By on January 22, 2021


hot rod

What pre-war hot rod would you buy given the vast sum of money won in the Powerball jackpot Wednesday night, considering a $250k build is less than one percent of the winnings?


According to USA Today, the $730 million golden ticket came from Coney Market in Lonaconing, Maryland. As the point of sale for the winning ticket, the store will also receive $100,000 from the Maryland Lottery. Maryland law doesn’t require the recipient to identify themselves, so we may never know who that lucky person is. In case you were wondering, the cash-only lump sum payout would be $546 million if you didn’t want to spread it out over your lifetime.

hot rod

While there’s no telling what the winner will do with the spoils, we’re going to assume they like cars and would like to own a truly distinctive ride. Let’s pretend you were that person, and you have your sights set on a pre-war hot rod. What would you buy, or have built for you?

hot rod

[Images: © 2021 J. Sakurai/]


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27 Comments on “QOTD: What Hot Rod Would You Buy with a Lotto Money?...”

  • avatar

    I wouldn’t buy any! I’d spend my money on the biggest, baddest limo around, and hire a driver who lives with his/her family on the back forty in a house I built for them. In fact I would never drive on a public road again. I’d also buy a few porches and go racing around the world for about 5 years straight. Everyone I have known with big, big money never drives themselves on public roads unless absolutely necessary. And of course the limo would be armored, as security would be a major concern. Mo money, mo problems!

    • 0 avatar
      el scotto

      @4onthefloor, Sir in the same vein, my main hot rod would be private time on a leased jet. When the Gulfstream lands; an off duty LEO picking me up in an F-150 Lariat crew cab. Another private jet landing some beach city? Big deal. A Lariat F-150 won’t get that much attention. However, an off duty LEO owing alimony and child support and carrying his badge and piece makes a really handy employee.

  • avatar

    Deuce coupe with a flathead Ford. Maybe go exotic and add an Arden conversion.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    There was a 34 Ford Roadster Leno did a segment on powered by a Duesenberg J motor. I’d like that.

    • 0 avatar

      That Ford chassis had to be stretched quite a bit to take a straight eight.

      But I like the premise. Hot rods were originally cobbled together from the best parts one could find and afford. Until they became collector’s items, Duesenbergs could be found in the back of used car lots for $500, even though that was a bit much for your typical hot rodder.

      Before the small-block Chevy came out, a wide array of engines were used in hot rods, from hopped-up flatheads to the latest Cadillac and Oldsmobile V8’s. Chevy sixes could be upgraded with multi-carb Offenhauser manifolds.

      My cousin built a 1940 Ford roadster with a J-2 Oldsmobile V8. Just to be different, as this was the early 1970’s.

      If funds permitted, that’s probably what I would do.

      Or maybe just a prewar Olds with the same engine or a more recent 455. A prewar Chevy with an LS would be cool too, but the LS is becoming too much of a “me-too” engine like the small-block. However, both engines earned the right to be ubiquitous by being good.

  • avatar

    I would track down the owner of my old friend Keith who built from the ground up a 34 Plymouth coupe and stuffed a then new 60’s 426 Hemi in it. I could have bought it in the early 90’s for $10 grand ( didn’t have the $ then ) a guy out west bought it and claimed he did all the work on it even though he only painted it a different color, it was in 2 popular hot rod magazines one titled ” Hemified ” worth around $100 – $150 today, I still have one of the magazines somewhere.

  • avatar

    I’m not a hotrod guy. I’d build an early 60’s B model Mack 4×4 truck on 2.5 ton portal axles and run 54 inch Michelin military tires.

  • avatar

    I helped a pal make a hot rod in the summer of ’68 in Ottawa. Newly remanufactured Chev 409 and a surprise! cam and a 3 speed truck transmission on a ’34 Ford base.

    Guess what held that tranny up while the owner lined up the clutch pilot shaft? Me and my forearm. Couldn’t stop or I’d have had a crushed arm — torture. Terrifying handling and WAY too much power. After all that work, I only wanted three or four rides because it was dangerous. The 3/4 race cam meant it idled at 1100 rpm and just over 30 mph in high with the ’60 Chevrolet rear axle we somehow bolted on, er, blacksmithed into place with our Mark One welder. The Panhard rod at the rear we had to bend into a half L shape to make it the right length to bolt to the Ford chassis. But, hey, a two pin member structure doesn’t care about the shape between its two pivot points. Twang.

    Just getting under way as gently as possible at a traffic light caused the rear wheels to slip with no weight on them, and 750 pounds of cast iron up front, and it would squirm sideways. Watch out there, ma’am, yeah you in the next lane, give us room! Drum brakes for that special sense of security. Everyone else on the road thought it was cool, though. Goose it and all hell broke loose. First time, giggles. Thereafter, gut-wrenching fear.

    So, winning the lottery, no hot rod for me.

    Who in hell thought up this weird QOTD? A hot rod? Why?

    Oh yeah, he painted it that fall after I went back to college.

  • avatar

    Being a snob I’d probably blow it all on Eurotrash. Maybe a Jag, a Mercedes SL or a Bimmer.

  • avatar

    I would buy my first “dream car” that my neighbor owned, except with a modern engine and drivetrain. A ’68 Charger R/T, in TorRed, or whatever it was called back then, or bright yellow, no vinyl top. Black interior with real leather bucket seats and trim. The powertrain would be a Hellcat Redeye motor and the awesome 8 speed auto. Upgraded brakes and unlike almost all restomod cars out there, some sanely sized FIVE SPOKE wheels and nicely fitted non crazy wide tires. No stripes, no vinyl anything. And the correct, just slightly raised up ass end stance.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    No hot rod unless I could buy the 32 Ford Deuce driven by John Milner in American Grafitti.

    My preference otherwise would be to restomod a Mark IV Pucci Edition.

  • avatar

    Hmmm, if it just has to appear pre war, I’d buy a factory five pickup kit and make it an extended cab so I’d have enough room to be comfortable, and either a 500+ cubic inch Ford big block or a turbo coyote….. and set it up on stupid wide rubber front and rear, so it’d be a crazy hot rod go cart thing.
    Has to be genuine old iron? Some sort of pre war chain drive race car- shifter on the outside of the car and an engine of at least 15L. Just for the sheer craziness of it- that would be a hoot.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Someone has won both lotteries but if I won I would invest most of it. I am not a hot rod guy but I might buy a fully restored 56 Continental Mark II in dark blue. Too me that is one of the most beautiful cars ever made not overly wrought with chrome but understated and minimalist with classic design a car way ahead of its time.

  • avatar

    One of the advantages of being “older”, and an American, is that when someone says “pre-war”, you can ask “whick one?”, or assume one.

    With that loophole, I’m in favor of getting a copy of the favorite of all the cars I owned, a 1968 Mercury Montego MX Brougham. Mine had all the options, but not the original 302 – my mechanic had fitted it with a 1970 351 engine, and sold it to me after taking it away from his son, who blew up the 302.

    There might be a few Montegos still on the road, but it’s the same chassis as the Torino, and Ford cranked those out like pancakes.

  • avatar

    I believe that the correct answer is the Eliminator from the cover of the ZZ Top album.

    …that is, if Billy Gibbons would part with it….

  • avatar
    Polka King

    All those hot rods and kustoms being built today are being built by the most tasteless people ever to walk the earth. But since you asked, Deuce roadster, highboy because I have legs, minimal chrome, like they were. And a ’39 coupe.

  • avatar
    Add Lightness

    Lotus Evija

  • avatar

    Fiat S76 – aka The Beast of Turin.

    Only has a four banger, but it’s naturally aspirated and displaces over 28 liters. That’s not a typo.

  • avatar

    1936 Riley Kestrel with 2JZ power and GS300 drivetrain.

  • avatar

    I’d buy the Niekamp roadster from the Petersen museum. AMBR winner in 1950, dry lakes racer, restored by Jim Jacobs in the early 70’s and driven cross country. I think they’re just keeping it in the basement anyway, so I’d throw my duffel bag in the passenger seat and drive it to Bonneville.

    So when are you going to send me the winning ticket?

  • avatar
    Mike Beranek

    Pre-war? Jeez, way to ruin the fun.
    I’d just buy a Ducey and be done with it. 200hp in the thirties is like a Bugatti today.
    Or maybe an Auburn Speedster with an LS transplant.
    Or a big, huge Packard. With a Ford Triton V10 in it.

  • avatar

    Power Wagon.

    The 851 is a nice car too. Maybe both.

  • avatar

    Would a Duesenberg Model J count as a hot rod, seeing as the bodywork was built to owner preferences? If so, that’s my pick.

  • avatar

    One of my recurring nightmares is to get stuck driving a typical hot rod across more than one state (i.e., great in town, tiresome and vexatious cross country).

    If forced to go ‘pre-war,’ would do a ‘replica’ one of these:

    Replica because the original frame would not be able to handle the copious amounts of torque from the new powertrain (TBD, but no shortage of cylinders and an overabundance of torques).

    Also ‘replica’ because we will not be following the original body lines exactly. In cherry red with huge metalflake.

    First three rows would be flexible passenger seating, 4th row of doors would provide additional access to the immense luggage space.

    MagneRide. Exhaust cutouts [spare me the Interstate droning!]. Hot Licks exhaust (shhhh). Air conditioning.

    Performance preview:

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