Steve Darnell, a welder by trade, will undertake any project that sparks his imagination, and perservere until the project is finished, no matter how complex the task (a trait that has come to be known as “WELDERUP“). Never a person to back away from difficult jobs, Steve has a drive and passion to take a pile of steel and create a masterpiece!
Steve has been around cars all his life and has had a lot of time to dream up his fantasy vehicle. Finding an old 1928 Dodge car in a field lead Steve to start a project called “Diesel Rod”. The car was rusting away and had just a little of the original sheet metal left, but Steve hatched a plan to turn that Dodge into a ‘rat rod” (a term used to describe a vehicle built from scraps). Steve did not want to build just any rat rod, his was going to be a WELDERUP Rod! Steve spent three years (and many sleepless nights) coming up with an idea for the form of his Diesel Rod; then spent 4 months making his idea come to life.
Steve’s final creation is as colourful as they come-from the hand built frame, to the diesel powered motor. Almost every piece welded on the car comes from scrap piles--some of Steve’s best finds being old farm equipment. A recycling theme comes to mind when looking over all the details worked into the car. Diesel engine pistons are used for the rear bumper, and a connecting rod from the same engine comprises the steering shaft support. John Deere tractor sheet metal cover holes in the rusted body and more sheet metal from the same tractor is transformed into the new dash. Even worn out band saw blades find a home as trim on the body!
An incredible rolling work of art, this automobile is a true gem. Steve’s Diesel Rod is a combination drag racer, Rat Rod, and hot rod. Using spare parts and imagination, Steve has constructed a street-worthy, head-turner unlike anything on the road today!
The diesel rod is a 1928 Dodge 4door sedan that has been chopped 4 inches and channeled 3 inches. The power comes from a Cummins diesel motor out of a 1998 Dodge pick-up. The motor sports a twin turbo set-up and Fass Fuel System. The engine produces 1200 lb/ft torque and runs the quarter mile in the mid 12 second range. The frame is completely hand built to accommodate the amount of stress coming from the diesel motor. A four-link and air ride suspension keeps the rear tires in check, while the front end is a mostly stock 1929 Ford 1-ton axle.
“Rust is Must”
Owner/ Builder; Steve Darnel
Photographer/writer; Alan McDonald