This piece was first published in March of 2014, right after the release of the 2013 Rat Rod Tour documentary and showing. This was also written right on the heels of the first Rat Rod Build-Off. (also a part of the Tour and documentary)
No Rules? Really?
Since we first revealed this cover, our detractors have used the “No Rules” bit against us. They've said things like “No rules means rat rodders can build junk!” Or, “No rules?! So rat rods are unsafe?” Or, “No rules because they don't have any skill and have to make their own rules up.”
No. No. No. No. STOP.
First of all, NO RULES is in reference to creative boundaries. If I want to merge a Ford body with a Chevy engine, and throw some old Plymouth fins on the back – I will. I can. It goes against the grain and that's part of rat rod culture. BE YOURSELF. NO APOLOGIES. Secondly, good craftsmanship and good building practices apply. Rat rodders don't build junk – they may start with junk, but it's transformed into roadworthy machines... blue-collar masterpieces. Something built, something driven. Something enjoyed. We've preached it from day one: always build it safe, build it to drive, and build it YOUR way. If those are “rules,” than yeah I guess we do have some... but they're definitely not restrictions. They're simply guides. These are principals rat rod culture is powered by, despite what rat rod detractors like to say. And what's that all about anyway? I can't think of one time in my life where I looked at a car that someone built and thought, “hmmm... this dude built this? I F*ng hate him!” Who does that? How miserable of a life do you have that you'd lash out at someone for what kind of car they like?
In contrast, we just released the 2013 Rat Rod Tour DVD. Watching the premiere in the theater surrounded by rat rod enthusiasts, Tour participants, Build-Off competitors, and family – it's awesome. These people are amazing. Tolerant, creative, respectful... just damn good people who love to enjoy life, enjoy old cars, and partake of the rat rod goodness. There's no drama – no acid spitting. No one rips anyone else's cars, tastes, or beliefs.
After 3+ years of pushing this magazine forward, I've realized there will be opposition to everything you do. I've accepted it. It must be human nature to hate, because it's always there. If there's nothing to use against you, people will create it. If you're different, or if you go your own way – someone will always be standing there trying to block your path. In our case – people have risen with us, propelled what we do beyond all limitations, and destroyed a label. Yeah, that's right. Rat Rod as a label? Gone. It means something more these days, and not everyone will understand. But those who do? RAT ON. - Editor Steve