As you sit there watching TV, in your favorite chair, Thinking to yourself “why doesn’t MTV play music videos anymore?” You suddenly hear that young neighbor hood kid coming screaming by your house driving way too fast in his smoke blowing “Datsun two hundred “SX” or something like that.” You can hear the timing is off and it’s having some knock issues, you also think to your annoyed self “maybe I would help him if he liked real cars like my last Corvette or a good old Hemi, some cool hot rods”…Guess what, he does. 
He IS driving a hot rod, and it’s doing one of its intended purposes by pissing you off. You’re just in the wrong generation now where the music is bad, the trends are terrible, the cars cheap, and the motorcycles too loud. Nothing changed, you just got left behind…MTV doesn’t play music videos because music videos don’t market anymore. Everyone gets their music online and believe me if they did play music videos it would be Justin Beiber and Miley Cirus, not Queen and Kiss like you want. You’re no longer their demographic..sorry to break it to you.
Hot rods started out as dangerous experiments to go as fast and have as much fun as you could, with what you could afford and do it with style that attracted tail. The formula hasn’t changed, the resources have changed. No 16 year old kid is going to go pay $5000 for a hunk of rust and door frame someone calls and 32 ford, or go to the local yard and find a good condition flat head or 442. They get last generations entry level cars just like you did. Those used to be Civics and Sunfires and by being fwd, fashion become more important then performance because modifications weren’t as plausible. Still every Honda had an exhaust because the quest for more power and attention is universal, just the platform wasn’t the same. So lights, bodykits, and flashy paint took over for a bit but now the next generation of cars is here again. Some are fwd, some are awd, some are even rwd once again, but also at the same time the 3rd generation sports cars are now affordable and they drift! 
So the drag strip is no longer the main street or best 1/4 mile you can find. It has transferred to industrial corners and mountain roads, the naturally aspirated v8s replaced with the sound of a hissing turbo and the scream with the rpm given by less cylinders, but the root is still the same; teenagers and young adults expressing themselves and having fun learning to love cars like you did. Its just a different age, and scene. Shooting flames out of loud exhaust, rebelling with smoking tires that don’t quite fit right, throwing in a bit of danger, race parts and some outright “fuck you”s to standards of society. You have yourself a hot rod and hot rodders. I don’t expect my opinion to matter, or even be right, but next time that “ricer” fly’s by, remember that we all love cars and it’s just a different time. Maybe you can turn that irritation into a positive and give him a thumbs up instead of a call to the police…




  1. john russakoff

    Well said, however there are still ricers in both oldschool hot rodding and import hot rodding. Im sure in the 60s and 70s when people were building 30s and 40s cars there were still some that got a thumbs down from other hot rodders or some that were poor representations of the scene. I have a feeling most domestic hot rodders can still tell the difference in the import scene.

  2. Chris

    I am 100% with you on this. I started my life with cars loving old kingswoods, toranas and commodores. But now times have changed and I’m all about my S13 and watching drifters push there cars with the same love and passion as the days of old with drivers drag racing their over powered, tubed, bad handling beasts that where no good for cornering but could lift the front wheels high with a stab of the go pedal.
    Long live hot rodding in whatever generation of cars you love.

    1. Scott

      This is so well said, I think its a read that will put a smile on so many new out looks!
      PS: coincidentally….. the Black and Grey Silvia’s are both my boys, i’m very lucky to get to enjoy every cable tie, dent and misfire with them!

  3. Russ Roberts

    It’s just a different time and space. The “need for speed” hasn’t changed, just the package. As we say at the Hilo, Hawaii Dragstrip, “Run what ya brung!”

  4. jimmy cheese

    agree, however comparing those top 2 cars is not accurate, spending hundreds of hours in custom bodywork and paint vs stripping paint off and putting stickers on, 2 different skill levels there.

    1. mitchanderson01 Post author

      I think the contrast of the two cars shows the different outcomes the same goals can have, Self expression and what is cool to the owner. One may value perfect craftsmanship and clear coat, while the other values a rough quick unapologetic style. Yet they both are flame shooting hot rods.

    1. mitchanderson01 Post author

      Leadsleds and lowriding Impalas were once sucky movements too…They found their place as they never cared about other peoples opinions. The more rules broken, the more attention hot rods get…Look out of all the trends of the world, you picked one to complain about..not bosozoku, donks, suvs with underglow, or lifted trucks that never see a trail. You picked the one with young kids, in entry level cars…The closest thing to the roots of rot hodding there is, and the one that pisses you off the most…

    2. Justin Jones

      “Shooting flames out of loud exhaust, rebelling with smoking tires that don’t quite fit right, throwing in a bit of danger, race parts and some outright “fuck you”s to standards of society.”. I’m not a fan either but the point of this article is; Your opinions hold little to no merit to those who chose the customs they like. Be it stance, slammed, chopped, sleeper, rat, or even ricer! My car is my story and i will never let anyone write the pages of my book!

  5. Richard

    Why do young people have to try and rebadge something from a past generation. When people hear hot rod they think of the old school hot rods like the 32 fords etc. Their minds don’t think modern day cars. Why not leave a mark in history by coming up with your own title for modern cars. Cars from the late 60, 70 , 80’s are generally known as street machines. Car cultures operate independently. You only need to look at magazines produced. They are all for a specific market. Why? Because not everyone is into the same thing. So if an old fart doesn’t like your modern interpretation of what you think a hot rod should be get over it.

    1. mitchanderson01 Post author

      So in your opinion HOT ROD magazine should only feature cars produced and built before the 1960’s? Kinda leaves a small scene, that will eventually dwindle into smaller and smaller numbers, with repetition of modifications and higher cost until you are looking at close to production cars with different bodywork, which is definitely not hot rodding to me. It seems you don’t want to accept new members into your definition because it messes with tradition, when in reality hot rodding started as a slap in the face of tradition. Hot rods were never meant to be preserved and forced to fit a mold and they haven’t they have evolved into many scenes just like gassers, chop tops, and lead sleds were all different but all hot rods. So even tho a 32′ ford may be your definition of a hot rod, even in the earliest days of hot rodding there were more definitions of a hot rod than that select style.

  6. Wil Randolph (@TheCarGuy4All)

    Sorry, but no. If you like Imports, just own up to it.
    If you like performance cars, you like performance cars.
    Performance cars do not need subdivisions like “hot rod” “tuner” “Ricer”. These terms exist because of judgement from BOTH sides.
    As for your argument that imports are the modern day cheap performance cars, explain to me why I can pay the exact same for a Mustang 5.0 from the 80s, or a civic with an automatic? Also, import prices are artificially high because they are essentially the “hip” (to use outdated lingo) cars of the moment. If you’re smart you buy the least expensive car that can create the highest levels of performance. Because everyone is convinced Japan farts rainbows (which actually slaughtering whales), you’ll pay more for a Japanese name. Just like you used to pay more for a domestic.

    1. mitchanderson01 Post author

      I touched on that subject a little but can expand my thoughts if you would like. Most hot rodders start when they are young and get into there first cars (not all, but majority of people find passion with their first ride).
      So say you are 16 and looking for your first car, you might already have a job, maybe after you get a ride and can travel you will get a job as soon as you have your car. You find a 80’s 5.0 and really want it bad but your parents say “hell no its unsafe, its old and will cost a fourtune to keep running blah blah blah” …Even if you are independent enough to buy your own car, if your parents or guardian offer to either pay half or help out. As a teenager, more money is huge and usually results in a compromise. In some situations moms civic she bought in the late 90’s still runs great and she was wanting a newer car anyways. She will talk your dad into giving you the civic, so third generation sports car or 2nd generation entry level car?…80% (unfounded guess) of the time its going to be the 2nd gen.
      Now you are 16 stuck with a car you didn’t want but you may have a little extra cash, so might as well try to make moms grocery getter a little cooler or faster or what ever the heck you want. Screw it you don’t care about the car, time to swap the motor and lower it beyond reason…back seats? Don’t need those “I want to go faster and learn more” That is just as hot rodding as in the 50’s when kids got there old parents 32′ fords…nothing has changed, but what parts are found in the junk yard.

    2. james Siebert

      I can equally buy a 1st generation awd dsm (eagle talon, mitsu eclipse) and with as little as a thousand dollars run 10s. Something the foxbody could only wish to do. Sorry im not a v8 hater but foxbodies to me are the ultimate wanna be ride its like a honda civic. Thing might sound fast but 13s is no longer fast anymore.

      1. Austin Gaddis

        You don’t think a fox can hit 10s for a grand? Junkyard gt40 heads and intake, 200 shot of nitrous and some craigslist slicks. Done. It will survive as many passes down the track as a dsm that only had a grand into it to go 10s.

    3. Yo

      You can argue the similarities all you want – it’s STILL a totally different breed of car at the end of the day. I agree with the guy saying that if you “like imports, just own up to it”. The author argues that keeping magazines “pre-60” will only encourage “endless repetition”… Bullshit. I’d like to see some actual creativity in bodywork on some of those imports instead of this bolt-on kit crap. I don’t see any one of those pictures with a kid welding custom body panels or modifying his frame. Superchargers and coke-can mufflers are EASILY obtained through any parts store on the market. And finally, pre-64 cars were BEAUTIFUL. Every last one of them. Classic styling, curves for days, beautiful chrome bumpers… I could go on and on. Don’t tell me that some Fast and Furious POS looks as good as a Model A or a 49 Merc – I have yet to see ANY creativity in that scene that impressed me.

      Anyhow, I know my damn hot rods and I know what I like. And I DON’T like imports. They ain’t hot rods and they never will be.

      Now get off my lawn, ya damn kids.

      1. Motato Topato

        yup, im with you yo. the modern scene isn’t half as hands on as the days of old. my gramps has a ’57 chevy with over ten years of his own blood sweat n tears in it. kids with there dumped civics spend ten hours on ebay then find some mexican mechanic to put it all together in exchange for some downtownbobbybrown. ‘built not bought’ my ass!… truth hurts!!

      2. Chad

        I’m sorry but you just don’t know the real import scene, there are the ricers who act like they’re in the fast and furious then you have the true hardworking and knowable people who work their asses off on their car. I have taught myself to tig weld so I could do all custom front tubs for the engine bay, along with a fully custom downpipe to have an electric cutout. Most of the people I know are wanting to do the same or already have. And lastly my car is a 240sx and is about to have a forged sr20det in it; and yes I’m only 19.

    4. dan

      Thats ridiculous. Japanese cars are well made, and its not hard to find a four cylinder that would walk all over a 5.0 . Why get an old v8 thats bad on gas and insurance when you could have something newer with more reliable power? Things will always change, and these imports are the hotrods of the future. Get over it.

  7. Richard

    Unfortunately eventually the hot rod scene and others will slowly dwindle. It’s getting harder to find mechanics that can even properly maintain carbie engines. Most new mechanics are simply plug and diagnose these days. I know of one garage where he is trying to pass on his knowledge to his son for the future. These blokes are retirement age. In terms of magazines they cater for a specific audience. A muscle car guy isn’t going to want to buy a magazine full of fast fours or imports. It’s just a fact of life. I used to buy bike magazines that were primarily Harley based. Why? Because Japanese bikes don’t interest me. My cousin is into the mini truck scene. Not everyone’s cup of tea but they enjoy it and run their own shows. These guys don’t give a hoot what other people think. They do it because they like it. Much the same should your scene “modern hot rods” or what ever you want to call yourselves. This is my opinion not gospel much like you aired your opinion but obviously if someone doesn’t agree you don’t like it

  8. Pingback: Hot Rods and Design | Generate PR | News

  9. Eli Rivera

    In the years I’ve had as an automotive enthusiast I have seen too many times this debate and war of attitudrs between old school hot rodders and muscle car fans, and their counterparts from the import scene. Too many a time have I witnessed YouTube comment wars about “My Mustang will murder your Honda” followed by “A Supra will Kill your POS Mustang” and the epithets within, and I only shake my head and wonder if there will ever be respect between us all as car people….

    Like I said above, I’m a car enthusiast. I own a Japanese vehicle (2002 Sentra SE-R Spec V) and I love Japanese cars like the iconic GT-R and the legendary Supra, among others. But I also love Corvettes, Camaros, Mustangs and Challengers, and I have nothing but respect and admiration to yhose who build ’32 Fords and ’55 Bel Airs into tire-shredding machines. And I also admire and respect the ones that build badass European cars like M3’s and GTI’s. Point being, there’s different strokes for different folks, and in my view, if you’re taking your car out to have a blast in a meet, a show or a track event then you’re doing it right by my standards regardless of what you drive. After all, isn’t having fun with the cars the reason we all became car people in the first place?

  10. Chris

    I’m part of a car club that has a Buick regal, a vette, wrx’s and Mazda’s. We like anyone who is an enthusiast. Drift, auto x, drag or whatever your passion is. So what if my idea of a big block is a 2.0 3-rotor beast, yours maybe a blown 454… like your sound we like ours. You like the ass-end of your car to shake and I like brap, brap , brap. A lot of the new gen. are doing their own tuning as they did in the old days. It just changed for a bore, cam and carb work to, turbo’s, stand alone’s and and tuning days. Also if I hear there’s no replacement for displacement I’ll puke. Half the engine is needed today to make the same if not more power. The only thing I have left to say is keep it off the streets, shut you mouth and see you at the track.

  11. blankdeluxe

    Well written. I will say that I have well over 300 hours into my 97 subaru legacy wagon as of now and no end in sight. Its had 2 motors, 3 hoods, 3 front bumpers, 2 sets of headlights, 3 interiors, 5 different exhausts, 7 sets of wheels, 3 different radios in it and countless odds and ends changed. Its still far from being “done”. No, it isn’t a classic american muscle but I have put my blood sweat and tears into that car. I love that shitty little wagon and at the end of the day I think thats what the car culture is really all about. Spending your time working on something that you love.

  12. The truth

    FWD will never be part of hot rodding. I don’t care if your gutted civic can run a 10, they’re terrible. As for the guy who says to him, “a 2.0l 3 rotor is a big block” is high. That’s like saying “to me, this apple is a banana”. The parents Civic hand me down argument? Sorry your parents hate America. Save your money and get something proper. Quit trying to justify those lame ass rice burners.

    1. The Truth, huh?

      Oh, please. Stop with this “you must hate America” bullshit. What were the Japanese doing in the ’80’s when GM was shutting down plants left and right? Yes, building them here, employing US workers. And not just for North American sales- quite a few went to Japan, and other countries. US automakers can’t sell shit built in the US outside the US. Huh… who hates America now? I work for a French company that makes (among other things) parts for German companies that sell products to the US military.

      Then again, you’re probably too much of a retard to understand the concept of a global economy.

      And I’m also a die-hard big block freak who’d never dream of owning an “import” tuner, so…

  13. Deonte

    Great article. Only qualm to me is that the spirit of hot rodding, in my mind, was about building something unique and usually by yourself or with friends. Now a days, it seems like most people who modify cars that falls under the younger demographic (say under 30) buys pieces and puts it together, resulting with cars that are very similar to each other and lack individuality (in my town, subbie scene covers this well.) I rarely see people piece together and make their own turbo kit, have a custom exhaust or intake manifold built, or retrofit parts from a different car (stance scene does a good job at that though.) I’m sure there were people who would just piece together their cars from a catalog back then and I know people who build their own parts today, but it seems like it’s more skewed towards the later. Times change though; build your car the way you want however which way, fuck the rest, and enjoy.

  14. FricFrac

    Good article. It’s interesting to read the comments as well. Nothing new here – My Chevy is better than your Ford – Fords suck. No Chevys suck….. blah blah blah. Then you get the guys arguing about the same model car but different years. It’s petty. Be respectful of other people’s choices. Doesn’t mean you have to like them but it sure makes the whole automotive community a lot healthier. People are into cars for lots of different reasons. Some people it’s a status image, others it’s a tool (racers, etc), some it’s art, others a hobby fixing up what was a memory of the past or something to pass the time. Some people want to pay someone to build the car for them, some people can only work on certain things and have others work on the stuff they don’t have the skills to do. The platform that that is executed on is irrelevant. It’s unfair to say that kids don’t have the skills or desire to build custom cars like in the olden days. In fact it’s just ignorant – the Internet is littered with custom builds. Just because someone modifies the body with his own custom fiberglass rather than sheet metal makes him no less an artist than the guy beating the metal into submission – it’s just that both of these artist work with a different medium. Old school hot rod guys are just as guilty of buying bolt on parts as any “ricer”. In fact it’s easy to get parts for old hot rod and muscle cars – finding parts for Japanese cars can often be extremely difficult forcing people to customize many of these cars. There are lots of cars I don’t like but I do appreciate that the own likes it and for myself personally I appreciate the work and effort people put into there cars. For some people working on their cars has no appeal to them and they would rather pay someone to customize the car. That’s fine too. Let’s have a healthy attitude towards each other for a healthy community.

  15. Ben Snortum (@basementdigital)

    To the oldschool hot rodders that disagree with the article: You really should support this new generation of enthusiasts. Our numbers continue to dwindle as the masses increasingly rely on vehicles for nothing more than transportation. If we don’t pay attention, the future of hot-rodding will become nothing more than the modification of a self-driving car to be driven by a person.

  16. bennytubs

    It’s simple, you either like cars or you don’t, both are fine, I’m a Euro ride fan and until the birth of my 3rd child ran a slammed mk2 golf gti, but didn’t hate the guy in the riced up civic, or the dude in the scooby, j respected them for their choices, any scene done right is cool, rat, stance, race, show, it’s all good, just show a fellow car dude a little respect and I promise you it will go a long way around this fuel crazy world.
    Now my 4th little kid is coming I’ve swapped the dub for a 7 seater Vauxhall, and I fully intend to slam it to the floor and do what I can to make it suit me, now by the sounds if it, most of you will junkyard stupid, modding a “mini van”, but that’s my ride now, respect it, or stop calling yourself a car guy because tournament, your just a internet troller.
    Peace out, and if you see you slammed Vauxhall zafira, give me a toot, regardless of what your in, and I will toot back!

  17. Bob Traub

    This article is right on.In the 60s we had to have novas and cudas and mustangs with the most horse power we could afford.In the 70s little cars got more street time, and some of us built Vegas, Pintos, Datsuns, and Toyotas. With the most horse power we could afford.In the 80s Detroit and Tokyo gave us absolutely nothing and no horse power to be found. So hot rodding got sick and, when the 90s came around kids bought these pos that us old guys cast off and discovered turbo chargers and Nitrous just like the 60s when we put big blocks in Novas. So I say the tuners, the ricers, the lowriders, the ratrodders, and the drifters are all the same.As long as we have the internal combustion engine and God blesses us with the ability to produce horse power we will scream down the street and piss off that old guy on the corner. Which by the way I have become.

  18. Chuck

    Interesting article….for me….hot rodding is an adjective not a noun….I can “hot rod” my lawn mower, my computer, my blender, my boat, my compressor, my car. For me it’s about making your ‘thing’ personalized, unique….yours. I have always said I like ALL cars/trucks….and I think ANYTHING can be made better, ‘hot rodded’. That said….I can/do appreciate anything that people modify to make theirs and I respect their ingenuity, skill and attitude. My Dad was not a ‘hot rodder’….he never could understand why I had to modify everything I bought, never left it alone….”The engineers at GM make a whole lot more money than you do, THEY know how it should be, leave it alont” I heard that many times. As my Grandson says….” You Macgyver everything”….I take that as a complement! Now the “music” that comes out of his S10 is another story….I can hear/feel him when he gets off 95 and is coming out 610….hehehehehe


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