November '19

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120 THE SHOP NOVEMBER 2019 W elderUp is certainly more than a sum of its parts. Based in Las Vegas, the shop team is made up of an eccentric crew of mechanics, fabricators, and welders—including Steve Darnell, Justin Kramer, Merlon Johnson, Travis Deeter, Barber Dave, Joe Giamanco, Chase Darnell and Kash Darnell—who design and build some of the wildest rat rods around. Steve Darnell, the conceptual force behind the company, has built a reputation around bringing unexpected and imagina- tive masterpieces to life by transforming mere scraps into one-of-a-kind creations. From the tank treads-equipped Caterkiller to the magic Monster Bus, the vehicles each have a personality all their own. THE BEGINNINGS WelderUp, a complete custom fabrication shop specializing in unique vehicles, got its start in Billings, Montana. In April 2009, Darnell, owner of WelderUp and a native Nevadan, relocated the company to Las Vegas. Using spare parts, recycling, salvage from the backfields of farm and ranch communi- ties, and a lot of imagination, the Weld- erUp team creates colorful, street-worthy works of rusted art. Darnell's skill and creativity quickly caught the eyes of the car world and, as a result, WelderUp and its wild rides are now the basis for the television show Vegas Rat Rods, which just finished its second season on Discovery Channel. SOURCE OF INSPIRATION The biggest source of inspiration for Dar- nell is the bond between father and son, he says. In today's technology-filled world, tin- kering on cars and building stuff together is a great way to strengthen familial ties. Steve's sons, Chase and Kash, are now a part of the WelderUp crew. They are the future fabricators of the shop and, to con- tinue the family legacy, they work alongside Steve Darnell's WelderUp produces one-of-a-kind custom creations and is featured on Discovery Channel's "Vegas Rat Rods." (Photo by Mike Morgan Photography) GETTING CREATIVE WITH THE CREW AT WelderUp Las Vegas rat rod builder redefines cool with every project. Building in the sweltering Las Vegas heat, Weld- erUp turned to Por- tacool evaporative coolers to keep its crew safe and productive. (Photo by Mike Morgan Photography)

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