How to Build a Rat Rod

With some basic knowledge of cars, building a rat rod on your own is attainable. First off, you need to have the following equipment prepared.

Required Tools and Materials

Components (tires, pistons, transmission, lights etc)

Note: the reason you’re making this car is for speed and racing, so grab all the car parts that you’ll need to have it up to speed. This is what the project is all about so get all the parts ready.

Selecting the Car Frame

Here are a few guidelines: pick one that is as light as possible. The lighter the components, the less weight the car will carry and the faster it will go. Get rid of any extra accessories or parts that aren’t necessary. Leave only the essential ones.

Choose an Engine

When building a rat rod, the rule is to find the most powerful engine possible. There’s no need to worry about how it looks. Just get the largest one that can fit in your car. You can buy a new one, but there are shops that sell used or rebuilt engines. Don’t underestimate these; a lot of these second hand engines are pretty good.

In terms of horsepower, the engine is crucial, so go to a shop (or junkyard) and get a big one. Once you have the engine, mount in on the car chassis.

Installing the Other Components

Now it’s time to add the other components. The most basic are the batteries, steering wheel, transmission, clutch etc. Since you’re building a rat rod for speed, keep it simple. Add only components that will give it as much speed as possible. This means getting the most powerful and lightest parts possible.

Take out the other seats and center consoles. Leave only the brakes and other important parts. You may take some of these out and replace them with new ones if you like. Unless you’ll be racing with someone, leave only one seat.

Safety Concerns

Make sure that the seatbelt is functioning properly. Try them and see how well they fit. Building a roll cage is also advisable. This apparatus is now being used by most people building a rat rod. The reason is that it keeps them in the vehicle even when an accident occurs.

Glass windows can also be included for extra safety. Padding and a harness system are other additional safety gears worth investing in.

The Paint Job

Give your rat rod some personality by painting it. Most drivers like black, but you can choose any color you like. You can pick a single dominant color or even a theme. Choose your favorite color scheme; after all, you’ll be riding in it.


Choose the right tires for the weather conditions and terrain. Some tires are best for driving in wet weather while others are for dry conditions. Perform at least a few hours of test driving before racing.

When you’re finished building a rat rod, take it out for a spin. All the hours you put in will pay off as you speed down the track.

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