There is a lot of talk in hot rod circles and online about the pros and cons of using billet aluminum, often
called billet parts, or just billet. Between street rod and traditional rod or rat rod builders, a huge controversy
exists over the use of this product.
Billet aluminum parts brighten up many beautiful street rods and elegant show cars. A street rods is an art
form, an expression of its owner's personality. Why not incorporate billet parts
and create a shiny, polished, look that defines perfection in your eyes?
At the opposite end of the spectrum are traditionalists getting back to hot rodding's roots. Rat rod
owners and traditional rod builders can be found in groups and clubs such as the Kill Billet Club,
with dues of $30 a year. To get the gist, you can read the messages on the Rat Rod Forum at
What Is Billet Aluminum?
"Billet" is the term for a bar of metal. Because of its light weight and relatively low cost (compared with
other light metals such as magnesium and titanium), aluminum works best for cruising car applications.
However, since pure aluminum is a fairly soft metal, the aluminum most billet accessories are machined from is
actually an alloy of aluminum and other metals.
Since billet aluminum parts start their lives as blocks of aluminum, the finished parts must be carved from
these blocks, after expensive computerized design processes and custom-designed cutter tools to carve the part.
Why Use Billet Aluminum?
If billet parts are expensive to produce why not just die-cast the parts?
Die-cast parts are made from aluminum poured into a mold, from which it is difficult to achieve the uniform
structure, strength, and flawless finish found in top-quality billet parts. Billet-look or billet-like parts are
usually cast items dipped in chrome. Sometimes these chromed parts are incorrectly referred to as "billet."
If this shiny, elegant look is what you want, parts made from billet aluminum are the preferred choice.