Car Feature>> A Littleboy’s Rat Rod Dream

When you’re at Bonneville you see all sorts of crazy contraptions while walking (and driving) around the five mile long pit and spectator area. You witness things that can rocket to speeds just shy of 400 miles per hour to things that are created to look the best while flossing at 20 miles per hour. Basically, you see the whole spectrum from pure performance to pure hardparking. It’s phenomenal to be able to to be able to take all of this at a single event.

With such an eclectic mix of cars, you also meet an eclectic mix of people. The owner of this rat rod is one of those crazy individuals that travelled long distances to attend the cultural festival at the Salt. He drove his RV with the car trailer from Vancouver, Canada to the Utah. He is 100% devoted to hot rod culture. And the build quality of this ‘rat rod’ even questions if we should even categorize it as that. Rod and I met and conversed with this fellow, Ken (from Top 10 Hot Rod & Customs) before we even saw the car. When he mentioned something to the nature of, “hey do you want to see my car?” The response came out instantly: “Yes Ken, we DO want to see whatever you have!”

We had absolutely no clue what to expect when we walked to the car trailer and those doors opened…

What laid before us was a 1930 Ford coupe rat rod. A car that barely even held onto the idea that it is, indeed, a rat rod. But what this car did have was an absolutely menacing presence and that each and every nut, bolt, and piece of metal on the car seemed like it radiated with history. And as we talked to Ken a bit more, we soon found out that assumption was true. Every part on this car has a vintage going to the late 50s.

As I stepped into the cockpit of the Ford Coupe, what followed was an eye opening experience filled with ‘ooohs’ and ‘ahhhs’. There was not a single creature comfort to be found on the inside. Everything was bare metal, with the exception of the seat cushions. There are some parts on the inside of the car where you can see straight out onto the ground. And when you take a hold of that steering wheel, you feel like you’ve been transported into the future, according to the 1950s, of course! And said steering wheel? That’s taken from Boeing B-29 bomber.

There’s a sense of elegance when every working part of the car is exposed. It’s almost like the modern art museum in Paris, the Centre Pompidou, where the inner workings of the building is exposed to the outside –the air ducts, piping, electrical, etc. The same aesthetic concept goes for this car. Every bit of the car that helps the car move and function is there to accentuate the style, flare, and aesthetic appeal to this car. It’s raw, and it’s real.

The metal rods surrounding the drive shaft is an area in the interior of the car that is of great beauty and is definitely something to marvel at.

The exposed linkages from a four speed, aluminum cased transmission.

A dial for the water temperature which is just mounted on a rod that connects the ‘dashboard’ to the body of the car.

Exposed bits of metal and dials that harken back to simpler times –times when there was an engine, four wheels, and thats it. No reverse cameras, TVs, or electronic governing. The gauge pods themselves is actually a South Winds gas meter –not even a car part!

These switches seem like they were taken straight out of Flash Gordon’s spaceship.

This car has twos pedals, one for the clutch and one the one that is the most important –the go button! And so I bet you’re wondering how does this thing stop? It stops with a hand operated rear brakes! This car is absolutely bonkers through and through!

Even the sticker is vintage!

Six inches were chopped off the top of the original 1930 Ford coupe to give it a much more mean looking stance. The car’s name, Littleboy is an ode to the bomb that was dropped onto Hiroshima in 1945. Think what you may about that symbolism and it’s significance in world history. But the name suits the car quite well.

The lettering of “Littleboy” was hand painted onto the door.

The bare metal also flows all the way out to the exterior of the car. You can see the layers of paint that some of the panels have. It really brings that sense that this car really has so much history. The rear tail light is from a 1939 Chrysler DeSoto. The chrome really stands out from the gritty bare metal and balances out the rear of the car quite well.

There may be a radiator grill in the front, which is from a 1947 Cockshut Tractor, but it definitely does not house the radiator. Follow the coolant lines all the way back into the trunk and you will find the only modern piece on this whole car. An aluminum radiator and an electric fan!

This fuel tank is also another part that has been converted from an airplane. It’s the oxygen tank, from a Boeing B-52, for the pilots when they were in high altitudes!

Like I said before, just about everything on this car is vintage up to the 1950s. The rear wheels from a 1940s Ford tractor and even the parachute is a vintage piece!

At the time that these photos were taken, the suspension were just a solid mount. The owner was actually thinking of putting on modern coilovers for true performance, but decided to keep it period.

The attention to detail and the quality of the build that this car has received can be seen by looking close to the frame and noticing that it follows the contours of the body. The chassis itself is completely hand made too with the exception of the ’30 Ford Coupe body on top of it. The front wheels are off of a International Harvester.

Now on to the meat of this car (or, should I say, the heart?), the motor. This extremely shiny, and elegant piece of metal is a 1957 Hemi V-8 which has been built for nitrous.

In the front of this massive engine sits two McCullough superchargers. When Ken took the car for a little jaunt around the pit area (let me remind you again that it is 5 miles long), you can hear these twin super charges whine from miles away. That sound, accompanied by the Hemi V-8 roaring out of its two collectors which exit both sides of the engine, is a sound that only mythical gods have the privilege of hearing to. Heavenly is an understatement.

Just looking at the engine is a sight to behold. If you liken this car to an art piece (which in my mind, it is), then the car is the painting, and the engine is Mona Lisa’s smile. It has that huge of an effect on the whole of the car.

If you go to the Bonneville Speedweek with an open mind, you will meet tons and tons of people. And the thing is, they’re all extremely nice, gracious, and humble people. They are on the Salt for the sole reason to support and spread the knowledge, love, dedication to Hot Rod culture. They want everyone to see why it is such an old and prosperous scene. The owner of this car, Ken, is one of those people. And if anyone was to look at his car, they will instantly see that this car, even though it looks like a hunk of junk at first sight, is given the same bruised knuckle, finger burning, excessive yelling, lack of sleep treatment that pristine concours cars receive.

But you know what? I prefer this car to any extremely clean car. It has so much more character. For me, a car’s character is the deal breaker –and this car definitely has plenty of it.

-Linhbergh Nguyen

 Top Ten Hot Rods & Customs



Comments are closed.


by Oldest
by Best by Newest by Oldest

any videos so we can hear it?


i sence, 50L

love them mate, good work!


Beautiful car, so different from the others.


wow. just immense. such an impressive build. speechless otherwise..


isn't it McCullouch superchargers instead of McCullough superchargers?

anyway really good covering again, i'd like some more engine pictures.


hmm maby not:p


it in motion???



crazy looking car ever with massive engine building.


pure evil!

mad props for that build. I bet it was really hard to explain to onlookers :)


if he ever got into an accident wouldn't that bullet on the steering wheel crack his skull?


one word: ART!


That car is amazing.


that car is BA. the detail is amazing!


Quite literally the most beautiful car i have ever seen


WONDERFUL car, i love it, every aspect of it, not least the powerplant.


But Lihnbergh, maybe i'm being a little unreasonable, but does anyone edit your writing? Your attempts to wax poetic, while valiant, fall short due to spelling errors, and, occasionally, excessively verbose verbiage. I love the shots you took that week, definitely, but perhaps you could pare down the paean?


what in the world.....

it looks like it came out of hell or

from a tarantino movie or something

i like the front wheels


Amazing. I'm a sucker for a rat rod and this one is very cool indeed.


Wall paper please! That,s bad ass.


wow what a ride, love it

more more MORE :)


what a beauty!! wow, it blows my mind! and that engine is spectacular!


Someone called it "ART"? The owner dumped a butt load of money in the engine, and forgot that there is everything else to be fixed. The tranny doesn't have a cover's a bucket ! (like pretty much every Hot Rod out there).

Funny thing is, the sticker "dedicated to safety" what?

How can people call it: "the most beautiful car"?

I thought that people that like cars, also like to "fix them up"?......this guy didn't fix sh!t ! He focused on the engine, and that's it, and let everything else rotten really is beyond me why people like stuff like this.

Leave your daily sitting (or "flossing", like young kids would call it today)....leave it on a grass field for 30 years, and it will look identical to this one, minus the polished engine.

Engine that is capable to make some power......and those front bicyle tires? Along with the front drum brakes?.....again, "safety first".....




This thing is a beast


And the whole rat rod concept just went RIGHT over Mr. Alex's head.


Alex, you clearly missed the entire point of this car. It's supposed to be ragged, bare and gritty. That's the point of a rat rod. It's supposed to look like something out of a Resident Evil movie. That's what makes it cool. I'm not really even into hot rods, but it's not hard to see what they were going for with this car.

In any case, very cool and mean car. I think I'd be scared to drive it :p


For me, this is what speedhunters is all about.

Amazing car. great work



car is amazing....


there are vids of it on vimeo taken by "Serialnine." just search for that user. they were taken by one of our very own jzxproject members who did much of the plumbing/fittings on that very car.


Wow, that's hideous, lol. Looks like it performs it's core function the worst; driving. But hey, if the owner likes it, all the power to him! Enjoy your crazy self! ROFL!!!




People start calling names...........

I am into cars, and I take care of them meticulously (my own)....this Hot Rod movement; it doesn't look like the owners of these cars care much about them (aside from the engine), that's all I have to say.


That's the point. They're supposed to look like they haven't been taken care of. The "dedicated to safety" sticker is of course, sarcasm. Big ridiculous engines, rusted parts, bodies, and skinny tires are what make rat rods. It's a style just like wheel fitment, bosozoku, or any other "stupid" way to make your car stand out.


Alex in some cases Rat Rods are dangerous, poorly constructed and thrown together.

But having seen this car in the flesh it is built with a great deal of care... sure the engine is shiny and chromed, but the whole thing has been constructed with the same attention to detail.

This car is not road legal and is more like a show or demo car. It was driven about the salt flats and only once on the streets of Wendover Nevada. So it's features are more like an old Altered dragster. So I'm not sure you should be assessing it as a daily driven street car... it's more like a metal sculpture with a 1000 bhp engine.


This is a Wow Rod! Love it! Love the Bomber components too! It has a shorter frontend than most, which makes it look cool, like a cartoon.


forgot to mention the wooden front wheels are p-i-m-p, and as a fellow Canajun i'm proud to have cars like this one coming out of my home and native land



wow, you'd a lot of fun at a party wouldn't you!


"t's more like a metal sculpture with a 1000 bhp engine" - I think Rod summed up why this car is awesome pretty well!

I couldn't help thinking of the Fallout videogames with the whole 1950s retro futuristic thing and the littleboy name. Its like a mean post-apocalyptic speed machine :P


Now this is a car!!!!!!



cars like this are also aimed at f*ing around with people like Alex.

if think all it takes is letting a car rot to achieve this kind of work, you have a lot to learn.


Looks amazing in the last photo. Would love to hear it. Take a video camera next time you're out there!




Superb photos - give this guy a medal!


 car is amazing, sooo much better then then tar top batteries and period correct tires and original paint. I absolutley love it.


wow, crazy... kind of a steam punk mentality. I agree with rod, this is Kinetic Art, not a real car at all. It's simply not functional in any realistic way.


wallpaper of the first pic please, this car is awesome!!


Alex: I would appreciate it if you would not Troll the Hot Rod Features. Thanks. In the event you are serious, a true aficionado accepts all styles. You are free to your right of speech but I do ask that you retain a degree of courtesy. When a Donker (SIC) asks me what I think of their car I usually respond with “I may have gone a different way with the car I still respect the decisions you have made with the styling.” Notice how I don’t sound like a giant queef compared to your original post? So save face, Play nice, and don’t be a trolling dick.


I was in awe when I saw this in person. This was built by a great friend of mine. Built at a home shop! beautiful creation. I think it was pulling around 1500 horse.


oh my droollllll!

The front wheels are cool!


extra, the difference of the rat-rod body and the very high tech mechanic is so good!!, cool job,

is it possible to know the performances of this car?


is it going to be at the Langley Cruise In?


Wow you totally outdid yourself with this one. This is easily my favorite feature so far and to my eye some of your best photo work. I've come across a couple of these ratrod inspired cars in my hometown but nothing to this level of insanity.

Kudos to you sir, well done.




You know, the whole time I was reading through this, and looking at the photos, I was thinking "these photos are reminding me of something".. but couldn't place it. Then I got to the end and saw that it was an article by Linh.. having drooled over his pictures at in the past, it now all makes sense. Great photographic style, composition, use of lighting and post processing really bring out the nuances of the cars character. Great job Linh!




The most amzaing rat rod I've seen..... No, Most amazing Hotrod I've seen!! Love the wheels! Incredible work! Love the tongue-in-cheek "NHRA Dedicated to Safety" sticker, lol! This is what I'd call a "hard-core rod", 1500hp, twin-blown hemi, with nothing to slow you down but a couple old mechanical drums (and parachute!). Ask a chopper guy with a bike that has mechanical drums, you have to start stopping long before you know you need to stop! The cockpit looks like it came from a "Warehouse 13" artifact! Like someone said, steampunk.


Incredible photography Linhbergh(bokeh is amazing). You definitely captured the essence of it and portrayed it wonderfully.


i bet this thing is insane to drive... scary.


as someone else mentioned, any video?... theres gotta be some video of it somewhere.


When I think back to 2009 there were a few new cars that really stood out from the pack like Yuta's


When I think back to 2009 there were a few new cars that really stood out from the pack like Yuta's


You know, I just love visiting Los Angeles. It's not so much the city itself as I find the place




im doing an assignment about beauty. this page is relevant to me.


Visual Literacy?

Welded torched iron

I have not seen it driving but I'll love it till the day I die.


The red wagon is a very nice rat eod I really dig the way it looks. My only problem it looks like a every day rat rod. But I really love that rod I would love to have it of my own