From a report at the link below:
The history of “modern day” rat rodding really began back in the late 1980s.
The late ’80s was a crazy time when Guns ‘N Roses, Hair Metal, U2, and Michael Jackson were playing on the radio, a time when Vin Scully was calling baseball games on Saturday nights, a time when John Elway, Dan Marino, and Joe Montana were dominating the NFL as the best quarterbacks in history while former quarterback Dan Pastorini was racing Top Fuel against Don Garlits.
Yeah, there was a lot going on, and back in 1987 the hot rod world was dominated by a trend that was known as Pro Street.
But the Pro Street cars were trailered to shows and never driven on the street.
That’s when Jim “Jake” Jacobs, from Pete & Jakes Hot Rods, took a bunch of old parts and made a car. He used a ’32 Ford Frame, a ’28 Ford two door sedan body and built a hot rod “tub.”
The car was nicknamed the Jakelopy and was probably the first Rat Rod. Word has it that he hand painted it with a brush at a car show. Spectators were said to have grabbed brushes and helped him paint the car red.
Later the Jakelopy was turned into the Jakecoupage after dozens of paper posters were randomly glued to the car as shown in the second photo above.