To really see the difference between the two we need to know the definition of both types of vehicles, what a rat rod is and what a hot rod really is.
As per Wikipedia a hot rod is a typical American car with large engine modified for linear speed. The term itself comes as a detraction from hot roadster – speed racing cars. From the modified engines of the 30s and 40s cars came the term hot rods. The today’s hot rods are those restored 40s-50s-60s cars that are trying to achieve and maintain the original look of the car, by using, whenever possible, original parts or at least parts of the same era.
While hot rods main goal is to re-create an old car and bring it back from the past to the present and preserve the original look and parts, the rat rods from the other part have a more (so to call) freedom in the building process. For a rat rod, aside that the engines are heavily modified, so is the look. Rat rods look more sport-ish cars with an old classic cars or trucks body. The parts used to build a rat rod not necessarily have to be of the same car model, or the same era, you can replace parts of the car or truck with any other car model or brand, as long as it looks good, such as the tires, mirrors, exhaust etc..
The main goal of a rat rod is to have a car that looks damn hot, that has a heavily modified engine, that looks very aggressive (with spoilers and all other modifications), to put it out simple, to have a car or a truck that has the body of an antique car (sport one preferred) but that has implemented in itself even modern parts to make it look aggressive and hot in the same time.
As far as it regards the choice, whether a rat rod or a hot rod, it depends on persons personal style and likening. Not necessarily it means that a man with a rat rods must be with long hair, loads of tattoos and a trouble maker, nor it means that the man with hot rod is a business man that collects cars. However, either one you got, a rat or a hot rod truth is, they both should be beasts that attract eyes in show rooms, on the streets or even just as simply parked in front of your house.
Hot rod or rat rod? If you are one that likes the second group then you should..
Article source from rat rodders life style as well as living the rat rod life