How to Build a Hot Rod on a Budget

Building Hot Rods: 30 Years of Advice from Fatman Fabrication's Brent VanDervort (Hot Rod Basics)


This is a hands-on how-to guide to building a hot rod chassis

Now comes the fun part. Building a hot rod body from just a pile of sheet metal and tubing. Scratch builders use a variety of approaches when building a body. I use what I call the "skeleton and skin" method. I first build a framework or "skeleton" out of 1x1 and 1x2 rectangular tubing. I then cover that framework with a “skin” of sheet metal, usually 19 gauge.

You can't build a hot rod that won't smoke both tires, so under the tail end of the truck is a Ford 8" rear end, pulled from a 1966 Ford Mustang. The internals were tossed, and in their place, Byron and I installed a Yukon posi differential along with a 3.55 gear set to allow everything to fit properly. Between the rear end and the output shaft of the Getrag transmission sits a custom driveshaft, built by the team at Drivelines, Inc. A custom adapter was machined to allow the use of U-joints on each end of the driveshaft, as well as a slip yoke to account for the short 4-link that was required out back. With everything mated up, and solid-mounted to the frame, there's no slack or give left - it's all tire-spinning raw power straight to the wheels.

How To Build A Hot Rod Vw | Aircooled Magazine

Originally Posted by bigdog7373
Just wondering, would it be possible to build a hot rod like the one in the pic without actually having a car to start with? I know you could build a frame and suspension and all, but what about the body? Is there any companies that make all the body pieces for old cars from the 20s and 30s? How hard would it be to make a body? It seems like these olds cars are becoming quite difficult to find, so naturally i was wondering what would happen when we eventually run out of old cars? Can you build one from scratch?


I hadn't planned on buying a car that day, or any time soon in all honesty. However, after selling a car, I had money burning a hole in my pocket, and excitement got the best of me. I called up one of my closest friends, Geoff Tumang, and asked him if he was on board to pick up a car. Without hesitation, he rushed over and off we went - to Pete's Rod and Custom, about 45 minutes inland, where the old girl sat out front. I didn't bother asking questions - let's be honest - I didn't know what to ask. While my understanding of how cars work and the fundamentals behind them is solid, Model As were as foreign to me as BMW's S54 is to a Nissan fanatic. The car got me excited, and that's all that mattered. I was ready to build a hot rod despite whatever challenges it presented, and after some negotiating, I handed over $2,200 and called up a tow truck to take her home.

To build a hot rod , you must first decide on the type of hot rod you wish to build. If building a pre-1940s car or truck, the chassis can usually be constructed using square tubing. On vehicles 1940 and newer, modifications to the original chassis must typically be made to create a hot rod chassis. Many aftermarket specialty companies manufacture and sell chassis components that will aid you in creating a hot rod chassis from scratch. With a plan laid out for the chassis, careful preparation and welding will ensure a straight and square chassis capable of supporting a high-horsepower drive line.