HCOTY Nominee: Steve Darnell’s Dodge Diesel Rat Rod, making it’s debut at SEMA this year.
Nominated by: UDMan
As Seen in the Post: What’s That? You wanted to see the Diamond T’s Passenger.
I thought this was the very definition of the type of Rat Rod that the readers here at Hooniverse would want to know more about, as well as knowing more about the creator, Steve Darnell.
This car absolutely blew me away at my first ever SEMA show. I had just about enough of the glitz, and tastelessness of the show, even before I stepped foot in sin city, but I am glad I took the time and went this year. There were some great vehicles on display, but this was one of my favorites (Along with Steve’s Diamond T flatbed). So why did I nominate this beast?
Unique – When was the last time you ever saw a rat rod powered by a Cummins Diesel, that has dual turbochargers? And why stop there? Look at the rigged exhaust system, the roof covering, the bumper made of two pistons from a big rig, that wonderful hand crank. When have you ever seen a rod trimmed in worn out saw blades? Wonderful!
A Fine Patina – According to the builder, he manages to keep that rusty patina with a generous coating of WD-40. Yes, that’s right, WD-40. It keeps it from rusting further, and brings out the natural texture of the sheet metal. There are several other touches in the body starting with a couple of cutouts at the rear with green panels trying to bust out. The plates are vintage Montana Tags that are perfectly legal. The instrument panel is from a manure spreader. And the steering column is supported by a piston rod!
Outrageous – You wouldn’t think a car that looks like its held together with bailing wire would be well engineered and fast, would you? Well, looks can be deceiving. This rod has almost 700 HP (Measured at the rear wheels, by the way) and a massive 1,270 lb-ft of torque, this thing was built to tackle the strip (mid 12’s), as well as trying for a couple of land speed records in the very near future. In full gallop, it produces quite a plume of black soot that would cause any member of the Sierra Club to go into cardiac arrest, which is only a bonus in my book.
Conclusion – Steve Darnell’s creation is a vehicle that is a virtual definition of everything Hooniverse represents. It is well engineered, yet it looks like it isn’t; It’s fast, but doesn’t look it; It is full of many intricate details that you could just examine the car for hours, and still not take them all it; It was built by a true hot rod aficionado, an artist if you will, who is not afraid to stray from the expected, and create something unexpected; In short it’s my nomination for the Hooniverse.com car of the year.