Once I got a driver's license in 1961, my interests turned to cars I could work on and also drive on the street. We called them hot rods. Anything I built back then would definitely qualify as a "Rat Rod" today.
My first street rod was a 1929 Model A Ford 4-door sedan with a 1930 grill shell. It did not run when I bought it for $11.
My next street rod was a 1932 Ford lowboy roadster. This was a car I should have kept. It had a 371 cubic inch J-2 Oldsmobile engine with a Weber aluminum flywheel, Isky cam, chopped windshield, and 1963 Sting Ray seats. The local police called it an "unsafe vehicle" and I had to sell it to get the cops off my back.
This is a 1967 Camaro project car I bought in condition shown here except for wheels. I thought it would be a good Father/Son project for 1st car. We paid $1,000 without engine or transmission.
In retrospect, it probably wasn't a real good idea to turn a 16 year old loose with this car. After this happened, I gave him the option of taking the car to the scrap yard or fixing it with his own money and installing a 3000 RPM rev limiter for all street driving. He chose to repair the car.
The Camaro still lives. It has now been in the family for 20 years.
I installed Volkswagen seats, a Stromberg 97 downdraft carburetor on a Fenton manifold, electric fuel pump, Mallory distributor, Sun Tach, and a $29 paint job. The engine was a Model A 4-cylinder with newly poured babbit bearings and the camshaft installed advanced one tooth. Total cost of the project was about $200. It would go about 70 mph and I could beat most VWs and Studebakers.
This is a 1955 Chevy I put together for my brother in 1966. It had a 348 Chevy engine, 3-2 barrel carburetors, 409 solid lifter camshaft, progressive throttle linkage, Muncie 4-speed, Hurst shifter, Stewart Warner instruments, and a 4-track stereo tape player.
For the '67 Camaro's power train, we rebuilt a 350 engine and transmission from a '74 Chevelle. We traded an old Lawnboy mower for the Chevelle. Who cares if the numbers match? This project was fun.
It took a couple of years for my son to save the money but we put the car back together.
Here is another car I fixed up for my son when he went away to school. It was a '84 Plymouth Horizon 1.6. I paid $50 for the car. The car only had 50,000 miles on it and the body was absolutely free from damage or rust. It did need a clutch and paint. I stripped & painted the car, added GLH ground effects, new tires, and a better radio. Total cost - $600.