Edition 87. Built by Frederik Viljoen
In South Africa, you can’t talk about Rat Rods without the name Frederik (Frikkie) Viljoen coming into the conversation. He is the man behind Rat Rod SA (@RatRodSA). I have been dealing with Rat Rod Magazine (USA) and The International International RATical Rod Build-Off/Drive-off for about 4 years. His builds have featured in magazines like SA HotRods, Speed&Sound, CAR magazine, Popular Mechanics, The Red Bulletin and Wegry. Frikkie is not only making waves in South Africa but all over the world.
Photos and Article by Victor Venter
The Radical Rod Build-off community found out about me through Rat Rod magazine. And at first, wanted me to help them select some of SAs finest car builders. Seeing as we couldn’t figure it out at the time, they selected me to be part of the 2018 build-off.
Frikkie’s goal, ultimately, is to get South African Rat builders and car builders together as a tight community. As well as to create opportunities for them to enter the global Rat Rod industry.
Frikkie’s latest project is a Rat Rod in every form. We take a look at Frikkie’s 1933 Plymouth RAT ROD.
Frikkie said, “My wife Amelia Viljoen wanted her own Rat Rod so the search was on. I found the ’33 Plymouth online and knew that was a project for me”. So we packed the trailer and went to go get it from a farm on the outskirts of Johannesburg. The body wasn’t in too bad condition, but it still needed a lot of work. The ’33 was fairly complete and it was still rolling on its original chassis.
We got it to the shop and the project began. Initially, I had a vague, half-and-half idea about the look I wanted to go for. Then, the further I progressed with the build, the clearer my plan became.
The body was taken off the chassis and the chassis was cleaned and strengthened. The original front solid axle was turned over. Then the diff from a Ford Sierra was mounted in the back. Frikkie decided to use the original drub brakes for the front. The rear diff came with disc brakes which would mean better-stopping power.
Amelia said she didn’t want a loud V8 motor, so Frikkie opted for a Ford V6 motor. This while still running the 4-speed manual box that came with the motor. A build like this has a bit of everything in. Frikkie explained for instance that the steering colum is from a VW. Frikkie also added his own touches. I kept the original radiator in the nose and mounted a new radiator behind it.
On the body, Frikkie and his team sanded and ground the body clean. The interior wood structure was removed and reinforced with steel. However, Frikkie did keep the original wood section on the roof to keep the Ratty look. The floor was rusted away so Frikkie hand-made the floor. The headlights are from a 1929 roadster and the wheels are from a 1941 Plymouth.
For the interior, Frikkie had a plan. He said ” I wanted to create an old-school, hard-core steampunk all-steel feel. I added a personal touch by letting my friends and family write messages on the doors.
With a build like this, the ideas always take shape as you build them. We asked Frikkie if the end result was what he had envisioned? Yes! “I was beyond happy with the outcome. I was relieved that my idea was now tangible and I did it all myself which makes it so personal”
For its first road trip, Frikkie decided to take it to Dust and U in Upington. Seeing that it was the car’s first trip and it was an estimated 2600 km round trip. It was awesome. But like a first build always goes, you build it in the shop and fix it on the road. It wasn’t a bad first-time runner. And remember the owner of the car, my wife Amelia, drove the rat, all by herself the whole trip! That’s why we call it the “mom” of Rat Rod SA.
However, Amelia has decided the V6 has got to go, so Frikkie will be dropping in a V8 in the near future. My next build is for Sema 2018 in Las Vegas and I’m building a South African Safari-themed car. However, it will be bullet fast! Surprise!!!
We cant wait to see the next build so stay tuned to SAHotRods for updates on the build.