin, as he visits top automotive shops around the country and around the world. The first episode features muscle car maniac Steve Strope at his Pure Vision shop in Simi Valley, CA. Steve is working on his very unique take on a 1969 Dodge Charger 515 GTB which will make it's debut at SEMA 2008 - just a few weeks away.

Top Shops will introduce some of the best custom builders and find out what's behind their unique creations. They will also visit some of the top automotive manufacturers, museums, and car collections.

The Hub is still working out a release schedule for the video podcast, but expect regular episodic content.

The videos will be embeddable, downloadable in a variety of resolutions, and available via iTunes and RSS (check out the links below).

The first episode is done so check it out!

>> - Top Shops home. Check out the videos here!
>> - View on iTunes.
>> - Keep up with the latest epissodes via RSS.

eBay Rats Model A is for Anarchy - This Rat Rod Rocks

by motorfoot 9/1/2008 5:18:00 AM

Happy Labor Day! Check out this cool eBay Rat. It is definitely a source for some great design ideas. I think the seat design is very unique. It is on eBay right now if you are interested. I posted some of the highlights below:

  • The dash is custom made with 65 Ford gauge cluster with temp and oil pressure gauge.
  • The seats were hand made with a black leather wrap around love seat style. with side way pleats there are no side windows just front and back.
  • The body has 59 Cadillac tails frenched in and slits cut in the rear for air for the radiator. top is chopped 8 inches and body is dropped 8. car is very low! roof is waist high 41" in the front. roof is aluminum floor is sheet metal all around.
  • The wheels are Corvette Z06 17s in front and 18s on rear.
  • The suspension is leaf in the front with Corvair steering out the side with friction shocks and a parallel four bar setup. The rear is a triangled 2 four bar with a panhard and coils with shocks.



>> MOTORFOOT Gallery - Check out more cool photos in the MOTORFOOT Gallery. 

Jay Lenos Garage - 2002 Z06 Corvette Therapy

by motorfoot 8/30/2008 7:07:00 AM
I never fail to get a kick out of watching Jay Leno's Garage videos because of his wit and his zealous enthusiasm for all things automobile. Jay's latest video showcases his 2002 435 hp Z-06 Corvette.

In the video, Jay goes over some of the mods he has done to the car, such as replacing the potent LS6 with a lethal LS7 427 small block with 500 plus horsepower, the carbon fiber bits  (sounds like a great auto enthusiast cereal, but I digress), and the body kit.

Jay shares his views about the practicality of the Corvette as compared to other sports cars and also a few childhood stories about how the Corvette inspired him as a youth. As he reflects on his youthful escapades Jay takes a moment to confess about a teenage prank he pulled on his principal that consisted of a fake Corvette classified ad that...well, just watch the video.

One thing that rings true to all car enthusiasts is that driving is good therapy for the soul, and Jay shares his thoughts as he hammers the accelerator...priceless!

Be watching for his upcoming video on the ZR-1 when his order comes in so stay tuned!


And speaking of videos, for the last month I have been consumed with various aspects of video. Out of this has come the new MOTORFOOT Video page, which directly integrates YouTube videos with MOTORFOOT content!

>> MOTORFOOT Video Page - Hot Rod Rat Rod videos on YouTube(TM)



The Year of the Rat - Rat Rod Inspiration - Part 1

by motorfoot 8/9/2008 4:59:00 AM

Are you looking for your dream car? Are you researching the new car offerings, but nothing is compelling you? Oh sure, there are a lot of great new cars on the market and more about to arrive in dealer show rooms, but you can't shake that feeling in your gut that something's missing, something's wrong.

Well my friend, you are not alone. The Apocalypse is neigh. Revival is on the way. Behold, the Rat Rod!

"When an industry gets too consumed with itself, whether it be politics or music, the very fans that support the industry start feeling left out..."

Rat Rod, you say? A hunk of rusty old iron? Yes, I say, and here's why. When an industry gets too consumed with itself, whether it be politics or music, the very fans that support the industry start feeling left out, disconnected, discontent. And that is the breeding ground of reform. And reform always goes back to its roots for correction and direction. The Rat Rod is having an impact on our collective psyche. And that's a good thing.

I see several positive aspects about this phenom:

  • A revival of personal creativity.
  • A reintroduction, albeit indirectly, to tratitional hot rods.
  • A reminder of our do-it-yourself roots.
  • A transformation of your garage into a workshop and social gathering spot, cause you're going to need a little help from your friends!

Maybe you have thought about taking up welding, or try your hand at spraying paint or flames, or taking apart an engine? With a rat rod, you can try stuff with no worries. What can you screw up? Can you ruin the resale value? Hell no! Well, maybe a little. But who cares, you bought it cheap!

Lets get back to the basics, back to the roots. Lets build something, and let the others buy $80,000 hot rods. And if you can't build it, so what? Just buy something cheap and do what you can. The point is to jump in and give it a try.

ebay Finds

Just within the last few weeks, I have witnessed some pretty cool rides for less than 13,500 on ebay. Below are just a few examples.

I really wanted this one. The body is original 1928 Ford and no rust holes! It had a unique side profile with 20 inch rear wheels. It sold for 13,500.

This is a 1931 Dodge 3 window coupe. I don't hear about Dodges too often but this one looks mighty fine. The current bid for this is 13,700. It will probably go for a few thousand more due to the style and paint. There is a Bacardi like bat on the rear, and the name of the car is Bootleg Special.

The bids on this 1929 were not high enough to meet reserve so it didn't sell. It has four link rear suspension with air bags. It was really bare bones with a sheet metal bench, a dash consisting of a metal rod to support a few guages. For those who don't build frames, or chop and channel, it would have been a perfect starting point for the remainder of the customization.

Agree or disagree? Do you relate? Share your thoughts here - comment on this article now. 


eBay Rats - More pics in MOTORFOOT Gallery.

MFTV - MOTORFOOT's collection of 30 Rat Rod / Hot Rod videos on YouTube. 

MF Video - Check out the the video pictorial of this article on YouTube! 


Rat Rod photo "Gone Postal" used with permission from artist Michael Ulman. Photograph by Craig Roth.

Woodighini - The story of a Born again Fiero

by motorfoot 7/24/2008 4:30:00 PM

Job 33:28 'He has redeemed my soul from going to the pit, And my life shall see the light.'

O, Canada, home of the T-Rex and the ... Woodighini! Woodighini? WTF is that? That my friend is what you see to your right! A "born again" Pontiac Fiero! You're not going to believe this, but read on anyway!

"If you can't buy it, build it!" That's Woody's motto, and he's got the skills to back it up (and drive it).

Woody is a 33 year old gear head and steel fabricator from Cranbrook, BC, Canada, who one day decided to build a dream car. What's in that Canadian air? I want some!

MOTORFOOT spotted this project on Hub Garage and had to get the story behind it. I really wanted to see this car in person, but alas, we're here in Austin Texas and Canada is like further North than Dallas. So I interviewed Woody via email and composed the conversation for your enjoyment here. So, close your eyes and pretend we traveled to Canada to get the story on the Woodighini. Well, I guess you have to open your eyes. Nevermind. Read on!

MF: So Woody, what led you to build the Woodighini?

It started before I knew it! In July 2007 I received a call from a friend asking me if I wanted a Pontiac Fiero for only $50, so I checked it out! The only thing wrong with the car was the starter. I felt guilty so I paid $60 so I didn't feel like I robbed someone!

MF: When did you start building it?

That car sat outside my window, until the second week of December, that’s when I saw the most amazing car-the Lamborghini Reventon! Just an unbelievable military style mixed with a true exotic, I was hooked!

I found four measurements - length, width, height and wheel base, tape measure in hand to the fiero. No doubt in my mind that was to be my car! Over the Christmas holiday I ordered the first parts: wheels, tires, glass, transmission, engine parts and steel! I’m not one to mess with fiberglass even if it would be easier. Steel is my gift and I'll stick to it! I cut so much of the Fiero away that many times I was asked if I was building a dune buggy? I always gave the same reply, a smile with a Yes! Working weekends and some evenings on the drive train it seemed to look like a dune buggy for months! In June I started working on it more regularly, with the drive train complete, now on to the body.

MF: Well, speaking of drive train, what's under the hood?

The drive is a 350 ci small block Chevy, Scat crankshaft and connecting rods, Keith Black pistons, Comp cam, roller rockers and topped off with a Barry Grant blow through carb. The transmission is a new GM 6 speed standard, the same one they put in the G6 GT, with a Spec racing clutch and modified G6 axles, twin turbo’s and a huge intercooler. To stop all this I have 11 1/4 vented-slotted-crossdrilled rotors matched up with Camaro front calipers and Cadillac rear calipers.

MF: Do you have an idea about how much it might weigh?

I weighed the car on the way back from a car show and it was just over 2000 pounds without the motor/transmission/glass and some minor parts. It should be in the 3000-3500 pound range for sure, with most of the weight just ahead of the rear tires.

MF: How is the car registered? Or, what the heck is it now?

It is registered as an 87 fiero. I can register it as a custom built with a structural inspection. I can insure and drive it as a Fiero with only a safety inspection.

MF: You have come a long way in just a few months! When do you think you will have it completed?

The car should be completed in a couple more months, and then a road trip to remember! She was built to drive not trailer!

MF: Any interesting stories come from your time spend so far building the car?

When I was pulling the fiero apart I found $43 in toonies and loonies, then a friend of mine pulled $24 out of the center console. For the $60 I paid for it I made money!

MF: Do you have any advice for anyone that might attempt something like this?

My advice to others would be to have a well drafted plan of attack on any project, -parts -price -time -etc. I have learned that it doesn't matter if people think you can't do this or that. If you have the determination nothing can stop you!

MF: We can certainly relate! Any plans for another project?

I have been roughing out an idea with one of the design studio's on the Hub. If you think the Woodighini is a challenge or cool LOOK OUT!

MF: Thanks Woody. We appreciate you taking the time to tell us a bit about the Woodighini!

There are a thousand other questions we could ask, but what about you? Questions? Comments? Post em here or go visit Woody at the Hub Garage!


>> - For more pics you can visit Woody's garage at the Hub.

>> - The HubG Homepage.

>> - The Lamborghini_Reventon.

>> MOTORFOOT Gallery - More photos in the MOTORFOOT Gallery!

>> YouTube Video Gallery -  Photos put to music by Photoshocks on YouTube. - A Unique and Growing SNet for Gear Heads (with Pinups Too!)

by motorfoot 7/21/2008 3:08:00 AM

If you are shopping for a virtual garage then you should put on your list. is a SNet (social network) for gear heads. Although the social network space is pretty competitive we always applaud more choices.

MyRideIsMe has all the core garage features you would expect, such as your own garage to park images, a crew (or buddy list), and ability to browse or search by life styles such as Builder, Rat Rod, Hot Rodder, HAMB, etc. They also have an image gallery with an impressive number of cool rides. But wait, that's not all...if you like pinup models (and who doesn't?), you are gonna dig their pinup galleries!


MyRideIsMe targets specific lifestyles. This gives you the ability to browse or search by criteria such as Builder, Rat Rod, Hot Rodder, HAMB, Low Rider, Exotics, etc. It also helps MyRideisMe improve the relativity of advertising to the appropriate audience, which is just fine with me.

Straight Up

There are several things about this site that I found refreshing. The first thing was the straight talk on site advertising. Below is an excerpt from their "Advertise with us" page.

"At our mission is to be honest with our members and visitors. This site will use advertising to make money. If our members and visitors come to our site and let us make money, we'll only offer ads that might interest them. That's the deal we'd like to make."

As Craig, the owner of says, "We won't carry "Punch the Monkey and WIN" aminated ads. Those are just wrong!" (Although Skully loves to punch monkeys, he's down with the concept)

[You talkin bout me? - Skully]

Novice Friendly

The second thing I liked about the site was their unpretentious attitude toward customizing. It is refreshing to see how-to articles geared to beginners. The following quote from one of their blog entries demonstrates their attitude with this humorous line: "The first step in fixing a problem is admitting you have one. Hi, I'm Craig, I don't know crap about bodywork. (Hi Craig). With that out of the way, I moved onto the next step. That�s seeking help." You gotta love the attitude!

Although the site is relatively new it looks impressive and has the basics of a social community in place. And where they might lack in polish they make up for in passion (and pinups!). Building a kick ass web site, writing cool how-to articles, and building community is no small feat. It is hard work. But their enthusiasm and attitude are paying off. They already have close to 700 registered members and the throttle's still down. MOTORFOOT salutes you!

Now go check out the site!

>> - Cruise to the home page...

>> Falcon Build Update #3- The Roof - Or jump in with one of their "Overhaulin" style how-to articles.


>> On the Make - Our listing of social networks and make specific forums.

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