The desire for the spirit of Hot Rods exists- perhaps
even more so today than ever before. The popularity of the "rat
rod" is testimony that young people covet the freedom of expression
and rebellious attitude represented by the hot rod.
But there is a problem- a problem that keeps new
enthusiasts from building a rod:
Hot rods are expensive to
build and the chances of finding an early original Ford to create them are slim.
A Hot Rod by definition is an open wheeled (or full fendered) modified
Ford designed in the 30's and 40's. These Hot Rods are expensive-to build, own and maintain.
Today's hot rodder is typically middle aged or older.
Now at a comfortable point in their life they fondly remember the cars
of their youth. With the income to pursue their dreams it is not uncommon
to spend $100,000 on buying and restoring a Hot Rod. For the vast majority of enthusiasts however, a well
built hot rod is beyond the reach of all but the most affluent.
As today's typical hot rodder ages....hot
rods will gradually fade from the automotive scene-gathering dust in
museums or in the collections of millionaires.
Demographic trends suggest that there will not be
the needed influx of younger enthusiasts who can sustain this great hobby.
Without the 18-40 year old buyers of parts and accessories the hot rod
market will diminish in size. Some in the industry point to the import
trend as the future of rodding- but it has yet to prove it has broad
appeal beyond its urban ethnic base.
Perhaps there is a solution!
Early Volkswagen (type 1) cars are plentiful, cheap
to buy and inexpensive to maintain. New and remanufactured parts are
plentiful and ridiculously cheap.
The Volkswagen Beetle was designed in 1936 and is
styled with many of the same shapes, surfaces and details found in cars
of the same era.
After the small block Chevrolet there has been no
other engine that has been modified as much or more speed parts built
for as the air-cooled flat four.
With simple modifications the VW can be made to
look like an early style hot rod....but at much