We hear many different names when we go to car shows these days, Street Rod, Hot Rod, Rat Rod, Custom, Muscle Car, and then you branch off in to Resto Rod, Custom Rod, and any other combination of the listed. We confuse ourselves in the industry so it cannot be easy on industry visitors to keep the names straight. The following is a guide to help differentiate from the cars at today's shows.
Street Rod: Typically any modified vehicle made in 1948 or earlier. Mostly the modifications are done to drivetrain and suspension with moderate to extreme sheetmetal and paint mods.
Hot Rod: Usually describes messed with cars of the 30'S & 40'S. The term seems to be used now to describe any vehicle modified to improve aspects of performance and handling.
Rat Rod: Is a newly developed term. A true Rat Rod is a builders interpretation really, many have had heated conversations over the name. It usually describes a Hot Rod built with old parts rather than new designed parts. Paint is normally omitted, or at the most primer or a flat base coat.
Custom: Sometimes spelled with a "K" instead of a "C" refers to a post '34 vehicle built to a nostalgic 50'S and 60'S style. Real Customs are kept to before the mid 60'S era production models, although some late model vehicle have been built to the standards of customs and have earned the title.
Muscle Car: Describes the factory Hot Rods of the 60'S and early 70'S. They came factory with performance parts until the emissions standards of the early 70'S killed the Muscle Car era, until now with the return of true factory performance Muscle Cars.
Resto Rod: A Hot Rod with new designed parts. Including fuel injection, new chassis or chassis parts, and anything else from off the shelf or salvaged late model cars.
Custom Rod: Ideally the same as a Resto Rod but the base vehicle is a Custom rather than a Hot Rod.
Now within these designs are different models like: Coupes, Sedans, Convertibles, and Roadsters. These different models determine whether or not the vehicle has two doors, Coupe, or four doors, Sedan, or a retractable roof like a Convertible, or no roof or side windows like a Roadster. There are many other types but these are the main ones. If you see a vehicle that does fit in these categories asking the builder is the best way to find out what it is. Most owners and builders are more than glad to talk about their creation just ask.