What Are Hot Rod Trucks?

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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 17 February 2018
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Hot rod trucks are heavily modified pickup trucks that often feature sleek body styles and extremely powerful engines. Like hot rod cars, hot rod trucks are designed for linear speed, so steering capabilities are usually not considered a high priority when designing such a truck. The trucks are usually lowered for aerodynamics, and the body is often modified both for aerodynamics and aesthetics. The rear tires of the truck are likely to be quite wide, and the front tires are likely to be narrower for better steering and less drag.

Compact and midsize trucks are usually used to make hot rod trucks because they are smaller and lighter than full-size trucks, though sometimes full-size trucks are used. The body and frame of a truck can be stripped or otherwise modified to further shed weight from the truck, and sometimes the bed of the truck is removed entirely for weight savings. The engine is usually fairly large, and a four cylinder engine may be replaced with a V-8 or similarly large engine. The weight of such an engine is usually much heavier than a stock engine, so the frames of the hot rod trucks are sometimes modified to accommodate the extra weight. Axles may also be replaced to help support the additional weight.

It is not uncommon to find hot rod trucks with open-air engine compartments. This is done for a few reasons; first, the open-air engine allows the truck owner to showcase the aesthetically pleasing engine components, which are usually chrome-coated for visual appeal. Second, the open-air engine often allows for more efficient engine cooling. Third, the engine may be instrumental in efficient air delivery into the engine, which is vital for combustion. The more air that reaches the cylinder, the more power the engine can put out. Some trucks feature air intake systems that create a ram-air effect; this means air is literally rammed into the engine, creating a power boost.

Hot rod trucks have not been in existence as long as hot rod cars have. When the hot rod community began to die out briefly with the advent of more powerful cars being produced from the factory, people began modifying trucks instead, leading to an offshoot of the more traditional hot rodding hobby. Hot rod cars made a comeback, mostly among devoted hobbyists, though hot rod trucks remained on the scene.


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