Part 1 of 4 – Fiberglass vs Steel Bodies
This wouldn’t have even been an issue among Street Rodders just a few years ago. Original steel bodies were easier to find, and reproduction bodies were still a novelty. Steel was the choice! Times have changed. To drive an original sheet metal car is no longer the norm, but a rare distinction. Reproduction fiberglass bodies have improved in quality and are accepted as valid street rodding material. However there is still something that makes a steel body (even a reproduction) a bragging point in the Street Rod world. Manufacturers promote the advantages of their own products and back up their ideas with valid reasoning. How you choose is a matter of which reasoning best suits your taste and your budget.
One of the biggest things going for steel bodies is the brag factor. There is some measure of pride in being able to say that your rod is the original steel body. Even reproduction steel bodies are sometimes perceived as somehow being more genuine because, like the originals, they are steel.
The fiberglass body industry has had a bad reputation to overcome due to poor quality. Fiberglass reproductions were once regarded as low-quality knock-offs or as kit cars. Unfortunately, some still may be, but for the most part, bodies from the leading manufacturers are first-class products and offer a good alternative to original or reproduction steel bodies.
In many cases, today’s high-quality fiberglass bodies are better than originals, due to the ability of modern manufacturers to correct potential original engineering flaws. Also, the quality of many bodies makes them virtually indistinguishable from steel cars. Shop carefully and with an open mind. Using fiberglass can be a smart way to achieve your goal of driving a street rod.