With scrounging for parts, liberal body chopping, and the disregard for tradition, no automotive segment has more creativity than rat rods. This 1938 Ford truck is a perfect example of that, a life-sized Hot Wheels that everybody loves… apparently.
The latest feature video from AutotopiaLA puts the spotlight on their first rat rot/hot rod. Fresh from appearing at the Hot Wheels Legends Tour, owner Angel brought this unique Ford.
You’ve probably seen a lot of 32-33 Fords, but not everybody fits inside one of those, and it gets boring looking at them after a while. This Ford pickup started life as the 1938 model, a 2-ton flatbed delivery vehicle by the look of it.
She sits pretty low, being both chopped and channeled. Angel doesn’t cover all the details, but a good few inches appear to be missing from the roof, even though visibility is still pretty good. The frame has been shortened at the back, and you won’t find modern suspension here, just leaf springs and a few old truck parts, drum brakes, and such.
The engine looks about as rusty and beat up as the rest of it, but it is a pretty interesting choice. This is a 472 big-block from Cadillac. Back in the day, it really wasn’t that unusual to use Cadillac or Lincoln engines in rat rods because they were big, cheap, and had a lot of torque.
Cadillac debuted this particular displacement in 1968. The 7.7-liter V8 lump had a 4.30-inch bore and 4.06-inch stroke, producing 375 hp and 524 pound-feet. But this particular example has been modified with roller cams and rockers, an aluminum intake, Holley carbs, and the unmistakable zoomie exhausts.
The power is sent to a beefy rear axle which sits right next to the body and is coupled with very unusual-looking wheels, but also drum brakes. These are 22×14-inch candy apple red alloys with a 72mm offset. If you don’t know what offset is, this is the distance from the mounting surface of the wheel and the vertical line in the middle of the rim, basically meaning you’ve got a very deep design. Normally, this would go on a Jeep or a lifted show truck since it’s an 8-bolt. Meanwhile, the front wheels are from a ’32 Ford.
Like most rat rods, you could spend a lot of time looking at all the details. The truck sports an old Farmall tractor front end, a wheelie bar that’s there for show, and old Ford Model T light at the back.
What we found the most interesting is how Angel says this vehicle is very popular with kids, old people, and even the police. Sure, it’s like a life-sized Hot Wheels truck, but this is California we’re talking about, and that “Fukcum & Gowjum” sign on the side, supposedly a shop name, isn’t difficult to decipher.
Speaking of signs and names, the 38 Ford-Caddy hybrid is called Cinderelli. With the body descended between the axles like that and plenty of mouse references, it’s like “an ugly pumpkin.”