Issue #28 – Vegas Rat Rods

Rat Rod Interview with Steve Darnell

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“Bringing Junk Back To Life, Bringing Junk Back To Life One Car at Time”

Steve Darnell  is the design mastermind behind the very unique car customization shop, Welderup. He was born in Vegas in 1971. He moved back and forth between Vegas and Montana when his parents divorced. Steve’s crazy creative Rat Rod designs got lots attention at local car shows, which also got the attention of the Discovery Chanel, which got him the Vegas Rat Rods show. Vegas Rat Rods is in its 3rd season and has become wildly popular. The T.V. show made his business grow, but not without growing pains because, they can’t keep up with the public needs. They are THAT busy. Steve also producing short films, music videos, and creative man-interior designs. Most recently, he created the set design, costumes, props, and vehicles featured in the Five Finger Death Punch "House of the Rising Sun" music video. Steve also designed the whole interior décor of his show room at his shop.

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  1. How long have you been interested in this type of work?

    I started building Rat Rods about 2007. My dad was a welder and I and I learned fabrication, I grew up in the atmosphere. I spent a lot of time in my room as a child with mismatched model cars, which became the rat rods of today.

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  2. How long does it take to complete a rat rod restoration? 

    If I do it myself, it takes 2 & a half months. If my crew assists me, it takes 10-12 …days maybe 3 weeks.

  3. Do you design your rat rod concept a head of time?

    Usually have the ideas already in my head. Although I do have an artist on board that can draw up plans if needed.

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  4. What was your most challenging rat rod to make?

    All of them. Everyone is a challenge. His favorite and first project was when he put a 5.9 liter Cumming’s diesel engine from a Dodge pickup truck into a 1933 Dodge sedan.

  5. Where do you find or locate most of the parts to make a rat rod?

    Junkyards all in the desert. Everywhere and anywhere, sometimes out of state, like Montana.

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  6. Who and when started the rat rod’s idea?

    1950’s with hot rods, not really sure, but they weren’t called rat rods. They were called jalopies.

  7. Is there a connection between rat rods and the Mad Max movie?

    Yeah, I think so. Steampunk and Desert people…. a lot of similarities.

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