Hot rods are typically American cars with large engines modified for linear speed. The origin of the term “hot rod” is unclear. One explanation is that the term is a contraction of “hot roadster,” meaning a roadster that was modified for speed. Another possible origin includes modifications to or replacement of the camshaft(s), sometimes known as a “stick” or “rod”. A camshaft designed to produce more power is sometimes called a “hot stick” or a “hot rod”. Roadsters were the cars of choice because they were light. The term became commonplace in the 1930s or 1940s as the name of a car that had been “hopped up” by modifying the engine in various ways to achieve higher performance.
The term can also apply to other items that are “souped up” for a particular purpose, such as “hot-rodded amplifier”.
The FMR Tg500 was a sports car built by Fahrzeug- und Maschinenbau GmbH, Regensburg (FMR) from 1958 to 1961. Based on the monocoque of the Messerschmitt KR200 three-wheeled car, it was a four-wheeled car with a two-stroke straight-two engine. FMR had taken over production of the KR200 from Messerschmitt in 1956. While the KR200 still used the Messerschmitt name and logo, the Tg500 was badged as a FMR.
“Tg” unofficially stood for Tiger. The “Tiger” name was claimed in Germany by Krupp who used it for a truck. (They had also made the better known Tiger tank). There were also a Panhard Dyna Z Tiger at the same time.
The Volkswagen Karmann Ghia is a 2+2 coupe and convertible marketed from 1955 to 1974 by Volkswagen – combining the chassis and mechanics of the Type 1 (Beetle), styling by Luigi Segre of the Italian carrozzeria Ghia, and hand-built bodywork by German coach-builder Karmann.
The Karmann Ghia was internally designated the Type 14. Volkswagen later introduced a variant in 1961, the Type 34 – featuring angular bodywork and based on the newly introduced Type 3 platform.
Production doubled soon after its introduction, becoming the car most-imported into the U.S. American industrial designer Walter Dorwin Teague selected the Type 14 for his list of the world’s most beautifully designed products.
Over 445,000 Karmann Ghias were produced in Germany over the car’s production life – not including the Type 34 variant. Karmann Brazil produced 41,600 cars locally for South America between 1962 and 1975.