Hood Rat

Hood Rat

What started out as a basket case of a 1950 Chevy Coupe is now Steve Ottens’ historically built gasser and pieced together over about five or six years.

One day a friend of his phoned him up and said “I’ve a got a project for you!” Steve was hesitant knowing that he didn’t really need another project but when he said two hundred bucks, the need was suddenly realized. Having just recently sold a car, Steve quickly got to ordering metal. Ordering metal because the body was rusty throughout including rockers, floors, mounts, quarters, trunk, you name it.

It may not look the part but that’s just on purpose the body of the car was put on a rotisserie. With all the bad metal replaced. The car was green from the factory but had been resprayed a baby blue with a lot of other colors sprayed over that yet. Steve loved the blue but had to spend hours in the evenings wet sanding the car down of all the other colors to bring the blue back out and give it its unique patina paint.

Steve really wanted to bring this car back to the sixties, and was hugely inspired by the gasser drag racing movement of that Era. So the goal was to create a period correct gasser from the sixties that looked like it had been pulled out of barn. Utilizing his connections with his clients and his friends, he was able to track down a lot of cool and unique period correct parts.

Some of the cool modifications to the car include an Olds/ Pontiac 9.3 inch rear end, and a Super T-10 4 Speed transmission. The engine is pictured with a SBC Chevy but has a built 327 bored .30 over to get a 331 cubic inch motor, hence the lettering on the side. In traditional gasser fashion, the actual engine size would be divided by the weight of the car and you would be placed in a class according the results. This is why you see the C/G also on the back of the car.

The front axle is out of a 1950’s Chevy Truck and surprisingly the springs and perches lined up and all that was needed was an extension on the front of the frame of 3”.

With the theme to the car being an early 60’s gasser, the build also has vintage Stahl headers, a used period correct NHRA style Scatter Shield bell housing, and some other features including vintage gauges and a hood scoop from a 53-56 Ford 2 ton truck.

The name “Hood Rat” is in memory of Steve’s good friend Al. A small group of friends, including Steve, that weren’t associated with any club wanted to band together with a plaque for their cars. An old skateboard nearby had “Hood Rat” on it and they considered their area of town “the hood” so it seemed like a good fit. They still don’t consider themselves a car club, but a group of friends and they have grown to a group of around 20.

Steve himself is owner and operator of Old Iron Kustoms here in Alberta and is well known for his interior upholstery work. You have seen a lot of his work already in the magazine and I’m sure you will continue to see more as we feature more.

No stranger to interior work, Steve built himself a classic style interior including black diamond stitch and white piping, and even included a cool vintage turquoise transparent floor mat from a 1950’s Oldsmobile that he found at the Red Deer Swap Meet.

When Steve is not working on interiors, he is busy working on his next project, a model T traditional style hotrod with a 5.25 inch chop on the roof and a ‘31 Pontiac dash.

You see this gasser run drive and meet Steve on our YouTube Channel where we featured his car last year as well.


Article by Brian Holzli

Photos by Brian Holzli (Cruise Culture Magazine)


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