Building on a Budget
You can build a hot rod to a budget, but their will usually have to be some compromises along the way.
Unfortunately not all of us have a garage full of mint parts collected over the years that we can just pull down a build a rod from. This makes for great magazine stories, but in reality it's just not gunna happen for the newest member to the clan.
You will need to have saved a reasonable amount of money to get started, as your first purchase will be one of the most expensive, the the car itself. Actually if you look at each of the steps, they will probably end up costing you between $2,000 and $5,000 per step. Depending upon what you get done and the type of components and accessories you use.
Less is better
A good way that you can build a cheaper car is by selecting a body style that just plain uses less parts! A little hiboy roadster for example, is going to take less to build than a full fendered sedan. But because everything on our little roadster is hanging out it has to be detailed, but if you do it yourself, it needn't cost much more. Plus for that first year you don't really need a roof or that trick tuck and roll upholstered seat. Buy yourself a Mexican rig and through it over those bare springs and just tell every one how cool it looks.
Do it yourself
Being able to make things rather than buy them can save you a considerable amount of money and it can be the smallest of things that add up to a very pretty sum. For instance, making all your own bracket and braces rather than forking out for those pretty billet ones. You can make something that looks just the same, just as good with a little time and effort. Or you can improve on the original and earn your self some bonus points come judging time.
Wheel'n and Deal'n
Another good way to save money on your project is to swap things. Now this can be as simple as one part for another. But could include buying a wreck, you taking what you want, motor, trans, diff, column, booster, shifter and then selling the rest. This will dramatically reduce the cost of the parts you took off the wreck. Or maybe you can swap some of your time or talent in return for some work on your rod. There wouldn't be many bricklaying, plumbing, carpentering rod builders who haven't used this one and it can apply to most professions.
Makes and Models
Start off with a less popular rod. Maybe a less popular body style or make. For instance you could build a 40's Dodge sedan with all Mopar running gear for a lot less then a similar Ford with Chev or Ford power. Just think about it, the original car will cost less, the wreck you buy for all your parts will cost less. Then when your ready to move on the sum will definitely be worth more than all the parts.
All of these things have the same effect they reduce your outlay to get into a Hot Rod. The main aim here being to get your bum into the seat and cruizin.