Radical Rat Rod Revealed; Really

If you are into Rat Rods, if you are building one or have photos of one you think is really wild send the info into us. We will give you credit and post it on the site. If you are own one or are building one and we like it we want to feature it here on our site. Leave a comment below or send a private email from our Contact page.

The Radical Rat Rod has been sold and has a new owner! There are some exciting new changes being planned for the car. We will try to keep you up to date on any major modifications. Here are the very first photos of the changes being made to this Radical Rat Rod; new engine and transmission, pin stripes, some minor body modifications and OLD SCHOOL TIRES AND WHEELS. Keep checking back and we will have the complete coverage of this revised devil in steel.

Click Here to see who the new owner is! HINT; it has PTR Kustoms printed over the windshield.

Here are some new updated photos of the Paul Tracy Rat Rod.


Check out the “trap door” roof modification as well as those wild pipes.


Changes to the cooling system radiator in the rear continue.


Very unique bumper and how about the spider and its web?

The following photos are prior modifications by PT.

Rat Rod

If you haven’t figured it out yet, the “Rat” is now the proud possession of Paul Tracy, yep that Paul, PT. Indy Car driver and all around controversial racer.

Rat Rod

You will note the new tires and wheels as well as the big new power house up front.

Rat Rod

Rat Rod

Rat Rod

Pin stripes and the number “3” have been added to the side. I asked PT if he was taking the Rat to Indy this year and he said YES. If you are in or around Indy during May of this year look out for this wild ride.

Rat Rod

This is not PT! You will also note that the rear grill has been modified.


Prior to being purchased by Paul Tracy, this Rat belonged to Jamie Land and Kelly Smotherman. Jamie made a lot of mechanical improvements to the car over what the original builder had constructed.


Radical Rat RodYou saw this Rat Rod in our coverage of the Nashville GoodGuys show and wanted more so we went out and got more. I spent quite a bit of time with its owner, James Land and came away very impressed with how wicked this car really is. Don’t get me wrong, I am not spry enough to double up into a ball and get into the car nor do I have the guts to take it out on the interstate and drive it either. However, James and his girlfriend and co-owner, Kelli Smotherman, neither share my short comings and drive one of America’s most radical rat rods regularly. Take a look at the detailed photos below and then read some comments from Kelli as well as some technical notes about this wild ride at the bottom of this page. There is also a VIDEO at the bottom of the page.

Radical Rat Rod

You know how low this car is. How do you get in and out? You better be young and limber!

Radical Rat Rod

You have seen waist high, how about bar stool high!

Radical Rat Rod

Radical Rat Rod

Check out where the outside rear view mirror is located.

Radical Rat Rod

Radical Rat Rod

Radical Rat Rod

This is looking through the passenger side window, the front one.

Radical Rat Rod

Radical Rat Rod

Radical Rat Rod

Here he comes!

Radical Rat Rod

There he is! Kids, don’t try this at home. Note the steering wheel on the ground to ease exit.

Radical Rat Rod

A rat just escaped from the junk pile!

Radical Rat Rod

Radical Rat Rod

Radical Rat Rod

Radical Rat Rod

Radical Rat Rod

Radical Rat Rod

Radical Rat Rod

Radical Rat Rod

This is the front of the motor under the grill shell, look closely and you will see the plumbing for the front air bag for the front axle.

Radical Rat Rod

Radical Rat Rod

Radical Rat Rod

Radical Rat Rod

This is the gas cap.

Radical Rat Rod

The top looks like an old dance floor, really cool.

Radical Rat Rod

Radical Rat Rod

Radical Rat Rod

Radical Rat Rod

Radical Rat Rod

Radical Rat Rod

Radical Rat Rod

Radical Rat Rod

Here the Rat is sitting next to a slightly lowered 1959 El Camino. The Rat looks like a go-cart!

Radical Rat Rod

This is the underside from the rear. You can see the battery, radiator hoses running to the rear, some suspension and rear-end.

Radical Rat Rod

This is not what antique car guys mean when they talk about Brass Cars.

Radical Rat Rod

What to drive it? This is what you see! Note the El Camino parked beside it.

Radical Rat Rod

How small does it look next to a pickup? You decide.

The following is just a summary of the modifications made to this vehicle. In addition, the radiator is in the back behind the seat; the doors are mounted suicide style, the brakes are drum, there is no glass other than the windshield which is Plexiglas, the roof insert is wood; the interior is strictly a two seater with a lay down low Indy Car style driving position. The steering wheel is quick release to ease entry and exit. The outside rear-view mirror is mounted on the B pillar behind the door so the driver who is now in the back seat location has some marginal rear vision. ITS WILD!

Owner: James Land and Kelli Smotherman, Franklin, TN

Photo Date: July 30, 2008 Engine: 307 Cube In. Pontiac Intake Manifold:Edelbrock Carb: Holley 750 Distributor: HEI Headers: Home Made Mufflers: Motorcycle Transmission: 5-Speed Manual; Borg Warner Differential: Chevy 10 bolt Wheels:Boyd Coddignton Shadow, Aluminum Size: 20″ Front; 22″ Rear Steering Wheel: Go-Cart Interior: Brass Body: 1930 Ford 2 door sedan Color: Rust and Dents Modifications (short list): -Roof chopped, body sectioned, 37 Ford Grille -Suspension; Front: Wishbones Ford truck I Beam axle with single air bag -Rear: 4-Link with dual air bags

My name is Kelli Smotherman; I am the other owner of the rat rod with Jamie Land.

I’m not sure where to begin with baby rat. Yes, we refer to the car as baby rat. We also have another rat rod that is not as radical but just as fun to drive. The first rat rod is about 41″ tall and this one is just 34″ tall, so we refer to the first one as Papa rat and this one as Baby rat. So the story goes that we found the car on the Internet with a link to a video of the car. Once Jamie watched the video it was over, I called and a deal was made. The car was in Phoenix, Arizona and we made arrangements to have it transported in time for Good Guys Nashville. It was close; we got her the day before Good Guys. She has some “issues” when we got her. The first time Jamie went to take me for a ride in her, smoke filled the inside of the car and we were scrambling for a fire extinguisher to put out the fire that had started near the battery. Needless to say, she got completely re-wired that night. The nubs were still on the tires since it was mainly built to be a show car but Jamie recognized the potential for it to be able to be enjoyed on the open road as well. Jamie has gone and given her almost a complete overhaul underneath. The headers leaked and after looking at a way too many on the Internet and in catalogs, he decided that he would build just custom build a pair. 1 1/2 inch tubing, motorcycle baffles, flat black exhaust paint and baby rat now had non-leaking custom made headers. The baffles lasted for a little while, but the 307 slung them out after a bit. You can hear us before you see us. The radiator and electric fan are located in the rear of the car but because the entire interior of the car is brass, it gets hot in there…quick. Jamie kept the radiator in the rear but moved it to the center and welded in a louvered panel to help the air flow through the car to keep it a little cooler in the interior. He also reconfigured all of the radiator plumbing to clean up the looks underneath the car. The homemade gas tank that was in her leaked so new ones were made, out of old fire extinguishers. They are mounted in each corner in the rear and are connected by steel braided fuel line. The car is on air bags but the original compressor was wore out and wouldn’t hold pressure for very long so a new Viair 480c compressor was installed and now raises up and down with ease. A little tuning on the carburetor, and she runs like a champ! She is a blast to both drive and ride in. We are never short of looks, questions and comments when we take her out. My favorites are, what color are you going to paint it and how do you drive it(Jamie always tells people you start by opening the door, get in, start the motor….)? stuff0153-small.jpg

This is Papa Rat with its proud parents.


If you liked this, check out our other Rat Rod Page, Click Here.

Comments (30)

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  1. Steamloco says:

    That is by far the coolest thing I’ve seen on four wheels! Truly inspired work. The wood roof is particularly nice.

  2. Boone says:

    Unreal fabrication work. Ideas,Ideas,Ideas. Makes one want to get off the couch and back out to the garage.Thanks for hard work and for sharing your creation.

  3. Duane says:

    After seeing your rat on Powerblock I had to see more of it ! I couldn’t belive how freaking cool it is. I have been trying to get some ideas for a rat and what you have come up with is incredible ! Lower than low and cartoon like, can’t beat it ! Great Job and thanks for the ideas!

  4. Tony Pendergrass says:

    The sickest Rat I’m so inspired nice fab work sweet!

  5. Micah Dotson says:

    hey man that is the coolest rat rod I have ever seen. My dad and I are in the motorcycle biz and its not doing to well, so we desided to build a few rat rods. A guy right down the road is building a 1949 f1 ford we chopped it 7 1/2 inches. Were building a 1957 International, we chopped it 7 inches and raked it its got a custom bill over the winshield hand rolled on an english wheel. Its on the ltcustoms.com website. Your ride looks awsome!

  6. jay says:

    hey man…. bad ass ride…. i watched this thing on ebay every day and hoped it would go to someone who would drive it…. very nice modifications to the original setup…. im building a dodge similar to this, but got a long way to go! air bags are nice…. what is the chop on this car,looks like 6 or 7 inches…… drop me a line, id like some more pics if you have some…. later

  7. Jim says:

    Ive never owned an old rod. THIS is one bad ass ride that raises the bar in creativity! Very NICE!! You will never be able to drive this bad boy and NOT elicit positive comments!!

    Seeing this rod sure make me want to get into one.

    Thanks for posting! Great story AND outstanding work!



  8. Tyson says:

    I really wish that the praises and appreciation of this beautiful machine would be going to the original builder and not the purchaser of the car. I watched this car as well be auctioned on eBay and communicated with the builder quite extensively. Congratulations on your purchase and once again it is a beautiful car, but try to give the majority of the build talent and design to whom it is owed. That is what Rat’s are all about, each person’s unique touch and you have placed yours on this car, but I don’t see you representing the “builder” of the car. I am sorry dwell on this, but it upsets me when people buy something and say they built it. Kind of a lame way to make an impact in the scene. I have built my own cars to my own specs and do nothing but appreciate others cars. So with that said…enjoy your ride man!

  9. rfleener says:

    Tyson, thank you for your comments regarding the owner of this Rat Rod. I agree the builder is important but few cars are actually built by just one person or shop. In this case, I don’t know anything about the original builder but do know the Jamie has done considerable work on the car since purchasing it. The car is considerably more rod worthy than when Jamie purchased the car. A lot of the cars we admire are the product of many individuals. The guy or gal who owns the car and drives it is the person we want to cover on this site.

    Wipe it down, fire it up and hit the road!

  10. paul says:

    would you sell the car , im very interested.

  11. jeff miller says:

    I am good friends with the builder brent hollaway in denver colorado even in denver he didn’t get credit. I have riden in it !fun but limited vision to say the least it turns heads the car didn’t have any real road time to fix some of it’s problems before it was sold (went to phoenix first interesting story on the buyer) to finance a new project .has had people who want him to build a simular car to the cockroach we are currently building trucks for goodguys colorado show great faber and not afraid to cut one up it seems buyers get the glory before the biulder iI do like the changes and see someone driving it rat on!

  12. Todd says:

    Now that’s a crapwagon.

  13. rfleener says:

    One man’s “crap” is another man’s treasure and that is what keeps us from all owning and building the same car. I, for one, love variety and appreciate almost all vehicles. I have been up close and personal with this vehicle and although it certainly isn’t anything you are going to drive for any distance I do like it a lot.

  14. Carl S. says:

    This great works reminded me of a high school chum who, in 1956 and 7, built a pretty radical 1/4 miler. It was a 32 Ford two door, chopped and channeled and the flathead was located in the general vicinity of the front seat. John sat over the differential (with scatter-shield). For it’s day and for a teenager to do such incredible work made me green with envy.

    I remember that he used two ’40 Ford hoods (with one inverted) as the nose. He painted it yellow with red-orange flames. It was very successfully campaigned in the Medford Oregon vicinity. I don’t know it’s where-abouts, now 52 years ago, but I did keep a cherished photo.

    John was one of those incredible guys who could envision things in three dimensions and to scale. He would be right at home, building something similar to this unique and innovative ride.

  15. john swann says:

    cool ,very cool

  16. BOB says:


  17. Roy Stewart says:

    A mate encoraged me to check out this website, nice post, fascinating read… keep up the nice work!

  18. Joseph says:

    I saw this back when it was in Nashville at Goodguys. I actually have pictures of how it used to look. It was cool then but now it’s wicked!!!

  19. Jeremy says:

    I got to see this at Viva Las Vegas Car Show this past weekend. I love it.

  20. rabbit says:

    thoes wheels ruin it … shame

  21. blake says:

    this is THE most badazz rat i have ever seen and i cant stop looking at it…kudos, its amazing.

  22. chuck says:

    the most incredible rat ive seen , id love to have it in my shop … guess ill build one , be wrong to buy it

  23. James says:

    this is the best lookin car ive EVER seen

  24. goat says:

    this car has been sold and on to new owner. we had fun working and doing little touches on the car at performance motorsports las vegas nv

  25. goat says:

    i just want eveyone to know that paul never claimed to build the car he loved it and to drive it and now he dont have time to drive it anymore he gave it up for the new owner to put his touches on it and have fun with it.

  26. Jamee says:

    I’m so in love with this car. It’s my dream car. I’ve looked at photos of it, as many as I could find all over online. I would give anything to own it…

  27. Eric says:

    Great car. I bought it from Paul and brought it to AZ and drove the shit out of it.Everywhere I went got lots of looks. I broke done a shit load but was worth every time sitting on the side of the street.Ive sold it since to a friend that drives it once in awhile.Im going to biuld one kinda off the same look but better quality and a driver. Did I say it will be chopped even lower…. Stay tuned!

  28. Richard says:

    Eric, if you have any photos of the Rat when you owned it I would love to post those along with these! I would also be interested in your new build and tracking it for the web site. Just contact me at rfleener@comcast.net for details.

  29. Nate says:

    Rat Rods & Zombie-Hunter Cars & Trucks Needed

    Hey guys! I’m the organizer of the Havasu Zombie Pub Crawl – I’m looking for Rat Rods and/or Zombie-Hunter cars & trucks to participate in our event – Lake Havasu City, AZ, Fri Oct 12th, the Second Annual Havasu Zombie Pub Crawl.



    This is a request for assistance in getting the attention of Rat Rod and/or Zombie-Hunter car & truck owners. My goal is to get as many owners as possible interested in participating. It’s FREE, the cars will get a lot of attention and end up in a ton of pictures – including zombie photo contests – and it’s FUN!

    Lake Havasu City, Arizona is a hot bed of Hot Rods, we have weekly Hot Rod events: Cruise Nights on McCulloch (Main St) every Thur night, Relics & Rods Cruise-in at Wienerschnitzel – plus Run To The Sun, Rockabilly Reunion, etc. – you can view these events in the official Havasu events calendar, which our zombie event is in as well.


    So, sticking with Havasu’s famous hot rod tradition, my thought is that having Rat Rods – anything zombie-genre – would help bring attention to our zombie walk event, and in turn would be an excellent opportunity for some great Rat Rod exposure, as there will be a ton of picture taking going on. It’s a WIN WIN.

    Last year was out first zombie walk event, starting with 23 fans on Facebook we had 100-150 zombies. Word of the fun spread quick, and now this year we have 316 fans on Facebook (as I type this), and the pubs are buzzing about it. Point being that this could turn into a huge regular event (that’s my goal), and I’d really, REALLY love to get the Rat Rods involved (I’m a huge fan).

    We do already have a couple Rat Rod owners that have already responded and committed, btw, one of whom is the famous Steve Darnell of Welder Up Rat Rods. Yes!

    The event is mainly about zombies, of course, but including the Rat Rods would really spruce things up, and might eventually mutate into a serious Rat Rod & Zombie-Hunter car event – knock wood.

    So, if you can possibly provide any assistance in getting this request out to Rat Rod owners, I’d be greatly appreciative. I can be messaged from the Havasu Zombie Pub Crawl page (link above), or at this email address:


    Thank you so much.


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