Revving Up a Rat Rod with HitLights

We’ve seen several pretty interesting uses of HitLights products, but this one is the most creative so far: HitLights fan and friend “Rocket” Reece Reeves lights up his award-winning “rat rod” with over 16,000 LEDs.

How did Reeves get started with rat rods and HitLights? It began with a lawnmower.

Trading Up for a Mercedes-Benz Kit Car

Reeves lives in Weatherford, Texas, where he owns and runs a lawnmower shop. Several years back, he says, a customer asked him if he’d trade a riding lawn mower for a 1929 Mercedes-Benz Gazelle kit car.

Reeves was interested, but there was a problem — the car had been sitting idle for years in a wooded lot. To claim it he would have to cut down several trees just to get to it. He didn’t even know if it would start, but it did.

Still, he didn’t initially know what to do with the car, and it sat idle for about two more years. He says he contemplated selling it several times.

But then a local rat rod build-off caught his eye and inspiration struck. Rat rods are throwbacks to the early hot rods of the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s, but with artistic flair and a creative twist. Think of a rat rod as a piece of rolling art. Every element is selected, fabricated and constructed with a precise purpose.

Reeves finally knew what to do. During research he discovered that unlike other Gazelle kit cars, Reeves’ car had a unique open bed. It was the perfect chassis for a build-off contest. And build he did, welding together a 1974 Mustang 2 and a 1985 Ford Ranger V-6. Oh, and he added a pretty sweet stereo system too — 30 speakers, 14 amplifiers and 29,000 watts.

Seeing the LED Light

Reeves didn’t stop there. Two years ago, he says, he attended an evening July Fourth car show. He thought it was pretty boring because viewers couldn’t see any of the cars or artistic details.

He just happened to have a flashlight and decided to place it under the driver’s seat, and all of a sudden the car was illuminated.

Reeves, who says “I don’t do boring,” was struck again with inspiration: He decided to add more lights to his car. At first he bought LED lights through multiple manufacturers, which were buying from other manufacturers themselves.

But then a light broke and he discovered HitLights was the source manufacturer. He started buying direct from HitLights and hasn’t turned back. Reeves says the reliability of HitLights is top-notch. He’s definitely put the lights to the test through all kinds of weather and wear and tear as he drives his rat rod across the country to various build-offs and charitable events.

Reeves is up to 16,000 LED lights on his car now, including:

  • Remote controlled lights that change from red to green illuminate the bottom of the car.
  • Five 16-foot LED light strips that fit perfectly in small spaces at the rear of the rat rod, where he doesn’t have to worry about the lights getting too hot.
  • Red and white multi-color pod lights that illuminate the interior.

The lights definitely draw attention. Based on his quality construction, craftsmanship and creativity, Reeves’ car placed in the top nine for his class at one of the largest rat rod events.

He says he’s had so much fun and positive attention from the car that he has placed 16-foot color LED light strips in Rattus, another one of his vehicles. For this one he used a plasma cutter to make tiny star-shaped cutouts in the vehicle body so all the LED lights twinkle like stars.

Reeves is also working on a “top secret” rat rod truck that will include HitLights’ brand-new Dreaming LED Light Strips. He’s hoping his designs and plans will get him into the big build-off at the Specialty Equipment Market Association Show.

Taking the Rat Rod on the Road

Building and maintaining his rat rod isn’t just a hobby for Reeves.

Like Rudolph leading the way for Santa on Christmas Eve, his original rat rod is often the lead car in touring groups on the road to raise money for Christmas for Kids. The car is a bright beacon to draw attention and support for this worthwhile charity.

Who would’ve thought all of this could start with a lawnmower? We love Reeves’ creativity and imagination as a great example of the infinite flexibility and design applications of LED light strips to create a beautiful work of art!

Looking for advice on how to incorporate HitLights into your next project? Contact HitLights for helpful tips.

About HitLights

HitLights delivers LED lighting solutions for event exhibits, displays, signs, theater and film productions, and manufacturing. CEO Bin Yu formed the company through the Louisiana State University Business Incubator Program in 2010. Since then HitLights has grown to become a major player the LED industry. Customers come to HitLights for quality products, helpful customer service and creative solutions.

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