Rat Rod

A rat rod belonging to a member of the car club Divebombers Garage of Medford was displayed at a past Rat Rod Roundup event in Sutherlin.

It’s easy to take one look at an old car and notice its uniqueness, history and beauty. It’s another thing to actually understand the very things that make it a so valued and appreciated.

Here is a quick preschool lesson on the old-school autos if you need it.


There are for the most part, three types of classifications for old cars: antique, vintage and classic.

Classic cars are actually defined as cars made between 1925 and 1948. However, most people consider cars 15 to 40 years and in a condition which is original to the manufacturer’s specifications and appearance. A classic is not modified or altered.

Cars that are from 45 to 100 years fall into the antique category. State laws set this classification and the rules to go with it on what makes it antique. These cars are also original to the manufacturer’s specifications, and have not been altered.

Vintage cars is a term that may be thrown around and typically refers to cars from 1919 to 1930. Differing from the other two classifications, a vintage car may have modifications and alterations.


Stock: A car that is “stock” is one that has the overall look and design as it was originally manufactured. The exterior, interior and engine, while may have been replaced or rebuilt, are still original (year and model) to that cars original manufacturing.

Modified: An original stock car that has a limited amount of modifications or upgrades on it.

Original: A true, original car is one that has not only been maintained on the exterior and interior, but is also without the replacement of any parts or pieces. Repairs are minimal and parts that needed maintenance were fixed rather than replaced.

Restored: A restored car is one that is considered stock — it has been refurbished to the manufacturer’s specifications using original parts. A car that is being restored should look and operate exactly the same as it did when it rolled off the assembly line.

Rat Rod: A rat rod imitates or exaggerates a Hot Rod from the 1940s, 1950s, or 1960s and is intentionally left with the appearance of being incomplete. They appear to be unfinished and have the reputation of being rebellious, wild, and pieced together from scraps lying around.

Jalopy: an old car in dilapidated condition.

Muscle car: A muscle car is referring to a high-power automobile, usually with engines built between 1964 and 1972. Merriam-Webster defines muscle cars as any of a group of American-made 2-door sports cars with powerful engines designed for high-performance driving.

Pony car: Merriam-Webster defines the pony car as one of a group of 2-door hardtops of different makes that are similar in sporty styling, high performance characteristics, and price range. The term was inspired by the 1964 Ford Mustang.

Burnout: A burnout is when the driver of a vehicle tries to keep it stationary while spinning the wheels, causing the tires to heat up and smoke due to friction.

Coupe: A closed car with two doors for two or three people. May also have a rudimentary rear seat in which case it is usually called a Club Coupe.

Woody: A woody is known as a vehicle incorporating natural finished wood for structure and all exposed parts of the body. The term has been loosely applied to any car which uses wood on the exterior.

Tudor sedan: Ford’s term for a two door.

Sedan: A two or four door vehicle with a rear seat.

Roadster: an open-top car that has two seats and is without side windows.

Pinstripe: A thin line of paint that is a contrasting color to the body color; originally called a coach-line.

Rumble seat: An external seat in the rear of the car.

Suicide doors: Rear-hinged doors, typically for the front seat. It earned the name due the chance of it opening at any speed would cause the door to whip backward with great force.

Quarter Window/Quarter Light/Wind Wing: A small triangular window between the windshield and front door window, or between the rear door window.

SS or Super Sport: A sporty designation used by General Motors.

Hot Rod: A hot rod can be really any older American car that has been specially modified to give it extra power and speed.

Reporter Brittany Arnold can be reached at barnold@nrtoday.com

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Douglas County Family Editor | Special Sections Editor

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