Hot Rod History 04/05/2010
 
Hot rods are an integral part of the history of the American automobile, being an iconic symbol of the 1950's "rebel" youth.  The hot rod era started back in the 1920's when cars first started being sold by the millions, but it only caught on big time after World War II when the men returned home to extra money, free time, newfound skills in mechanics, and the craving for more adrenaline with fast cars.  By the late 1940's and early 1950's, there were many junked cars and engines available for cheap to modify into some very fast hot rods.

Hot rodding hit its peak around 1960 after years of police being hard on street racers, and new Hot Rod Associations starting where racers could legally race their cars on tracks instead of the street.  Racing itself became hardcore, with new race cars resembling little of what the hot rod used to be like.  Now there were "funny cars" and other such race cars that were just well, different.  The World War II generation was also getting older and the hot rod had to be replaced with the family vehicle.  The nail in the coffin for street rods was when the muscle car and pony cars were released by Detroit starting with the GTO in 1964.  Now you could drive off the car lot and within minutes probably beat nearly anyone you met at the first red light.  Some of these midsized cars had 454 ci V8 engines squeezed into them, making them potent racing machines.  With a few minor changes, even the best hot rods of the times could not keep up with a muscle car.

Since the mid 1980's, hot rodding has become very popular again, but as a hobby only.  No more late night drag racing down the strip with your hot rods.  The early hot rodders that were into the hot rod scene in the 1950's, or the wannabe hot rodders that could not have a hot rod at the time, were now older with their children moving out.  With more free time and cash, the early hot rodders could now build their dream hot rods and the popularity grew.  The hobby is still growing today thanks to some very popular TV shows geared towards building hot rods and restoring classic cars.

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