To the untrained eye, your average rat rod may look like a heap of scrap metal flung together to create something that looks a bit odd. But to those in the know, the rust and stripped-back look is all part of the charm. In the eyes of many, rat rods are examples of fine workmanship, originality and imagination.
We can't get enough of rat rods and want to celebrate them. So over the coming months we will be looking at the hottest rat rods around, starting with Satan's Rat Rod (affectionately known as Gretchen).
There's no denying this rat rod is a head-turner. The body is taken from a 1931 Ford, the engine was originally in a 1952 Diamond-Reo tractor (275 hp but working 1,640 lb-ft of torque), and the chassis has been built using old lamp posts from Hollywood. The result? The perfect mix of aspiration, agriculture and glamour.
Gretchen has been lovingly created by Henry Kessler who has sourced everything from headlights, wheels and windscreen from 1940s, 50s and 60s cars, buses and agricultural vehicles. The engine has clocked more than a million miles, and Kessler is confident it will happily run another million.
Satan's rat rod certainly makes its presence known wherever it goes. Its tractor engine is deafeningly loud, it belches black smoke and dirt relentlessly and guzzles petrol at an alarming rate – it's a world away from that of the Prius.
Not only is Kessler passionate about Gretchen, he is passionate about engaging with the next generation of rat-rodders. His philosophy is that if Gretchen is seen by as many people as possible, the excitement and passion for this very unique brand of car culture will keep on growing. By encouraging people to climb inside and feel the power of this motor, Kessler is putting smiles on peoples' faces and keeping the rat rod dream alive.
Driving this beast is a dirty business and you can feel like you are taking your life into your own hands, but if you want to make an entrance, it's a risk well worth taking.
Find out more about Gretchen and hear Henry Kessler talk about his labour of love here:
While we can't lease you a rat rod, we can save you money by leasing you an equally impressive motor. Visit our website to see the wide range of vehicles on offer. The car you lease may not turn as many heads as Satan's rat rod, but it will get you noticed, nonetheless.
Image: By JOHN LLOYD (originally posted to Flickr as Rat Rod Dodge) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.