Buy vs Build
A very good way to get into the hobby of Hot Rodding is to buy a hot rod.
For a start you exactly know what your getting for your hard earned dollars up front. You can start driving your hot rod straight away. Theres no waiting for years, waiting for the car to be finished.
You can still have the car inspected, either by the registration authorities or the ASRF Technical Advisory Committee. Plus you can ask around, see what the guy is like who built the car and more importantly who drove the car.
There is still some stigma attached to buying a hot rod. As it will always be referred to as so and so's car. Well there are a couple of easy ways that you can overcome this. A change of wheels is a really good place to start and if you can re-sell the old wheels won't cost a lot either.
Next add some graphics or maybe even flames, or if your budget extends to it, how about a fresh coat of paint?
It's interesting to see lately how many rods are changing States.