Cool Rat Rods That Are Not Afraid To Be Different


Rat rods are a special breed, and they’re not for everyone. These cars are powerful and wild. It takes a special imagination to design these cars and elite mechanical skills to build them. We’ve filled this entire article with mind bogging rat rod photographs and as many backstories as we could find. Even major rat rod fans will be sure to see cars they’ve never seen before. Some of which are packing 1000+ HP and better handling than some modern cars off the factory line. We believe anyone will enjoy this article so much that they will be sure to share it with others. So without further ado, here are some of the cool rat rod photos we could find. Please enjoy.

1925 Duesenberg 8 Speedway Roadster

Built by the Duesenberg brothers in 1925, it was given to driver Peter DePaolo, who zoomed his way to victory at the Indy 500, setting a new average speed record of 101.13 miles per hour, which held up for seven years. The engine measured 121.3 cubic inches with a supercharger thrown in that could produce 225 horsepower. This car was on the auction block and expected to fetch $200,000-$275,000, but blew that estimate out of the water, going for a cool $352,000.

Winged Rod

By now everyone probably noticed that half of this car is missing. That’s when they realize it’s not a car at all, but a wild rat rod. With the front one third giving off the look of a classic hot rod, this Frankenstein-esque creation turns head with the rear two-thirds of a 1950s Chevrolet Bel-Air. For many Americans, drag racing was synonymous with the 1950s, and the Bel-Air was a huge part of that era, selling 1.7 million units in 1953 alone. The Bel-Air makes for some really cool restorations or, in this case, a rat rod.


Car purists would go insane at the thought of a beloved BMW getting the rat rod treatment, but everyone would be crazy if they didn’t think this innovation doesn’t look absolutely sick in its form. Forget the hood, there’s no room to contain this massive block engine. The engine seems to be pushing the signature front plate of the Beamer forward along with the wheels to match. Intimidating and brutal in all black, this BMW rod looks like it might be more at home chasing James Bond’s Aston Martin through the Swiss Alps.

WheelBarrow Rod

There might be more efficient ways to scare everyone, but there are few more thrilling that constructing a rat rod out of a wheelbarrow. Yes, that is right. And it’s not just a wheelbarrow that enthusiasts are using to construct these mini-racers. The one featured above, built in the 1970s but still active in the 2010s, has a pitchfork grill, a snow shovel for a seat, and a post-hole digger serving as its rear bumper. If the headlights look familiar, they were swiped off a 1953 Mercury.

1929 Ford Pickup “Phoenix”


This cherry-red number just screams old-time speed. Originally it was a stock-bodied Ford Model A. Still, its custom-loving owners have modified just about every single bit of it, including 2 inches of extra legroom, a hand-carved, and a foundry-cast Phoenix emblem. To top it off, this vehicle comes equipped with a 383-cubic inch motor with fuel injection heads and Rochester Tri-power induction. The car still boasts its original Stewart Warner heater for the AC/heat. This eye candy was built entirely in a home garage over a two-decade period of labor and love.

1957 Chevy Wagon Rat Rod


This vehicle is a 1957 Chevy Wagon Rat Rod. It won a 2013 ‘Rat Rod Build-Off’ nationwide competition. ITW Hot Rods in Minnesota used a .57 wagon body as the base and created a new frame. They put in a 355ci Yeoman Racing Engines Small Block Chevy engine into the vehicle. Rick Newberry later purchased the car. Another cool addition is four-spoke steering wheels. Rick Newberry took this vehicle to many car shows, and it didn’t turn heads. Newberry saw potential when he saw Chevy Wagon, and he bought it directly from ITW Hot Rods owner Chris Walker.

Jeepster Rad Rod

This Jeepster Rad Rod was spotted in 2016. The owner spent $13,000 on it with new parts, including a stainless steel fuel tank. In a video by the social media channel “Wheels,” he notes he uses a GPS for the speed due to the vehicle’s mismatched gauges. We think the only flaw is perhaps the front fenders need to be stabilized, but it still looks really cool. We mean, just check out those spider headlights and the arm like parts holding the side-view mirrors. Overall awesome, just avoid speedbumps.

Yellow Fever

Jason Bliesner is an entrepreneur in Illinois. He owns a bar, car wash and manages rental properties. At some point, Bliesner felt motivated to build a school bus rat-rod. At an auction, he bought a 1941 Chevy bus for $2,700. Bliesner kept the bus’s original look but added a 12-valve 8.9L, air-ride suspension, and compound turbos. Bliesner also updated the interiors. The bus gets 15-mpg at 80-mph. Imagine the kid’s reaction if this bus picked them up in the morning.

Stubby Bob

This rat rod was completed on the popular Motor Trend social media show “Roadkill.” The hosts Mike Finnegan and David Freiburger took a 1950 Ford F6 2-ton dump-truck and added a 454 cubic-inch big-block Chevy engine and Weiand supercharger kit, which made the truck significantly faster. Along with these additions, they used a Hooker weld-up kit for the exhaust, shortened the wheelbase. For the engine to fit, the group had to mount the engine backward, creating the vehicle everyone sees before them.

Jeep DJ-5

Jim Bye from Camillus, NY, purchased a Jeep DJ-5 from eBay. As a retired letter carrier, he turned his Jeep into the ultimate mail rat rod. Bye said he removed the body and welded the frame. He went on to customize the front and rear. The Jeep has an exposed 292-cubic inch, six-cylinder engine from a 1985 GMC Truck along with Mickey Thompson tires. Bye decided to use postal service paint schemes such as the USPS logo on the left and blue and red stripes on the sides. He even included a mailbox. Bail put in under $5000 to complete the vehicle. He said it is a big hit at “cruise-ins, car shows, and parades.” He also welcomes people taking pictures of it or even sitting in it. Thanks to his vehicle at one auto show, Bale raised more than $4,800 in three days for a Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA). Now that is something to write home about.

Hot Rod Scooter

We could not find much information on this one, but it seems to be a heavily modified mobility scooter. We think it looks hilariously awesome. Who needs to walk at the grocery store when someone has this baby. They will finish their shopping ten times as fast with an engine like that. People will finish their shopping ten times as fast with an engine like that. We wish we had the ingenuity to build something like this vehicle. We bet we could win races against actually with a rat scooter like this one.

Crazy Frank

If someone has seen “Mad Max: Fury Road” (2015), they might be familiar with this one. Nicknamed Crazy Frank, the car was built off a Holden FX ute and has a four-intake supercharged Chevy V8 combined with a two-speed Powerglide transmission. Snapper also called Colin Jon Macey built the car. At a car show, some films scouts approached him about buying it. Vehicle designer James ‘Johnno’ Johnson said they “simply had to have it” for the movie. We don’t blame them.


This rat rod was built off a 1928 Sudebaker and is now fitted with a turbocharged 29-liter engine from a Patton tank. The result produces 1400 horsepower. The creators of this monster, Blastolene Brothers, assert that Rodzilla can do a quarter-mile in 11 seconds. If true, wow. On top of that, the car stands over 7 feet. Also, if someone thought the “Rod” in the nickname derived from “hot rod” or “rat rod,” they would be wrong. It is actually named after the car’s owner Rodney Rucker.


This is a 1955 Chevy Sedan 150 Gasser built by WelderUp. We love how they made the blower look like it literally ripped straight out of the vehicle’s hood. It looks awesome. People will see this on the road and instantly think of power. Nuff said. Another nice attention to detail is the green lining on the inside of the hood. It adds a nice layer contrasted against the rawness of the outside, and that green continues into the interior dash as well. There are several layers to this car mod, that’s for sure.

M*A*S*H* Rod

If someone is of a certain age, seeing that name has the theme song playing in their head already. For the younger bunch, we’re talking about the popular CBS TV show of the 1970s and 1980s that stood for Mobile Army Surgical Hospital and followed a team of surgeons and support staff during the Korean War. As fitting, this rat rod, wonderfully named “Loose Nuts”, this rat rod is a chopped down US Army Jeep with mismatched tires for aesthetic appeal. These Jeeps were known for their durability and remarkable ability to master any surface on the planet.

Corvette Zinger

Zingers were model car kits developed at MPC Corporation, made famous by showman Bob Larivvee Sr in the 1970s. The idea was to create scale replicas of cars using almost full-size engines. Definitely a unique idea if we have ever heard one. The models were often used to promote ISCA hot rod shows. While not technically a rat rod, we thought it was a cool bit of trivia. We would not be opposed to someone creating a full-size vehicle with this style.