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Later cars were given a rake job either adding a dropped front axle or heating front coil springs to make the front end of the car much lower than the rear.
Much later some hot rods and custom cars swapped the old solid rear axle for an independent rear axle, often from Jaguar. Sometimes the grille of one make of car replaced by another; the Buick grille was often used on a Ford.
In the s and s, the grille swap of choice was the De Soto. The original hot rods were plainly painted like the Model A Fords from which they had been built up, and only slowly begun to take on colors, and eventually fancy orange-yellow flamed hoods or "candy-like" deep acrylic finishes in the various colors. In addition, there was tremendous automotive advertising and subsequent public interest in the new models in the s.
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Hence custom cars came into existence, swapping headlamp rings, grilles, bumpers, chrome side strips, and tail lights, as well as frenching and tunnelling head- and taillights. The bodies of the cars were changed by cutting through the sheet metal, removing bits to make the car lower, welding it back together, and adding a lot of lead to make the resulting form smooth hence the term lead sled ; lead has since been replaced by Bondo.
By this means, chopping made the roof lower;  sectioning  made the body thinner from top to bottom. Channeling  was cutting notches in the floorpan where the body touches the frame to lower the whole body. Fins were often added from other cars, or made up from sheet steel. In the custom car culture, someone who merely changed the appearance without also substantially improving the performance was looked down upon.
Customization style Custom cars are distinct from cars in stock condition. Builders may adopt the visual and performance characteristics of some relevant modification styles, and combine these as desired.
There are now several different custom themes, including: Safety and convenience upgrades, such as disc brakes, AC, etc. Externally might resemble a stock car with period correct mods rather than customs. Typically American cars with large-displacement engines modified for speed and often appearance.
Street rod - consist largely of period specific vehicles and components, or emmulate visual characteristics of cars through the'40s vintage. There is a great deal of overlap here with hot rods. See street rod definition below. Muscle Cars are the Cars Before the year that were Customized and Modified for the Best Performance Tweeners - early s cars between the styles of s and the muscle cars.
The style of contemporary cars. Most often contemporary components and paint finishes of modern cars are used. Types overlap and blend often impossible to classify. Features Paint Paint was an important concern.
Once bodywork was done, the cars were painted unusual colors. Transparent but wildly colored candy-apple paint, applied atop a metallic undercoat, and metalflake paint, with aluminum glitter within candy-apple paint, appeared in the s.
These took many coats to produce a brilliant effect — which in hot climates had a tendency to flake off. This process and style of paint job was invented by Joe Bailon, a customizer from Northern California. Customizers also continued the habit of adding decorative paint after the main coat was finished, of flames extending rearward from the front wheels, scallops, and hand-painted pinstripes of a contrasting color.
The base color, most often a single coat, would be expected to be of a simpler paint. Flame jobs later spread to the hood, encompassing the entire front end, and have progressed from traditional reds and yellows to blues and greens and body-color "ghost" flames.
One particular style of flames, called "crab claw flames", which is still prevalent today, is attributed to Dean Jeffries. Engine swaps Engine swaps have always been commonplace. Once, the flatheador "flatty", was the preference, supplanted by the early hemi in the s and s. Flatheads and early hemis have not entirely disappeared, but ready availability, ease of maintenance, and low cost of parts make the Chevrolet V8, in particular the first and third generation small block, the most frequent engine of choice.
Once customizing post-war cars caught on, some of the practices were extended to pre-war cars, which would have been called fendered rods, with more body work done on them. An alternate rule for disambiguation developed: The clearest example of this is Fords prior to had Henry Ford 's old transverse front suspension, while models had a more modern suspension with the engine moved forward. However, an American museum has what could be the first true custom, built by Cletus Clobes inamong its exhibits.
One place where it persisted was the U. Southwest, where lowriders were built similar in concept to the earlier customs, but of posts cars. As the supply of usable antique steel bodies has dried up, companies such Westcott's,  Harwood, Gibbon Fiberglass  and Speedway Motors  have begun to fabricate new fiberglass copies,  while Classic Manufacturing and Supply, for one example, has been making a variety of new steel bodies since the s.
Among the largest and longest lasting was Johnie's Broiler in Downey, California. Another theory is that "rod" refers to camshaft , a part of the engine which was often upgraded in order to increase power output. In the early days, a car modified for increased performance was called a "gow job".
This term morphed into the hot rod in the early to middle s. For example, the Ontario Ministry of the Environment in its vehicle emissions regulations, refers to a hot rod as any motorized vehicle that has a replacement engine differing from the factory original. This gained popularity after World War IIparticularly in California, because many returning soldiers had received technical training.
Engine swaps often involved fitting the Ford flathead V8 engine known as the "flatty" into a different car, for example the common practice in the s of installing the "60 horse" version into a Jeep chassis. Wheels and tires were changed for improved traction and handling. Hot rods built before commonly used '35 Ford wire-spoke wheels. As some hot rodders also raced on the street, a need arose for an organization to promote safety, and to provide venues for safe racing.
The National Hot Rod Association was founded into take drag racing off the streets and into controlled environments. Many hot rods would upgrade the brakes from mechanical to hydraulic "juice" and headlights from bulb to sealed-beam. Instead, engine builders had to modify the smaller engines such as using non-standard crankshafts and pistons to obtain larger displacement.
While current production V8s tended to be the most frequent candidates, this also applied to others. The hot rod community has now been subdivided into two main groups: This includes a new breed of traditional hot rod builders, artists, and styles, as well as classic style car clubs.
Events like GreaseOrama feature traditional hot rods and the greaser lifestyle. In popular culture Author Tom Wolfe was one of the first to recognize the importance of hot rodding in popular culture and brought it to mainstream attention in his book The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby. Particularly during the early s, a genre of "hot rod music" rose to mainstream popularity. Hot rod music was largely a product of a number of surf music groups running out of ideas for new surfing songs and simultaneously shifting their lyrical focus toward hot rods.
Hot rod music would prove to be the second phase in a progression known as the California Soundwhich would mature into more complex topics as the decade passed. In Sweden and Finland Swedish hot rodders with a s American car at Power Big Meet Locals in these countries, influenced by American culture, have created a local hot rod culture which is vibrant in Sweden and Finland where enthusiasts gather at meetings such as Power Big Meet and clubs like Wheels and Wings in VarbergSweden have established themselves in Hot Rod culture.
Since there is very little "vintage tin" the hot rods in Sweden are generally made with a home made chassis usually a Model T or A replicawith a Jaguar or Volvo rear axle, a small block V8and fiberglass tub, but some have been built using for instance a Volvo Duett chassis. Because the Swedish regulations required a crash test even for custom-built passenger cars between andthe Duett option was preferred, since it was considered a rebodied Duett rather than a new vehicle. These are known as custom cars sometimes spelled Kustom.
Language Certain linguistic conventions are common among rodders: The model year is rarely given in full, except when it might be confused, so a model is a '34, while a might be an '05 or not.
A flatty is a flathead V8  always Ford, unless specified ; a late or late model flatty is probably a Merc. A hemi "hem ee" is always aunless displacement, or is specified; a is a hemi, unless Wedge is specified.