How to Build a Hotrod

It seems that, since the invention of the internal combustion engine, America has been in love with speed and learning how to build a hotrod is a great way to satisfy that love. Nothing embodies that love better than the image of a classic hotrod, racing down the open road or around the racetrack.

Many Americans dream of one day build their own hotrod so that they can customize it to meet their exact wants and needs. For the adept mechanic, building hotrods from scratch can be a cheaper and more rewarding way of acquiring the cars of their dreams rather than having to settle for a pre-manufactured model.

Building Your Own Hotrod

In order to build your own hotrod, you should be a competent mechanic. If not, at least know one with whom you can direct your questions or request assistance from time to time. Remember that, before you begin a project like building a hotrod, the rewards don’t come overnight, and nothing ever goes as planned.

Be prepared to do some serious lateral thinking to get around the obstacles that are sure to come your way. It is important to note that the information presented in this article is not meant to replace the knowledge of a certified mechanic and an automotive repair manual.

What Type of Hotrod Should I Build?

Before rushing out and buying parts for your dream hotrod, take some time to decide what type of hotrod you want to build. Look at pictures on the Internet or consult your local library. After deciding on what type you want to build, find a large, covered area where you can work on your vehicle and keep it out of the elements.

Also, make sure that you have all the required tools which will be listed in hotrod assembly books. A mechanic could give you a good idea of what you’ll need.

Step 1 – Find a Hotrod Frame

As your first step in learning how to build a hotrod, scour local junkyards or classic automotive supply centers for a straight, reasonably rust free frame that matches your desired hot rod type.

Procure front and rear axles that are in good shape. The rear axle can be a little wider than the body if that is the look you are going for. Look for a good set of leaf springs for the rear axle. Assemble it according to the instructions in your automotive manual.

Your front axle should be straight suspension if you are a purist but independent suspension allows the car to handle better.

Step 2 – Make Your Own Frame

How to Build a Hotrod

How to Build a Hotrod

Find a body for your hotrod. You can hunt for old hotrod bodies that are still in good condition, make your own out of steel or fiberglass or customize a pedestrian car body into the form of a hot rod.

It is important to be handy with a welding torch because a crude welding job on the body will kill the aesthetics of your hotrod.

Step 3 – Find an Engine, Transmission & Driveshaft

Start picking out an engine, transmission and driveshaft. You should make sure that the engine you purchase is in good running condition and doesn’t break the bank. Also, remember what transmission you are going to use so you don’t buy an engine so big that it is too much for the other drive train components to handle.

Some other considerations are whether or not you would like an authentic to the rest of your hotrod. For example, you wouldn’t put a Dodge motor in an old Ford. Mount your engine and install the transmission and drive shaft according to your automotive manual’s instructions.

If you have any concerns, consult a mechanic. This is not stage in your hotrod building process that you can wing it and not have negative repercussions.

Step 4 – Assemble Smaller Parts

Assemble your gas pedal linkage, brakes, steering, cooling system, seat belts and interior. When allocating your budget for these types of things, spend your money on the important stuff first even if it is less fun to get a quality brake system than some great leather seats that everyone will notice.

Also, install your gauges, wirings and other things of that nature which will make your hotrod street legal.

Step 5 – Full Assembly is Required

Make sure everything is in working order and assembled correctly. Check the engine for leaks; make sure the gas, brakes and steering work. It is a good idea to do this somewhere deserted and open so that if something does go wrong, nobody gets hurt.

After everything is in working order and checked out by a certified mechanic for safety’s sake, you should have completed the task of discovering how to build a hotrod.

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