Rust or bust


Many of us like our cars, some of us even detail them to make them look different. But Dennis Devlieger can say with confidence that his car is unique. There is literally no other like it.

Devlieger has built himself a rat rod, and he’ll ride it in the Shades of the Past parade Friday.

“It’s kind of a combination of whatever you throw together,” Devlieger said. “You don’t paint it, and it’s always rusty. People put on parts that make them stand out and look different. It’s kind of a fabrication of one’s own ideas.”

In this case, it’s a ’37 Ford pickup cab mounted on a ’92 Dodge Dakota frame Devlieger shortened by 23 inches. The motor and transmission is from a Chevy 350, and the wheels are also from the Dodge Dakota. The box bed he built himself.

“I retired a year ago, and last winter I was kind of looking for something to keep me busy,” Devlieger said. “I worked at Bisbee’s (Plumbing and Heating), so I know a little about putting things together.”

The origin of the term “rat rod” is in dispute, but the idea supposedly started back in the 1970s as a reaction to high-priced custom-built hot rods that were often more for display than riding.

“I’ve always had street rods, in my younger days in high school I had a ’56 Chevy I used to race,” Devlieger said. “But with street rods you’ve got nice paint, and you’re constantly cleaning and polishing. With a rat rod, the dirtier the better!”