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Hot Rod era|
The Hot Rod era extended from 1945 to the beginning of the muscle car era (about 1965), reaching its height in about 1955. During this time, there was an adequate supply of what hot rodders called "vintage tin" -- junk cars manufactured prior to 1942 that could be had cheaply. Many of these had sound bodies and frames and had been junked for mechanical reasons, since the running gear of early cars was not durable.
The typical hot rod was heavily modified, particularly through replacement of the engine and transmission, and possibly other components including brakes and steering. Certain engines, such as the flathead Ford V8 and the small block Chevrolet V8 were particularly sought after as replacements, because of their compact size, ready availability, and power.
Construction of a hot rod required skill with mechanical work, welding, and automotive paint and body work.
The "classic era" of hot rod construction ended around 1965, in part because the supply of vintage tin had dwindled, but mostly because new cars were equipped for greater speed and power directly from the factory with little or no modification required.
There is still a vibrant Hot Rod culture in North America, especially on the West coast. Hot rod builders such as Jesse James, who is also famous for his motorcycle modifications (choppers), have swept through popular culture like wildfire. The Discovery Channel airs several shows dealing with modern interpretations of kustom kulture such as Monster Garage, American Hot Rod, and The Kustomizer.
Juxtapoz Magazine, founded by the remarkable artist Robert Williams, has thrived in recent years as the latest and greatest extrapolation of kustom kulture art. It has also begun to garner respect as one of the world's best exhibitors of exceptional contemporary artistic talent that transcends kustom kulture's bounds.
The culture is still going strong in Sweden where there are a lot of automobile enthusiasts, also known as raggare. Clubs such as Wheels and Wings in Varberg, Sweden have established themselves in Swedish Hot Rod culture.