Flatheads and early hemis have not entirely disappeared, but ready availability, ease of maintenance, and low cost of parts make the Chevrolet V8, in particular the first and third generation small block, the most frequent engine of choice.Once customizing post-war cars caught on, some of the practices were extended to pre-war cars, which would have been called fendered rods, with more body work done on them.Builders may adopt the visual and performance characteristics of some relevant modification styles, and combine these as desired.
A development of hot rodding, the change in name corresponded to the change in the design of the cars being modified.
The first hot rods were pre-World War II cars, with running boards and simple fenders over the wheels.
Painting has become such a part of the custom car scene that now in many custom car competitions, awards for custom paint are as highly sought after as awards for the cars themselves. Once, the flathead, or "flatty", was the preference, supplanted by the early hemi in the 1950s and 1960s.
By the 1970s, the small-block Chevy was the most common option, and since the 1980s, the 350 cu in (5.7 l) Chevy has been almost ubiquitous.
Flame jobs later spread to the hood, encompassing the entire front end, and have progressed from traditional reds and yellows to blues and greens and body-color "ghost" flames.