Todd Stauffer and his dad, John, brought the rat rod they built to show off at this weeks street rod show at the York Expo Center


It's not a street rod, but it's "driveable art" that is bound to attract attention at this weekend's Street Rod Nationals East in York.

The "Dady Rat" was built by three generations — father, Johny Stauffer; son, Todd Stauffer; and grandson Cordell Stauffer; all of Lancaster County — during a 14-month period. It took another few months to have the specialty built vehicle inspected, Todd Stauffer said.

The rustic street rod includes a Deutz diesel engine, a cab from a Harsco 923 military truck and an air horn from Union Pacific locomotive.

One good blow of the air horn "will roll your socks down to your ankles," he said.

The idea for the vehicle started after finding a Deutz diesel engine — the largest air cooled diesel engine made — in a salvage yard, Todd Stauffer said. They thought about using it as part of a tractor pull, but the number of events they would go to would be limited.

So Todd Stauffer suggested building something with a license plate. The vehicle was designed on the fly with a tape measure. His dad is a machinist who can do specialty work.

It has a 500 horsepower engine with 1400 foot-pounds of torque. It has wheels 14-inches wide and 50-inches tall. It gets 10 miles-per-gallon, and Todd Stauffer said they measure it in "smiles per gallon."

The suspension was designed after a race car. The vehicle has power steering, power brakes, an automatic transmission and air ride seats.

"When you're going down the road, it rides like a Cadillac," Todd Stauffer said.

The parts came from a variety of places, such as junkyards, military government bid sites, and eBay.

Stauffer Diesel Inc. in Ephrata helped to get the engine running, and John Stauffer's brother, Orlen, helped with the graphic design, Todd Stauffer said.

This marks the first time the "Dady Rat" — that's the name that could fit on the license plate — will be at the annual street rod event in York. It has been a crowd favorite at other events, Todd Stauffer said.

Passersby will often get video of the machine.

The "Dady Rat" will be inside Gate 6 at the York Expo Center, but if it is not there, the vehicle will be somewhere in town.

"We plan on cruising around," he said.

If you go

What: Street Rod Nationals East

When: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday

Where: York Expo Center

Admission: $15 for adults; $6 ages 6-12; free for children under 6

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