For most car enthusiasts, classic cars are a labor of love. If you’re thinking about purchasing a classic car, then you’ll want to ask yourself an important question first: will you eventually turn the vehicle into a hot rod or restore it to its original glory of years past? It’s a tough decision, one that’s worth weighing carefully.
Classic car enthusiasts will point to the importance and responsibility of preserving the history of the vehicle, while many hot rod enthusiasts are attracted to the fun and creativity involved in enhancing a historic vehicle with modern technology. Before you make up your own mind about which side of the debate you belong, check out our pros and cons of owning a hot rod.
10 Pro: Creativity
Are you artistic? Do you love to put your own stamp on things? If you want to flex your creative muscles and challenge your little grey cells, then a hot rod is the way to go. Starting with a beautiful, classic car and adjusting it to your preferences is akin to creating a work of art. From design to execution, you’ll be using your creativity while also solving challenges along the way. Not only can you adjust the car to your own preferences, but you can actually inject your own personality into every inch of the vehicle – from the engine to the headlights, making it your own creative masterpiece.
9 Con: Knowledge
If you’re mechanical and can make modifications to your car on your own, then that’s great, but if you’re not mechanically or technically inclined then you’ll be relying on someone else to maintain and modify your hot rod, which will be expensive. Plus, it’s just not as much fun as doing it yourself.
While driving a hot rod is definitely enjoyable, for most car enthusiasts it’s more than a hobby --it's a labor of love. So if you don’t know what a composite pistol air needle scaler is, or the difference between a torque wrench and an end ratchet wrench then this probably isn’t the hobby for you.
8 Pro: Technology
In the past, a powerful car meant a bigger, better engine (like a V8). Today, though that’s not necessarily the case. With today’s turbochargers and as engine technology advances at a rapid pace there are many four, five and six cylinder engines that generate as much power (or more) than a V8 engine.
That means that with a turbocharger you can turn your classic vehicle into a hot rod that’s faster and more powerful than it was ever designed to be. If you love the thought of taking an old vehicle and improving it with today’s turbocharged technology, then a hot rod is for you.
7 Con: Budget
If you don’t have the money to invest in and maintain your hot rod, then there’s not much point in buying one. That’s because compared to classic cars, they don’t necessarily hold their resale value. A classic car that’s been meticulously cared for and restored with original parts will certainly be a better investment than your hot rod, simply because it’s difficult to find a buyer who will love the modifications that you’ve made. That's because the customizations you make will be suited to your tastes and personality. So, if you’re considering a hot rod as an investment, don’t! When it comes time to sell it you’re not likely to get the money back that you put into it.
6 Pro: Comfort And Convenience
Many of the classic cars of years past were built without much thought to ergonomics. In other words, the legroom, comfort and modern interior conveniences that we’ve grown accustomed to just aren’t there. From cup holders to adjustable seats, there’s no doubt that the ergonomics in today’s vehicles are far advanced compared to yesteryear's. With a hot rod, you have the opportunity to change that, so the classic car you love is actually comfortable to drive. You might not care so much about comfort if you plan on driving your classic car for a few hours on the weekend, but if you want to take it on a weekend road trip or even drive across the country then you’ll want to modify the interior so it’s comfortable and equipped with the modern conveniences you’re used to.
5 Con: History Buff
If you love the look, feel and smell of classic cars then a hot rod might not be not for you. There’s a subsection of car enthusiasts out there who feel that owners of classic cars have a responsibility to restore the vehicle to its original glory for history’s sake. If you love the history of your classic car and the stories behind it, then making modern modifications to it might not sit right with you. However, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t invest in a classic car. Modifying hot rods and restoring classic cars are both equally fulfilling hobbies, just choose the one that best suits your personality.
4 Pro: Fun, Custom Paint Jobs
If you’re looking to make a statement and want to turn heads, then a hot rod might be a good investment for you. You can usually identify a hot rod simply from the amazing custom paint job. From fresh greens to vibrant oranges to deep purples, with the right design and color, your hot rod will look as cool as the toy cars you may have played with as a child. And that brings us to an important reason to own a hot rod – they’re fun! While classic cars will certainly turn heads too, there’s something about a custom hot rod paint job that just screams fun.
3 Con: Environment
Let’s face it, hot rods aren’t green vehicles, and they’re just not as good for the environment as an electric vehicle. If you’re feeling worried about the state of our environment (and hey, with everything going on in the world, who isn’t) then purchasing a classic car or a hot rod probably isn’t a great decision for you. These cars typically don’t get great mileage, and they’re not considered clean vehicles for several reasons. Most classic cars were built during a time of excess, when engineers weren’t concerned with the state of the planet. These engineers simply didn’t account for factors like emissions or gas consumption.
2 Pro: Less To Invest
Let’s get back to adulting for a second and look at your budget. Most of the money you put into a hot rod will be spent on enhancing its performance. This is in stark contrast to the money which you put into restoring your classic car, which will mostly be spent on original parts. Purchasing original parts for a classic car is difficult, time-consuming and costly. Even if you go to the original manufacturer, they may not have the part available. When you do find it, it may be very expensive to purchase because there’s a limited supply and high demand for classic car parts. Not to mention that the part won’t add to the performance of the vehicle.
1 Con: Time
Hobbies are a great way to spend your free time, but you actually have to have free time to enjoy them. Unlike golf or mountain biking, a hot rod is a hobby that will have you immersed in a long-term project. In other words, you won’t be able to take your hot rod out for a spin if you’re in the middle of modifying the engine, rust-proofing and painting the body, or enhancing the suspension. All these jobs take hours of work, and if you don’t have the time to do the work (or the budget to have someone else do it for you) then this hobby can quickly turn from enjoyment to stress as it becomes another thing on your long to-do list. For this reason, be sure you have the leisure time needed to make the most of your hot rod.