Mahtowa, MN (Northland's NewsCenter)
Rat Rods are flaming hot right now.
Perhaps because of the lingering recession, hot rods built from ratty looking rusty parts are all the rage.
It also might be because there are no rules to building a rat rod.
"That's right. It's what you prefer. Everybody has their own. It's unique." said Ryan Sunny.
This gathering of rust colored cars is the annual Rat Rod Rendezvous held in Mahtowa at TJ's Country Store.
Ryan Sunny of Grand Rapids rolled down in a lowered 37 Chevy truck.
Peder Barsness of Bovey made the scene in an early 20's Essex coupe.
He says part of the fun is getting creative with a car's accessories.
"It's got a toaster for a glove compartment. It's got a cam for a spreader bar and connecting rods are my shock towers." said Barsness.
Another part of the rendezvous' fun is catching up with old friends and swapping stories.
Dressing up is catching on, too.
These women are portraying 50's era pin ups.
The age of Fonzie forms the basis of Rat Rod culture.
"Because it's more of a 50's style. It's not muscle cars and we're not going into the 70's and fast cars. Well, they are fast..." said Julie Crandall of Cloquet.
"My rat rod project is about 99% finished and should be at next year's rendezvous. Looks like I built it just in time because with the popularity of the hobby increasing, even rusty body fodder is going up in value." said reporter Dave Anderson.
"The stuff that some old guy has on a farm you can buy from him but stuff somebody has already collected and gathered up is getting over priced and they're ruining the sport." said Barsness.
But, to the thousands who turned up in Mahtowa, the sport isn't ruined yet and they'll be back next year with patina laden projects pulled from farm fields and forests.
In Mahtowa, Dave Anderson, the Northland's News Center.