Build or Buy — Big Decision

The many body styles of the pre-48 Fords offer a wide selection of possible Hot Rod build opportunities. Done right, they all make wonderful looking rides. Styles over the years have changed from early customs and Hot Rods to resto-rods and hi-tech examples. I have enjoyed all of them and have been a fan of all of them except the “Rat Rod” trend of a few years ago. Don’t get me wrong, I have seen some very well constructed cars built with this theme in mind and appreciated the craftsmanship employed, but not the design. I remember Boyd even tried his hand at building a project using the same theme. I often get asked how a GM man builds Fords and I respond with,”I grew up with Ford Hot Rods in the 50’s and never lost the love affair.” Other makes never interested me as far as a Hot Rod goes, but Customs were another trend that provided some other makes such as Chevrolet and Mercury. I will save that story for another time.

I believe age and technology have a lot to do with today’s trends of the traditional Hot Rod builds. Reproduction bodies, chassis and required parts are readily available. Many of us recall our early days and feel like we would like one last Hot Rod that we remember from our youth. Granted, they are way superior to the early builds and much more expensive, but we just have to have one. I build my own cars in most cases, but in today’s economy, it is far better to purchase one. Not only does it same time and money to buy finished a Hot Rod but you have instant gratification for the money you just spent and you can make it yours while enjoying the many activities we have available for our hobby.

Here are a few of choices you have. I am a convertible, roadster Woodie type of guy, but coupes, sedans, and phaetons are all good choices. Talk nice to the wife and take her out to dinner after bringing home some flowers. Works for me!

Enjoy your weekend in your Hot Rod.

Stay Tooned!




Roy builds some of the best hiboys on the road today. The Speed 33 makes a great road car and keeps the wife happy with roll up windows and top. You could probably purchase a used one for considerably less than the build cost.


2016 AMBR winner is driving through the trees these days.  A redo by some very talented people made this purchase worth while. Terri Brizio photo from FB.


Professional built roadsters run in the $180-200K range on the West Coast. You would loose a great deal of that when reselling. I see them for $60-70K and many our still for sale.


Starting here will cost you way more than buying a finished one.


In my many searches for sedan deliveries I ran across this one stored in a garage for over 30 years. “I’m going to fix it up someday!” A project like this can be really time consuming and expensive.


The 39 convert has to be one of the best looking rides in Ford’s lineup. Take a stock one and drop the front and you have a Hot Rod. You would be surprised at how nice these cars are when done.


I am partial to the 46-48 Ford convertible models and a stocker can be had for under $40K. On the West Coast paint and upholstery will cost you $40K.


Here is another 46 that was available for a good price and looked classy.


High end cars like this one can be purchased for much less than the build cost.

0810rc_01_z 1936_ford_roadster front_passenger_view

The 36 roadster is a highly desirable Hot Rod and command a good price.

1940 ford 002

Purchased many years ago, Dave has changed his style a couple of times over the years.


A barn find really attracts attention in today’s events. The 40 is highly sought after and plentiful in our area.


A real high end car will keep you motivated while you convince the wife you need this one.

1940 Ford 1

If you are on a low budget you can still find convertibles like this one for under $30K.


Forty trucks can be purchased in many different forms and prices. Finished trucks like this one command big prices.


Locating an old build is a fun Hot Rod to own and keep it like it was for the “Patina” look.

My preferred method when younger !!!


My old convertible brought $10K and was finished in about 6 months by Alan. She is a keeper.


Alan is a master builder and does it all himself. The top is chopped 2″.


Jane likes the top down and gave her full approval to Alan.

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