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VHRA
Membership

Membership of the VHRA is governed by a few simple rules which are outlined below.

 

1. Ownership of a traditional style hot rod or custom is required. Traditional is defined as build styles and practices ranging from the 1910s to the early 1960s. Projects are acceptable but must fall within the rules of the association.

 

2. All cars must be of US manufacture prior to 1949. Replica or non-US counterparts are acceptable.

 

3. All cars should contain a genuine major component of pre 1949 manufacture. Recognised components are: body, chassis or engine. Ford flatheads of later manufacture are acceptable. 

 

4. Non-original independent front ends, disc brakes, coilover shocks, air bags, rack & pinion steering and/or radial tyres are not acceptable. Cars must contain a good proportion of old parts in their construction.

 

If you’re still not sure, we’ve explained it in a little more detail below

Annual Membership* for 2023/24 is just £25 including postage in the UK, whilst outside the UK there's an additional £2 shipping. That price includes our exclusive VHRA Member's Only Plug Gapper. Once you are a member we can also offer you the following:

The opportunity to compete at the Hot Rod Races on Pendine Sands

The chance to take part in Throttle Auto Races at Bicester Heritage

 

Discounted entry to the VHRA Swap Meet

 

Preferential entry to other events, sometimes even free!

Members only merchandise - including T shirts, tag toppers, kit bags and more

 

A pool of specialist vehicle insurers - plus approved insurance valuations for VHRA cars

 

Dating Letters for DVLA registration applications from £30

 

Engine Age Statements for IVA inspections from £30

Free Car For Sale ads on the VHRA website and social media (private sales only)

Still interested? Then complete a Membership Form and send us a few pictures of your hot rod or custom. Once we’ve confirmed your vehicles eligibility, we’ll let you know how to make payment. Please be sure your vehicle is eligible as we may not enter into correspondence for invalid applications. To renew an existing membership, hit the renewal button.

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*Membership runs for 12 months from the date of sign up. If you sell your car whilst you are a member, this does not mean membership ends. Once you are a member, and if membership is maintained without a break, you can remain a member whilst you are between cars. If membership is allowed to lapse, then you have to wait till you get another eligible car before being able to rejoin. If your membership lapses and renewal is made within 12 months, it will run consecutively from the date shown on your membership card. We cannot guarantee annual gift will be available for late renewals, so a substitution may be offered. Joint membership on one vehicle and family memberships are not available.

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Rules is Rules

1. Ownership of a traditional style hot rod or custom is required. Traditional is defined as build styles and practices ranging from the 1910s to the early 1960s. Projects are acceptable but must fall within the rules of the association.

 

So what is traditional? This is an argument that could run for years. For the purpose of the VHRA we are starting from the days of the Model T’s on the dirt tracks. Open wheel speedsters and stripped down hop ups from that era are welcome, cars that look like they were made for racing in the teens and twenties. We then move on to the thirties and forties, with cars that could be refugees from the dry lakes, when four bangers and flathead V8s ruled, as well as the early custom car scene. This then takes us into the drag cars and Bonneville racers of the fifties’s and very early sixties, as well as their street going counterparts that were running OHV V8s. We not going into the sixties show car scene, but early style gassers, built in an era correct way are welcome. Not only does this mean in style but also in practice, which means for the most part the car must be built in a way that they would have been in the day, using a good helping of parts that would have been available at the time. Simply fitting a later, out of era engine into an old car won't gain you membership unless it is backed up by period detailing on the engine, or further traditional modifications elsewhere. We do accept projects as part of the joining criteria, but they must display that they are going in the right direction, with all the major components in place and sitting on all four wheels and tyres. We do not accept applications for cars that are in a close to stock configuration, we must see that the car is modified and on its way to becoming a hot rod, with more than just a few bolt on or off modifications. A final note on ownership, we do not accept applications with cars that are for sale at the point of applying, your intention must be to keep the car.

2. All cars must be of US manufacture prior to 1949. Replica or non-US counterparts are acceptable.

 

The US manufacture before 1949 is the easy bit, except that it doesn’t include 1949 models. By pre-49 it means up to 1948 and no later as we do not include continuation models, so if you have a custom 1949 F1, we’re sorry to say it won’t make the cut. As for replicas, we do accept aftermarket reproduction bodies in fibreglass or steel, but in that instance rule number 3 must be particularly adhered too, as it should be for all membership applications. And counterparts? That means things like European/Canadian/Australian assembled Ford Model A’s and T’s. It would also include pre-war Ford V8’s oddballs such as the Model 62, but Ford Pilots and Allards are considered a step too far from their US counterparts and do not meet the criteria for joining. European vehicles, such as Populars, Cs, Ys, Sevens, Topolinos and Bantams don’t make the grade either, regardless of when or where they were assembled, as they do not have American roots. This also includes the use of running gear and rolling stock from these cars, or using the body atop a VHRA eligible frame. This rule also extends to drop tanks manufactured post-1948.

 

3. All cars should contain a genuine major component of pre 1949 manufacture. Recognised components are: body, chassis or engine. Ford flatheads of later manufacture are acceptable. 

 

Each and every car must have either a body, engine or chassis that was originally manufactured prior to 1949 that meets the requirements in rule 2. If you have a replica body and chassis with a late model V8, it’s not going to pass muster. The only exception to this rule is the Ford flathead which continued manufacture in various guises up the the early 1990s. As it is the backbone of the history of hot rodding we have made this sole exception. This rule is often mis-understood for street rods, as they may well have an original body and chassis, but if rule 1 is not adhered to and the car isn’t built in a traditional way, it makes everything from there on in a moot point. We do accept some modern engines but recommend you ask before embarking on a project. Ideally, to the eye they must appear to be old and preferably be of pre-1990 manufacture, unless it is a carry on in the vein of a small block Chevrolet. If you insist on running something like a Pinto, make sure we can’t see it and it doesn’t stick out like a sore thumb. Anything powered by a diesel engine wouldn’t qualify for membership, it’s a step too far away from traditional, same goes for motorcycle engines or anything with one or two cylinders.

 

4. Non-original independent front ends, modern disc brakes, coilover shocks and/or radial tyres are not acceptable. Cars must contain a good proportion of old parts in their construction.

 

Taking the first part of this, we are referring in the most part to modern IFS and/or disc brakes. That means, for example, Cortina, Jaguar or aftermarket suspended with discs. If you own a car that originally had independent suspension, such as GMs from the 1940s, that’s ok. We are also fully aware that a few hot rods ran independent suspension in the 1950’s, Ak Miller’s 1932 ford being one of the most famous with it’s forties Chevy suspension attached to the Ford frame. Bring us a replica of that car and the rules will flex a little, but with modern, by traditional standards, suspension, it’s going to be a no to entry. If you are running an early gasser and it’s built with era correct spot brakes, we’ll take a look, but it does have to be in period and the brakes can’t be hanging out in the wind. A 1940s style Model T running disc brakes and/or coilovers stops being 1940s style as soon as those components are fitted. Whilst we might accept a car running original Kinmont brakes, a So Cal, or similar, hidden disc brake set won’t work for us. For rear suspension, it’s buggy springs for the most part. Factory fitted coils are ok as an alternative, but that’s about it. We also know that radial tyres were available from the 1950s onwards, but the Americans kept going with crossplies in preference to the new fangled tyres. Modern radials are very different to the early ones, so a set of fancy new Pirellis is going to leave you wanting. Whilst we are in this area, wheels should be limited to steels, wires, and at a push, early, original magnesium offerings. Later mass produced alloys from the mid-sixties aren’t suitable for membership. With all cars, we do ask that a good helping of the drivetrain components are of an antique nature, things like buggy springs and old steering boxes. That means vehicles that are clipped, bagged, disc braked, radial tyred, rack & pinion steered, or a combination thereof, are going to come up short for membership, as will those fitted with other forms of underpinnings that are more akin of a street rod. This also extends to any modern parts that spoil the general appearance of the vehicle, such as seating, lights, ornamentation or out of period paint jobs.

 

If your car falls outside these parameters they may be judged on their own individual merit.

 

Own merit is exactly that, but a car does have to have a damn good reason to be let in if it’s breaking the rules. Cars with a long history in the UK traditional scene would be considered. Things such as an old Low Flyer car, still in its original owner’s hands, might cut it, but they would have to look like they currently fit in with the associations rules. They would also have to remain unaltered from their original (modified) specification, unless the change was to bring it the vehicle in line with VHRA rules, such as adding a major component of pre-1949 manufacture. Anything built from small Ford parts or totally non-traditional parts won’t make it, nor is it likely that anything built in more recent years that doesn't meet the rules for joining would be considered.

 

We are aware that there are a couple of cars that show up now and then that are wearing a VHRA tag topper that don’t appear to be eligible. We’re not infallible and we rely a great deal on people’s integrity when they sign up the the association. Sometimes ownership of a new car means that a tag will be affixed that perhaps shouldn’t be there. If we spot it, we point it out, but we can’t police all the cars all the time. 

 

We know it isn’t 1954 any more and the rules are relaxed enough to take that into consideration. We aren’t looking for period perfect cars, hell we’re not even sure such a thing exists given the nature of how a hot rod evolves, but what we are is a club for old cars, modified using old parts, in an old fashioned way. If you still aren’t sure after this, look at the cars in the thick of the action at Pendine Sands and GOW!. Beam axles, buggy springs, drum brakes, original tin, flatheads, wire wheels, though those clearly aren’t the only combination. The idea is not to think of us as a club that is marque specific like most car clubs are, think of us being aligned with a time and place in history instead. It may sound harsh, but the chances are if you think your car might not fit in, it probably doesn’t.

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