World-class rat rods at MATS 2018

March 26, 2018

Wendy Parker


Psst … “J” lot at MATS, known for slick, shiny chrome and gorgeous show trucks, had rats this year. Don’t worry, no one contracted plague, but some may indeed have come down with a case of “rat rod fever.”

For the first time ever, PKY Truck Beauty Competition set aside a small portion of the lot to display medium and heavy-duty class rat rods.


“Endee,” a 1942 International KS5, built by Charlie and Elmo Pacheo (Team Cutters) from Trementina, New Mexico.  Endee currently holds the RATical Rod  2017 Build Off World Championship title.

Cody Burch and the crew at 4 State Trucks entered the 1986 Peterbilt 359 “Rat II,” from the tongue-in-cheek “Left/Overs Transport” in “Payne Killer, Mo.”

Odd details and lack of luster define rat class. Burch’s build personifies heavy-duty rods with a cobbled-together mix of old-school cool and custom. A vintage Mercury sleeper is icing on the somewhat messy cake.


 Somewhere within Brad Hartwick’s “Patriot” lies a 1978 Kenworth W900. Hot-rod style rats represented the slicker end of the class at MATS this year.


Rat Rod @ MATS 2018 Gary Ries entered Randy Grubb’s Super Semi build, “Pissed off Pete,” which began with an original 1960 Peterbilt 351, and ended up this super-tuned streetster. Pissed Off  boasts 1,000 pounds-feet of torque and 500 horses on the ground.

 Another of Gary’s contributions to the show was “Petester.” This 1950 Peterbilt boasts a 8-92 Detroit engine and an Allison auto transmission.


The Autullo’s, from Worth, Ill., stand in front of “Lawless.” Their 1993 379 Peterbilt took first place in the people’s choice PKY Rat Rod Competition for 2018.