Daryll de Souza wanted his creation to be a tribute ñ even if the end result is considered by many to be a true Frankenstein.
"It has evolved to a tribute to transportation," insisted de Souza, who has lived in Olds the past two years, and is a former Bowden resident of 20 years. "It is Frankenstein-like, that is another term people use."
But de Souza prefers The Rat moniker for his creation ñ a unique vintage automobile that was once a weathered and battered four-door 1933 Pontiac he found in a bush east of Calgary nine years ago before turning it into a PontiRat through the auto restoration expertise of Innisfail's Stan Purcell.
Over a period of eight years after discovering the rusted-out antique vehicle, de Souza had a notion to make his find in the bushes a one-of-a-kind creation.
He cannibalized parts from all kinds of vehicles and machinery, leaving the once classic Pontiac looking more like a bizarre truck than a car.
The Rat, through the work of Purcell, was transformed by adding tractor parts, a rear covered wagon, aircraft warning lights on the back, parts from a swing stage that once serviced the Calgary Tower, a locomotive train horn on the back, a boat steering wheel with a propeller, and bicycle bells on the side for working his way through crowds.
It took Purcell the better part of a year to get The Rat looking the way de Souza envisioned ñ a true tribute to transportation.
"I don't know if this was a greater challenge but was fun because you put stuff together and make it work," said Purcell, who owns his own auto restoration business in Innisfail called The Little Shop That Can.
"I shortened the body and put it on a (Chevrolet) S-10 frame. It was a lot of work. It is surprising when you are modifying things like that. They are more work than you think because nothing fits. You gotta modify it and make it fit."
But it does work, and The Rat hit the road in late spring after de Souza spent eight years and $2,500 searching and finding parts, and paying Purcell about $30,000 to put it all together.
"It was a great experience doing it with Stan. We had an agreement that every $2,000 he stopped, I paid, so we never got ahead of each other and made the build go along quite well for both of us," said de Souza.
"I got it on the road last March and registered on the same day as my birthday. I have driven it every week since, basically. Any day it was viable I drove it," said de Souza. "I go to lots of shows. I love them and have lots of fun there for sure.
"It's just a joy to drive."
Daryll de Souza
"It was a great experience doing it with Stan. We had an agreement that every $2,000 he stopped, I paid, so we never got ahead of each other and made the build go along quite well for both of us."