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Hot Rod


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Street Rod, Hot Rod & Custom Rod. The naming conventions can be confusing, but the formula is simple; take an early-bodied car, drop in a modern driveline and then make it safe by updating the brakes, suspension and steering. In addition to improved performance, the other prevailing characteristic of a Hot Rod is a modified appearance. Chopped tops, channeled floors, Frenched lights, and shaved trim often add streamlined appeal to these thoroughly American cars.

What is Considered a Hot Rod

Hot Rod: (noun), A vehicle rebuilt for high speed or acceleration

That’s how the dictionary describes a hot rod. We might say that it’s not quite that simple. We, as people who love hot rods and what they do for us, might conjure up a few more thoughts. A hot rod does more than just going fast. Hot rods are the product of a person’s ingenuity. They reflect one’s ability to take something ordinary and make it extraordinary. A hot rod can be modified to look more pleasing to the eye, to be distinctly different from what it used to be. Hot rod parts are used to make a car look, sound and perform at a higher level than it was originally designed to. It’s a reflection of it’s builder.

Hot Rod History: Born in America

Many hot rodders choose to get their fingers dirty, just like their fathers and grandfather’s did. They took an old ordinary car and made it better than new: lighter, faster, quicker, and easier to work on. From the earliest days of the automobile, hot rod parts were used to make them go faster. When World War II ended, the hot rod performance craze exploded. The greatest generation was eager to live their best life. This included having a cool car with hot rod accessories. Many Model A Fords and '32 Fords were built into custom “jalopies” as some called them. Many of the hot rod parts supply pioneers of this time staked their claim in this new hot rod parts industry. Guys like Fred Offenhauser, Ed Iskendarian, and our very own “Speedy” Bill Smith. Hot rod performance in those days meant being able to hit 100 mph on the street, or even faster on dry lake beds like El Mirage or Bonneville. 

When stock car racing and drag racing came into vogue in the early 1950's, Detroit took notice and horsepower became a factory offering. It wasn’t long before the big three were offering hot rod accessories you could buy for your brand new car. Everybody had the fever. The accessibility of bolt-on street rod parts birthed numerous speed shops which sprouted up all over the country. Early speed shops were a cross between an auto parts supplier and a machine shop. These became the go-to places to get hot rod parts and street rod parts. When you walked in to a hot rod parts supply shop, you could smell the rubber tires and the honing oil of the machine tools. You could see the gleaming chrome hot rod parts for sale on the shelf. Hot rods and fast cars were part of pop culture. Songs were even written about them. One of the first rock-n-roll records produced was about a factory hot rod - Rocket 88 by Jackie Brenston and His Delta Cats in 1951.

What is a Street Rod Car

A street rod is a modified passenger car or pickup, usually those manufacturered before 1955, that's made to be a roadworthy antique car. The term street rod refers to any antique vehicle with upgraded suspension, brakes, a retrofit engine, and upgraded interior. The terms used to describe a hot rod have changed some. Today, we use words like street rods, rat rods, restomod, custom cars, lead sled, and gasser to describe variations of the hot rod genre. Cars called "derelicts" are designed to look like unrestored vintage cars on the outside, but house modern suspensions and high performance fuel injected engines underneath. Thanks to our freedoms, hot rods are more popular in America than they have ever been. They personify a certain breed of person.

For most of us, this drive to modify our cars starts early. As children who grew up in car-crazy households, maybe we dreamed of hot rod parts under the Christmas Tree instead of toys. As young adults, maybe we remember asking our spouse for a high-rise intake as an anniversary gift. We can’t imagine that it’s much different from most of you. A hot rod is often a sacred thing to us, and the quest for vintage car restoration parts is often like a vacation. Many of us have traveled hundreds of miles just to comb a special junk yard in hopes of finding those special antique parts for sale. 

Our Mission

When you are in need of street rod accessories or specialty antique auto parts, finding a reliable hot rod parts supply can be frustrating. The world has become a huge, confusing vintage auto parts marketplace. We know how you feel when it comes to finding the right stuff for your car, as quickly and as easy as possible. Your time is valuable. When it’s time to invest in street rod accessories or buy those special antique auto parts for your little piece of personal history, Speedway Motors is just a click away. We've spent decades curating a catalog of vintage car restoration parts you won't see anywhere else. Plus, with our huge inventory, same-day shipping, and nationwide distribution network, we're ready to ship vintage car restoration parts to your door in record time. Our mission is to supply your need for speed & power equipment, and do it with the very finest service and selection in the world. Speedway Motors is America’s Oldest Speed Shop® and we speak hot rod.