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Create Your Dream Ride at Hot Rod School

Aug 17, 2007
Hot rods have become very popular in recent years. Car shows are filled with beautiful examples of restored and custom cars, and car clubs abound in almost every major city. Most car enthusiasts would agree that the most exciting part of restoring and customizing your own hot rod is doing the work with your own two hands, yet many car owners fear that they don't have the knowledge to do the work well. Here is where an education from a hot rod school can help, by teaching you everything you need to know to create your dream car.

Sometimes when creating a hot rod, restoring and maintaining the original body parts is more desirable than fabricating new panels. Depending on how badly rusted or dented the original panels are, this may require any amount of grinding, filling, and sanding. However, for many car enthusiasts, creating a hot rod means replacing body parts, a task which is made difficult by the limited availability of body parts for early automobiles. For these reasons, many hot rods require custom body panels to be made for them, a set of skills that, although they seem difficult (if not impossible) to master, can be learned in hot rod school.

Custom body panels can be fabricated using a couple of different techniques. The first method of creating body panels is to cut, shape, and weld metal to spec. Metal body panels tend to be heavy but strong, and can be repaired more easily.

An alternative to metal is fiberglass paneling, which is lighter but tends to shatter on impact. As its name implies, fiberglass is a material derived from glass that is drawn into long, thin fibers. Fiberglass has many uses, including use as an insulating material, but it is also well known as a material than can be used to form body panels on racecars and hot rods. Fiberglass automotive paneling is created with layers of fiberglass "cloth," which is laid in a mold or shaped and sealed with a hardening liquid. Once dry, fiberglass paneling can be sanded and painted to create a sleek and shiny finish.

In addition to body panel fabrication, creating a hot rod requires knowledge of a car's frame, and how to strengthen it. Many hot rods are "chop tops," meaning that the original, metal roof of the car has been removed. Because the roof is a point of strength in the construction of the vehicle, essentially allowing it to hold its shape in an accident rather than folding up like an accordion, cutting the roof off of a vehicle cannot safely be done without reinforcing the rest of the frame and body.

Building a hot rod also requires that the owner understand the principles of auto mechanics. Expert knowledge is required in order to customize and install an engine and driveline designed to maximize the car's horsepower. In addition, many old cars need to be completely rewired in order to function as a hot rod, as the old electrical system is usually not powerful enough to support a modern engine and other parts.

For most people, these jobs require hiring a professional, taking the owner of the car out of the loop and depriving him or her of one of the most exciting parts of owning a hot rod: the experiences and pride that come from putting the vehicle together oneself. However, a professional education can put the owner back into the loop. Hot rod school teaches car enthusiasts everything they need to know to perform these techniques with professional skill. Students learn what tools are needed to build a hot rod, as well as how to use them. With such an education under one's belt, graduates of a hot rod program can do anything they want, whether it is to build their own hot rods, or make a living creating beautiful cars for others.
About the Author
Andy West is a freelance writer for VC Tech, The Automotive School. VC Tech is a world-class auto mechanic school offering many exciting automotive programs including hot rod school. Please visit http://www.vctechnical.com to learn more.
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