Diesel Rat Rod: Blowin’ Smoke

Diesel Powered Hot Rod at Viva Las Vegas


Photos by Swanee
rat rod diesel, rat rods, rat style, Cummins smoke
Diesel Rat Rod blowing pure Cummins smoke!


SEMA 2009 proved to be an extreme mix of automotive genius and variety.  Rat rods are becoming part of that creative pool. Rat rods, in general, are built solely from old parts and pieces that are deliberately left raw and natural.  Additional trinkets are added, leaving their patina to show.  The surge of this style of building is gaining support by a recent article by Car and Driver Magazine.  Check it out: Car and Driver Top 10 Favorites from SEMA

Diesel Dodge rat rod with cheater slicks
1928 Dodge 4 Door Rat Rod


Case in point, is this “Diesel Rat Rod”, a 1928 Dodge 4 door body, rusted and abused beyond restoration, was chopped and channeled onto a hand built frame.  Stepping way out of the box and into the next field, a retired 1998 Dodge pickup donates its motor, a Cummins 12 valve mechanical diesel engine.  The diesel motor produces plenty of horsepower and torque plus gets 20+ MPG.

Super low and wide cummins diesel rat rod

The diesel rod is the imagination of Steve Darnell, owner of a fabrication shop aptly named, WELDERUP. www.welderup.com. Want to see another Diesel Rat Rod From Welderup? This one’s a COE also with Cummins turbo diesel power.



Steve has been around cars all his life. Finding old cars is his reason for living, even better when he can drive the beauty home!  Steve’s daily driver is a 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air, left in its original condition.

rat rod interior, diesel rat rod, rat style, custom gauges
Diesel Rat Rod  Interior – all the gauges


Steve and his crew build rolling works of art.  This diesel rod has so many features that every time you see it, the more it pops.  The trim around the body is a bandsaw blade, a chainsaw blade surrounds the cowl. Brass screen mesh, from a gold mine, has been recycled into interior door panels. The dash is sheet metal from an old piece of farm equipment.  The rear bumper is two pistons from an excavator engine and the steering support is a connecting rod from the same piece of machinery.

White walls, 4 door Dodge sedan hot rod rat
100% Pure Rat Rod!


This entire project, as well as others, is based on the recycling of old parts. Sheetmetal, handles, gears, chains and endless other parts come from salvaging in the backfields of the farm and ranch community.

True rat style diesel exhaust

Steve jumps at any chance to cruise the streets and enjoys all the attention he gets riding in this rat. Burnouts at every stoplight baby!   Fire from the propane injection and smoke bellowing out from the single exhaust pipe.


No trailer queen here, the diesel rod was built to be driven and enjoyed by everyone.

rat rod interior, diesel rat rod, rat style
Another look: Diesel Rat Rod  Interior – who needs a floor?


The diesel rat rod has been featured in a variety of magazines; Diesel World, Diesel Tech, Diesel Power, and Hot Rod. This rod brings the diesel heads together. Rebel Rodz teased the rat rod community and overseas e-magazines like, El Diablo (Spain) by featuring this rat and Mattblackrat (England) http://www.mattblackrat.com/ found the diesel rod to be an interesting ride.

Ratty starter for this hot rod diesel

(This is a picture of the hand crank starter. About half a turn is all you’ll need, believe it or not, to fire this thing up. I watched him do it and couldn’t believe how easy it was.)


What is next?  ENJOY IT!  Welderup is based in Montana but, the crew isn’t scared to drive all over the U.S…  Be on the lookout as the “show” rolls into town!




This rat rod bleeds John Deere tractor green