How To Build a Hot Rod, Top Gear America-Style


What’s a scorching rod? This a hotly debated subject on the MotorTrend workplaces; even the editors at HOT ROD Journal don’t fully agree. However, if we take the phrase of legendary HOT ROD editor, Grey Baskerville, a scorching rod is any automobile that has been modified for efficiency and elegance, emphasis on the previous. And so the High Gear America hosts fancy themselves scorching rodders. However are they?

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Fast Historical past of Scorching Rodding

The quintessential American contribution to the world of automotive tradition is scorching rodding. Scorching rodding tradition has its roots buried within the dry lake beds and deserted WWII airstrips that have been prolific round Southern California on the finish of the 1940s. Younger veterans, hungry for adrenaline with heads filled with newly-acquired mechanical data, would take low cost automobiles, “scorching them up,” then go race their buddies.

Unlawful avenue racing and unsanctioned high pace racing shortly grew into what we all know as drag racing and land pace racing right now. Automotive golf equipment, just like the Prowlers based in San Diego, joined forces with different automobile golf equipment and native authorities to kind racing organizations just like the Nationwide Scorching Rod Affiliation (NHRA) and Southern California Timing Affiliation (SCTA) and create devoted areas for racing.

Gow jobs and rails shortly gave method to lead sleds and avenue rods. Muscle automobiles got here alongside, then died. The Malaise Period tried to kill efficiency however couldn’t. The 1980s gave us cheap turbocharging, the ‘90s reignited the horsepower wars and, right now, scorching rodding has developed so many sides and sub-cultures it’s change into practically inconceivable to inform what’s or isn’t a scorching rod.

One might argue nation of origin, time interval of manufacture, engine and drivetrain configuration, aftermarket modifications or factory-stock efficiency—the talk won’t ever finish. Present Editor-in-Chief of HOT ROD, John McGann, agrees along with his predecessor: A scorching rod is a automobile that has been modified for efficiency and elegance, and that definition fits us simply fantastic.

How you can construct a scorching rod

You’ll hear it lots within the scorching rodding world—constructed, not purchased. That’s what the producers have challenged Dax, Jethro and Rob with; discovering and constructing their very own scorching rods for less than $5,000. This can be a seemingly inconceivable process when conventional scorching rods usually change arms for top five-figure sums. The times of discovering an affordable Deuce Coupe or ‘48 Merc round each nook in your native junkyard are lengthy gone.

So what do the hosts present up in? A 1994 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham, a late-2000s MINI Cooper S and a 2011 Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor—this received’t finish properly. By the 1990’s Cadillac had change into the poster “determine” (baby simply doesn’t match right here) of retirement-age luxurious transportation. How might this extra-luxurious (that’s the Brougham package deal) land-yacht be a scorching rod? Identical for the MINI—it’s British, it’s front-wheel drive and it’s British! At the very least Rob confirmed some sense and introduced one thing with a rowdy V8 and strong, limited-slip rear axle.

However a beast lurks beneath the hood of Dax’s Cadillac within the type of a Corvette-derived LT1 V8 that can also be linked to a strong rear axle able to frying each tires. Between the physique armor and antennas on the Crown Vic and all of the sound-deadening and cushion within the Caddy, the 2 V8-powered Individuals are fairly evenly matched. We will’t depend out Jethro and the MINI both, as a result of (duh) there will likely be racing.





















Since their first launch in 1959, the MINI Cooper (Austin Mini, again then) has been a giant-killer, usually profitable in opposition to extra highly effective automobiles within the British Touring Automotive Championship. To the British, the MINI is a scorching rod. Plus, this S mannequin comes supercharged from the manufacturing facility—it may not be American however now we have to understand the tenacity Jethro is displaying.

Simply getting the automobile isn’t sufficient; a scorching rodder modifies their experience with efficiency in thoughts but in addition with an eye fixed towards fashion. With no matter cash they’ve left, the hosts now get to switch their new scorching rods nevertheless they need. Do they go for pure efficiency, eye catching fashion or a mixture of the 2?

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