CC Outtake: Downtown St. Paul Has a Rat Problem

When the snow begins to melt in St. Paul, all manner of discarded and forgotten things emerge from the snow drifts along the curb. Flattened plastic soda bottles, stiff single gutter gloves and mangled sunglasses are typical artifacts one might note on a late March midnight stroll downtown. This fat fendered rat was anything but typical and a delightful surprise.

This rat-rod is based on Chevrolet’s 1947-1955 Advance-Design Pickup. It’s hard to pinpoint a particular year, as a rat-rod almost by definition is an amalgam of leftover parts most restorers would have left in the creek bed, but it looks closest to a 1950 as it has vent windows, fuel cap in the passenger side of the cab, a driver’s side cowl vent and the early grille. The rest of the truck is a mish mosh of eras and parts sources. It had no bed floor at all, which revealed a completely custom frame showing off a 3rd gen Corvette IRS retrofitted with a modern airbag setup. I didn’t get a look under the hood but if there was anything but a 350 Chevy under there, I would be surprised.

I know readers of this site are often flustered by the notion of a customized car. Even within the custom car community faux-patina is a subject likely to rile mildly tempered people to violent protest but I think it deserves a spot here. I came about this truck not at a car show, meetup or even a nice warm summer afternoon. This was March, in downtown St. Paul around midnight with the temps barely above 40 and patches of snowdrift still lingering. This was just a guy probably meeting up with his buddies for a beer and this happened to be his ride that night. If I saw it at a hotrod show I probably wouldn’t give it a second glance but in a gray sea of contemporary Toyotas and Kias this was an appreciable departure from the norm. I for one welcome more rats in the city.