Which do you prefer; a car restored to its original condition or a car that’s been “upgraded” to a hot rod?
Around here, we particularly love muscle cars and we have a great appreciation for the original cars. We love the history of those classics, and it’s our passion to preserve that history. We also know that maintaining a classic car can help the value of the car to appreciate.
However, we do also appreciate some of the impressive and creative changes that people make to their hot rods. When you decide to hot rod your vehicle, you’re definitely turning the car into a hobby car. That can be a lot of fun, but remember that what pleases you won’t necessarily please someone else, so you really have to commit to the car as your own creative project.
Wikipedia has this to say about Hot Rods:
Hot rods are typically old, classic American cars with large engines modified for linear speed. The origin of the term "hot rod" is unclear. Some automotive historians say that the term originated with stolen vehicles being refitted with another engine and repainted. In the early days of automobile manufacturing there was no identical matching transmission, body frame, and engine numbers. It was possible to change engines and repaint the car or truck and in effect turn it into a different vehicle and thus it became near impossible to prove that the vehicle was stolen. The term "hot" was equivalent to being stolen. The term "rod" was equivalent to any motorized vehicle. Even today, the Ontario Ministry of the Environment in its vehicle emissions regulations, refers to a "hotrod" as any motorized vehicle that has a replacement engine differing from the factory original.  Another possible origin includes replacement of the camshaft with a new ("hotter") version, sometimes known as a hot stick or hot rod. Roadsters were the cars of choice because they were light, easy to modify, and inexpensive. The term became commonplace in the 1930s or 1940s as the name of a car that had been "hopped up" by modifying the engine for higher performance. A term common in the early days was "gow job". This has fallen into disuse except with historians.*
When people go the hot rod route, they tend to be attracted to things like larger engines and suspension. People love to slice their cars so that they’ll sit lower to the ground. It’s common to take an old 1940s vehicle and slice it to shrink down the size of the windows, giving the car a gangster feeling. New wheels are usually a must, and let’s not forget the fancy paint jobs or the custom interiors.
Just remember that if you’re buying a classic car as an investment, keeping it in its original condition is definitely the way to go. Taking care of the condition of the car, its originality, and also weighing the rarity of the car, are all important. Even the color can be a factor! You want to keep everything in the best condition possible, including the original seats and carpets, all of the dashboard instrumentation, etc.
Are you a classic car guy, or more of a hot rodder? Or does it depend on the original car? Let us know where you weigh in on the debate.