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How To Build A Fat Fender Hot Rod

HOT ROD logo HOT ROD 10/27/2020 Tim Bernsau,Hot Rod Archives
a car parked in a parking lot: 0708rc_01_z-fat_fenders-back_left_view © Hot Rod Archives 0708rc_01_z-fat_fenders-back_left_view

Read This Before Starting Your First Fat-Fendered Project

You might have noticed that in recent weeks our mind has been on all things fat. And by "all things," we mean cars, specifically those super-sized cruisers manufactured from 1935 until 1948. It took hot rodders a while to warm up to these corpulently curved cruisers, but once we did there was no looking back. Fat fenders are now popular raw material for hot rods and customs. Back in 2007, Rod & Custom editors Kevin Lee and Jim Aust shared some great tips and tricks on how to build a fat fender hot rod. Their story on successfully turning portly raw material into a cool rotund rod is as timely as ever, so we're resharing it here.

When you're done reading this story, check out our recent photo galleries of 50 Favorite Fat Fender Ford Hot Rods and 40 Favorite Fat Fender Non-Ford Hot Rods to see some outstanding examples of what stout is all about.

Building Your First Fat Fender by Kevin Lee and Jim Aust

Nobody ever wants to be called fat, but a special place is reserved in the world of rodding for rotund rods, and nobody gets upset when you call their 1935 to 1948 vehicles fat-fendered. The term comes from the bulbous styling of early vehicles that ended pretty much in 1949 when nearly all manufacturers switched to a decidedly "boxy" slab-sided design christened the shoebox by most enthusiasts.

While certain fat-fendered models, such as '36 and '40 Fords, have always been popular with rodders, today just about any make and model is fair play, and aftermarket suppliers have stepped up with pieces to make rodding all brands a possibility.

What Makes Fat Fenders Great Hot Rods?

Fat fenders are gaining momentum because they can still be bought for a fairly reasonable price, and, once done, they're very comfortable to drive and have plenty of room for the family or fairground supplies. The prices are even better once you move away from the Fords and Chevys and start looking into the off-brands.

The fact that these rods have fat fenders helps keep the build costs down. There's no need for the budget-minded at-home builder to spend extra money on flashy suspension and chassis components because they're all out of sight. The money saved here can be put into the wheels and tires, bodywork and trim, or the interior. Their extra weight also makes them ride better in most cases and can give the passengers an added sense of security thanks to the mass of metal around them.

We've gone though and listed a few brief tips you should look for if you're starting your first fat-fendered.

a car parked in a grassy field

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