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Roadside Rat Rod For $1,595


While driving home from work yesterday, I spotted the top of a windshield poking up behind an embankment along the road. After pulling a quick u-turn, I was surprised to find this little bucket of bolts sitting on a trailer with a for sale sign stuck to it. Normally, we don’t feature rat rods on Barn Finds, but I thought this was interesting enough to give it some space. The $1,595 asking price didn’t hurt either. It is located in Boise, Idaho and you can email us to get the seller’s number if you’re actually interested. It may not be your thing, but I bet there is a good conversation to be had here.


The whole concept behind the rat rodding craze is to build something unique on the cheap. Well, at least that is what it used to mean. Old parts aren’t as cheap and plentiful as they used to be and most of the complete cars I have seen for sale lately have been far from cheap. So,  it was refreshing to see this one with a fairly realistic asking price. Unfortunately, this project car also looks like the owner may have given up on it and decided it might be wiser to pass the problem onto someone else. The poor soul who decides to take this project on had better have some fantastic fabrication skills because it needs a lot of help. Parts are strewn underneath and the steering is not hooked up yet. Getting the geometry right here could be a real challenge.


Heck, just sitting in this thing is going to be a challenge! To achieve that low-slung look, the creator cut the floor out and lowered the cabin over the frame and engine. A Model T truck bed was then thrown out back along with a keg fuel tank. You won’t need to go very fast to get a thrill here though. Five miles an hour can be scary in any vehicle if you are afraid something might break! If the next owner can get it relatively safe to drive, it might actually be fast though because there is a V8 out front!


This was the most exciting aspect of this whole car to me. An old flathead V8 is such a simple piece of machinery, but with the right speed parts, it can actually be made to perform quite well. Obviously, the steering and brakes won’t be up to the task, but perhaps that is part of the fun?


Even in its unfinished state, there is some value here. There’s the flathead and all the pre-war Ford bits. If anything we could see a fellow hot rodder picking this up as parts for their own creation. Although, I don’t own any hot rods right now, I can get behind the idea. It is fun to design and build something that is all your own and truth is, it’s just another interpretation of the same interest we all share. We all like to draw lines in the hobby – there are truck guys, lowriders, hot rodders, racers, tuners, etc. But, the truth is we are all just a bunch of guys socializing and enjoying the same four-wheel contraptions.


I know it’s a bad idea, but I secretly want to go get a tetanus shot and then drag this monstrosity home just to see if I can put it all back together. The neighbors would hate me and my wife might decide to leave, but boy would it feel satisfying to take this around the block for the first time without something falling off or catching fire. Anyone else here feel this same strange desire?


  1. rusty


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  2. William H

    Like you, I’d be quite tempted to drag this home as a long term project. The fabrication would be the best part, for me at least.

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  3. Kevin Maxon

    The side of the road is where it belongs. Leave it there!

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  4. geomechs geomechs Member

    Now these are the cars I’d never feel guilty about finishing up as a hot rod. Boy, if I didn’t have too many projects already, I’d be taking this one home. It would be a lot of fun driving one of these around. Hope it sells soon as I might do something my wife would make me regret.

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  5. Marc

    Trailer is included right?

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  6. RollerD

    Your last paragraph and the first comment are very funny, thanks to both of you.

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    • rusty

      it was the timing RollerD knowing i was first off the rank it was the right timing hee hee

      damn though I wrote it on my phone and there was no box to tick to keep me notified of comments.so may well respond here just to get notified..hee hee

      ironically if i wasnt selling off all my toys I’d still have the itchy buying bug at that price except it would cost over $3000 AU to get it home…there goes the budget. hee hee

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  7. The Other Doug M. (West Coast) Member

    Great find, Jesse!~ For some reason I really like Rat Rods, though I have never owned one. I think it must be the purposeful dis-regard of everything many of us hold sacred: perfect paint, matching numbers, original parts…etc. Then there’s the introduction of unorthodox finish materials such as denim, warn out leather, pool balls, welded chain, you name it! And best of all (maybe its because I have painted many cars in my life time) the artistic arrangement of mis-matched colors, faux-rust, flat paint, and raw metal and welding visible for all to see…I think for me they kinda all take my imagination back to a setting that you might find in “Road Warriors”… Ya just gotta love these. I think this has a good start -especially with the flathead motor. We’ll see!

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  8. fatty

    I would like to have it to fix it up right with rust removal and good paint.
    While I personally think ratrods give streetrods a black eye in public opinion I can appreciate the creativity and skill they put into some of those things.
    I just wish they would paint them so they did not look like rolling junk.

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  9. stanley stalvey

    I like it. A dozen cans of WalMart spray paint on the engine, axle, suspension would triple the value of the thing to start and then take it to a body shop for primer and basic black. Suddenly, this old rat trap would be worth hella good money. Aesthetics is the key to turning any eyesore around… It’s not that hard…

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  10. Mark E

    I can only hope that’s a repro body, otherwise the owner reduced thousands of dollars in original metal body parts into scrap value when he lit the torch.

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  11. Scott Allison

    Going to car shows and winning 1st place, etc with my Vette… I looked at rat rods as JUNK!
    Now that I’ve seen a few at car shows, and some very off the wall unique fab work, and especially some outrageous things they use for shifters, brake setup, etc.. I am loving these rat rods! Recently, one guy took the tail end of a 59 Impala, cut it in half, and used it as the bed of his rat-rod. I have seen some very unusual engine setups too!

    Rat-Rods are the new “Concourse Classics” LOL!!!!

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  12. Bill Graham

    No, I don’t have that desire, I got vaccinated! Thank God!

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  13. jim s

    and what else do they have for sale or hidden and not for sale. let us know if it sells, would love to know if new owner bought it to build or part out. it is a flathead but what brand and from what timeframe. glad you stopped. great find.

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  14. Brian

    Now, these cars aren’t my style, but I can understand the appeal. Get this car home, get it running and driving dependably; get the steering, exhaust, brakes, and tires working safely; thow in a couple semi-comfortable seats (belts??) and this project car is complete – please direct the owner to the next local show or cruise-in!

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  15. Tim H

    All this open mindedness is heart warming. Can we include Kit cars as having a legitimate place?

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  16. sunbeamdon

    Bill G, if you have any pull with your fellow Bill(y) G. maybe you can get him to bless this POR(ust)!

    None the less, I love it, tetanus shot and all! Let’s add some good-ole Ardun Heads and really distort the market value! Rattle can patina, maybe a cut-down bleacher from an old football stadium, cowhide seat covers. etc, etc. Why not get carried away (to the funny farm?)!

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  17. Bill Graham

    I love your suggestion about Ardun heads, but what would Zora say? No, I’m afraid George Thorogood had it right in his song “the head nurse said, leave that one alone ’cause it’s BAD TO THE BONE”!

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  18. sunbeamdon

    He’d be OK with that (not!) By the way the “head-nurse” musta been Nurse Ratched


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  19. Bill Graham

    Amen, brother!

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  20. Ric Parrish

    I would dump the Farmall radiator shell, for something that is a better fit, finish it mechanically, put decent tires and rims on it and go. We had a photo shoot of rats at our old movie studio a few months ago, some incredible stuff showed up. One of the guys had a Vette so nice they couldn’t drive it down our 600 foot dirt road, but his rat was phenomenal.

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  21. Ponts 40

    I don’t believe this is a rat rod. Judging by the bias plies and the early Ford wheels I would bet this thing got to the point it is now in the 50’s. Rat rods would be imitations of this with more modern stuff (junk) attached. There is nothing there that signifies something done recently.

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  22. Thomas B

    Front wheels and brake drums looks like late thirties/early fifties Opel stuff (same bolt pattern as Volkswagen) and the only Opel of that period that had a solid front axle was the base-version of the Kadett 1938-40…

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  23. Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

    I drove by the area where this was parked and it is gone, so I assume it has sold!

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  24. sunbeamdon

    Jesse – in keeping with my previous comments – maybe it has been recalled by its maker!? Maybe there is a god after all!

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  25. Spitz

    Here is a cool watercolor painting of a rat rod I created:

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