It’s the new millenium –– computers the size of fingernails, phone calls through your car’s satellite radio –– and hotrodding has been a cultural movement for more than 75 years now. We’re also 15 years into the Rat Rod…a scene within a scene that came about as a backlash against street rods that had become so perfect, so expensive, so flawless that they had just about nothing to do with what a real hot rod was always supposed to be.

What started out as a pure and emotional response in the mid-Nineties to those tropical-colored six-figure machines that dominated the main-stay magazines through the Eighties had become its own worst enemy by the mid-2000s. The cobbled-together primered mess widely considered a “rat rod” these days is an embarrassment to the founders of the subculture, so we thought a chronological primer of the milestone cars and builders who created the Rat Rod in the first place was long overdue. As Hemmings Motor News said, “it’s an idea whose time has come,” and we’re proud to bring you the original History Of The Rat Rod.

Part 1:The Jakelopy

Part 2: Robt. Wms.’ Eights & Aces

Part 3: The Purple People Eater

Part 4: The Sellers Seaweed Coupe

Part 5: Kustom Kulture

Part 6: Emily Dutton’s “Desperate Generation”

Part 7: Hot Rod Deluxe magazine

Part 8: Jimmy Shine’s ‘34 Ford pickup

Part 9: Rudy Rodriguez’ “Coahuila” ‘35 Ford pickup

Part 10: The End of the First Chapter