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How Do I Choose the Best Hot Rod Body?

Dan Cavallari
Dan Cavallari

The best hot rod body will depend on the type of vehicle you are interested in building. You will need to decide if you want to seek out an original body or if a reproduction will be sufficient for your needs, and you will need to figure out how much you are willing to pay for the hot rod body. Most original bodies will need restoration as well, so if you are considering such a purchase, be prepared to pay for the restorations or do them yourself. Consider the materials of the body as well.

Many reproduction hot rod body models are made of fiberglass to cut down costs and save on weight. Most original bodies are made of metal, which is heavier and susceptible to rust. If you are looking to build an authentic hot rod, you will probably want to choose an original hot rod body, so you will need to seek one out from collectors, junkyards, and classic car dealers. Remember that refurbishing costs can add up quickly, as can repainting, so be prepared for the work associated with an original body. Remember too that finding an original body may be difficult or impossible: T-bucket bodies, for example, are difficult to find because they are based off the Model T, which has not been in production since the early twentieth century.

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Businessman giving a thumbs-up

Reproduction bodies are usually lighter and less expensive. They can usually be found online or at a body shop, and they can be ordered and shipped quickly and easily. Be sure to research the common prices of reproduction bodies so you know what a fair price to pay will be. Try to order your hot rod body from a company that offers a warranty or a return policy should the body have defects or other issues.

Be sure to choose a hot rod body that will work with the chassis you already have. This will require taking accurate measurements and noting the dimensions of the vehicle to ensure the body will work well with the overall vehicle. Many body manufacturers will give specifications so you can find out whether the body will work for you.

The specific style of hot rod body you choose is a matter of preference. It is helpful to research the most popular types of hot rods before you begin constructing yours so you can get an idea of what kinds of hot rods appeal to you. Many hot rodders try to build their hot rods in keeping with the original specs and methods of modification, so doing some research beforehand can save you time and money when it comes time to purchase components.

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