Take a 12-valve Cummins turbo diesel from a ’98 Dodge Ram 2500, add in a ’28 Dodge Brothers’ four-door sedan (yes, back when the “Brothers” part was still in the name), toss in a bunch of good ol’ rat rod flavor, mix in a whole lot of welding and fabrication (nearly 1,000 hours worth!) and what you’ll get it something looking either a lot like a 19th century locomotive or something much like Steve Darnell’s smoke-spewing, hand-built, nearly totally custom belly-dragger.
Rat rodders have a great way of bringing not only classic cars back from the grave, but some pretty unique engines. We’ve seen rat rods sporting inline sixes, flat head Fords, unusual Y-blocks, W-head 409s, 413 Max Wedges and anything and everything in between. But, this one-of-a-kind “Smoker Rat” is probably the first smoke-spewing dargger we’ve ever heard of. The powerplant, an inline six cylinder Cummins turbo diesel, was lifted from a ’98 Dodge Ram 2500, rebuilt, tuned and plumbed to crank out a whopping 1270 ft.-lbs of torque and 693 rwhp.
Starting with a 1928 Dodge 4-door, Steve – owner of custom fabrication shop, Welderup – chopped and channeled the rusted cab to fit onto handmade frame which was designed to be strong enough to carry the excruciatingly-heavy engine. Steve dug up other components from around the farm – so to speak, including the rod’s front axle from a coal mine truck, doors from a recycled gold mine brass mesh, and dashboard from various old farm equipment. Even the rear bumper was fabricated from an excavator’s engine pistons.
Here’s the kicker; weighing in at well over 3,800 pounds, this Dodge is no lightweight. Yet, making over 1200 ft.-lbs of torque and geared as it is, this diesel machine can click off a staggering 11.69-second quarter mile time at 118 miles per hour!