Autobody Rat Rod Car

By Iesha Fluellen
Eagle Staff

It's amazing what can happen when a little creativity and hard work come together. A group of students from the Northeast Texas Community College Auto Body Department recently put together a “Rat Rod” car project that the crew built entirely on their own. The car was designed and created by auto body students Oscar Salazar, Randy Loewen, W.P. Johnson, Ron Isaiah and Greg Northcutt.

Most of the car was built out of scrap metal donated by the Shelby Automotive Technology Center here on the NTCC campus. The major pieces of the car initially came from an old golf cart.

The auto body students got their inspiration for the car from the "Rat Rod" car craze going on in the auto world. A Rat Rod is a vehicle built entirely from scrap and random car parts. "They usually come from old, antique cars that are not fixable. The parts are put together to make an old Hot Rod,” said Northcutt. “That's why we call it a Rat Rod."
When building a Rat Rod, the maker never really knows how the finished project will actually turn out. "There's no set way to build it," NTCC Auto Body Instructor Ricky Roach said. "It's just a creation of everybody's thoughts."

The students have worked on the project for six months, and said they have really enjoyed putting it all together. "I really liked working on the engine part of it," said Johnson. "That's what I liked the most about it." 

Usually when Rat Rods are built, they are often displayed in catalogs or calendars as art. Several photographers have been known to include them in professional photo shoots. Oftentimes this is done with models photographed in their shots. In the photo featured on the front of this issue, you will see Ricki Roach (daughter of Ricky Roach) and cosmetology student, Jessica Yepez modeling with the Rat Rod. The two girls were asked to take pictures with the car and they just couldn't resist being a part of the auto body department’s project.

"I'm happy I got to do this," said Yepez. "I'm always up for any opportunity to dress up." The girls wore 1950s-era themed clothing for the photo shoot to give the pictures a vintage inspired look.

"The car is pretty cool,” said Ricki Roach. They did really good on it,"The students said they enjoyed getting an opportunity to build the Rat Rod and are pretty satisfied with how it turned out."They had a blast and so did I," said Instructor Roach. "It was something fun that they could work on, and it turned out great.