Classic American



I have never owned a hot rod or rat rod and yet I am always drawn to them whenever I see one. Maybe it’s because no two are the same and that rather appeals to me in a world of conformity and strict legislation. Or maybe it’s because lurking deep within me is a little bit of rebelliousness itching to get out. I know I’m not alone. The actual number of folk who own hot rods and rat rods is quite small and yet the TV viewing figures for America’s Las Vegas Rat Rods (or Sin City Motors as it’s called here in the UK) is enormous.

For those who haven’t seen the show, the first series of which was aired in 2014, it centres on Steve Darnell and his loyal crew at his Welder Up workshop in Las Vegas. Steve has built a reputation for creating wild and weird rusty-looking rat rods and trucks powered by enormously powerful turbocharged diesel or supercharged petrol V8 motors and adorned with relics found in desert scrapyards, old mines, farms and garages. He is the ultimate recycler. His vehicles have the demeanour of a junkyard dog - mean, tough, gnarly and aggressive – and you’d certainly get out of the way if you saw one bearing down on you. They look like they cost about $500, but many have cost close to $80,000 or even more.

Steve, who is suntanned, rugged and good-looking, comes across on TV as a no-nonsense, straight talking, hard-working guy with a creative imagination and the hands-on craft and engineering skills to back it up. I was keen to find out if what you see on TV is what you get in real life and having just interviewed him, I reckon it pretty much is. First, I asked him to tell us a bit about his background. He said: “I was born a desert rat here in Las Vegas in 1971. I was always into cars and so were my mom and dad. Here in

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