AUTOS: Hot Rods

"Hot rods," souped-up racers built from jalopies, have been an American phenomenon since the '20s, when used cars first became available in big supply. After World War II, which choked off the sport during gasoline rationing, it came back stronger than ever.

Hot-rod buffs, known as "hop-ups," strip the bodies from junkyard cars, replace them with low-slung, homemade roadster bodies. On the engine they install a high-compression cylinder head, a dual manifold and a special camshaft. After months of work and $800 to $1,200 spent for parts, they have a racer that will turn up 140 h.p., capable of...

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