Rusted is busted. Aftermarket industry professional Dave Burke called in the big guy for some light power-tool bonding when he detected a flaw in his beloved 1997 Dodge RAM 3500 Cummins. He and his father, Paul Burke, are embarking on the diesel build of a lifetime.
Soon a basic rust management project evolved into a full-blown diesel restoration. Exactly why or how is still up for grabs but this powerful 12 Valve Dually was stripped bare to its chassis. That’s a level of work that far exceeds basic sandblasting and playing with a cutting torch. But the Burke’s gladly rolled up their sleeves to tackle an unforgettable father-son diesel build. And it’s well on its way to completion.
A Fascination With Cars Started Young
“I came home with a ‘69 Camaro at 14 years old and it needed some work. I’ve always tinkered in the garage with dad. He’s a carpenter by trade and while he isn’t an automotive enthusiast like I am, he’s always been supportive of my passionate hobbies and jumps right in to help. We’ve done some decent-sized vehicle projects together, but this is definitely the most demanding one to date,” said Burke.
And while he still appreciates a classic body style, one ride with a buddy in a diesel-powered beast was all it took for a change of heart. “The diesel restoration is the pinnacle of all projects, our Mt. Everest achievement. I’ve been collecting parts for the past five years. Every nut and bolt has been touched during this process,” he added. “It all started with a few add-on pieces from Keystone [Automotive Operations, Inc., where Burke is a Category Manager on the Speed and Performance team] and one thing led to another. Four years later, we are still incorporating industry trends into our truck build so that it’s a completely custom piece upon completion.”
This dream diesel represents far more than the end result, rather the experiences along the way. One thing is for sure: Many long nights and weekends in the garage are about to pay off, but the memories of hard work, cold brews and laughter will fill those four walls for years to come.
Follow the progress on this beauty on Instagram.