February 10th, 2010

Ratrods Overrun Southern Oregon

Normally, the idea of rodents swarming over the bucolic little town of Grant’s Pass, Ore., would be the stuff of nightmares. But as members of the Lugnutz Car Club proved recently, redefining the image of rats in the public imagination would not only be a great deal of fun, it also provides a perfect opportunity for all manner of interesting creatures to crawl out of garages, barns and workshops to be seen in the glowing light of day. The appreciation of so-called ratrods has been a growing movement within the hot rod community for some years now, and it shows no signs of abating. While the owners of such vehicles certainly love the eye-candy dazzle that big-budget rods deliver, they also yearn for the hands-on approach of yesteryear and the type of rodder who built what he could, when he could, usually in the privacy of his own garage, and then hit the pavement even if the car wasn’t picture perfect.

This was really the focus of the ’09 Ratrod-O-Rama show in Grant’s Pass. The only entry qualification was that the vehicle had to have been at least 75 percent built by the owner. It didn’t matter if the paint wasn’t pristine (or even present); it didn’t matter if the engine wasn’t chromed (or even running); and if the collective knees of the hot rod community weren’t going to buckle upon setting eyes on your latest creation. These men and women rolled into town to show off what they had done with their own two hands, not what they’d paid someone else to do.

That’s certainly not to say that there weren’t plenty of beautiful rods and muscle cars on the ground. More than 500 vehicles descended on the show, and ran the gamut from oldies being held together in a sheer state of grace to ground-up rebuilds that would have drawn admiring eyes at any show nationwide. More than anything, the wide-ranging collection really spoke to the talent and commitment of the community of enthusiasts who made time to come out and display its genius.

If this is what passes for an infestation these days, then all we can do is hope that the rats of the hot rod world continue to crawl out of their warrens and let other rodders cast an appreciative eye on what they get up to behind closed doors.

Author : Mark Nobles

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Randy Grubb’s latest
creation is this truly
unique Peterbilt hot rod.
Sitting between the
frame rails of a
chopped Peterbilt model
351 cab is an 852ci
Detroit Diesel V-12
with twin
superchargers mated
to an Allison four-speed
tranny from a
Greyhound bus.
Thanks to black suede
paint, even a normally
sedate highboy takes
on a sinister
Clean builds like this
Ford coupe were
typical of the ’Rama.
Better yet, the vast
majority is driven
on a
regular basis.
There were very few trailer queens here.
This little beauty
rolled in early morning
and sent a rumble across the show grounds.
The local Sonic
drive-thru made a perfect centerpiece for the show.
Still a work in progress,
this low-slung beast
is already taking shape
and caught lots of
glances over the weekend.
Skulls are always a hot
rod staple, and this Ford
features flame-belching
skull that had all gasping.
Low, black and
ratty. This car is
everything a rat rod should be.
Check out those
Not content with
a V-8, this Oregon base rod
went with a I-6 and triple deuces.


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