Ryan Abbott is the eccentric builder, fabricator and owner of Roditall Customs in Carlock, Illinois, and he churns out some of the most unique diesel creations we have ever seen. The quirky builder—that goes by the name “Rabbott” to friends and family—beats to the tune of his own drummer and it shows in his work. Fortunately, for us, he uses diesel engines in many of his creations. A fine example of the awesome craftsmanship and detail that he puts into each of his builds in this 1956 Dodge Royal Roadster he calls “Diesablo,” a play on diesel and Diablo.
From the Ashes
Rescuing the Dodge after it was taken apart and destined to be crushed, Abbott went to work completely transforming the car into a totally unique machine. He built the car as a concept car on an original chassis he designed and fabricated for a “Rabbott” take on the hot rod. The Diesablo is the first of three of his new concept hot rods to be completed with the other two being a Ford and a Chevy. We look forward to seeing the others when they are completed.
He first turned his attention to reworking the Royal body, which was originally a 4-door hard top sedan into his vision of a roadster hot rod. The body was cut, welded, pie-sectioned and channeled to get the shape and fitment he wanted. After creating the roadster, he built in some protection in the form of a rock-crawler inspired roll cage. Of course, Rabbott also had to fabricate a new recessed firewall and smooth the entire body before spraying it liberally with fire-red paint. Through the course of the work, he reshaped the body into the doorless roadster seen here and created the hot rod-style grille shell up front. To strip off 60 years’ worth of paint, grime and build up, Abbott turned to his friends at J&J Powdercoating in Carlock, Illinois, then had them handle any powdercoating he required for the build as needed.
To make the bright red paint really pop, Abbott had his resident brush-master Brandon Lovell lay intricate pinstriped graphics on the grille shell and the tail of the Royal. On the grille, he striped a piston/skull graphic while he painted the DIESABLO name in script on the rear of the car around the large single exhaust outlet. Then to make the sides of the car pop, he had Peircy Autobody in Carlock, Illinois, add vinyl graphics to the side with the Roditall.com logo and a scallop to the tailfin above the rear tires.
After Abbott completed the long list of radical body modifications, he went to work finishing the chassis before mating the two together. The chassis is his original design fabricated from scratch using 0.25-inch thick 2X4-inch boxed steel tubing to have a strong foundation to work well with the weight and torque of the Cummins engine he planned to install between the frame rails.
To give the Diesablo the ability to sit low while on display at shows and events and cruise at a comfortable height on the road, Abbott opted to go with an air suspension system. The front uses the popular Mustang II spindles and such with tubular control arms and a set of 2,500-pound AirLift Dominator air springs. Steering is handled by a rack and pinion setup to provide good driver feedback and precise handling from the custom rod. In the rear, he built a reverse triangulated 4-link with 2,600-pound AirLift Dominator air springs to locate and place the 1995 Dodge 1-ton rear axle and 3.55 gears stuffed under the rear of the chassis. Running the link arms toward the rear of the car allowed him to have more interior room in the car. This gave him the ability to mount the seats lower, minimizing how much the body needed to be channeled while allowing the car to be laid on the ground when the suspension is aired down. Air pressure is controlled and monitored with a gauge and switches mounted in the dash.
For handling, the Diesablo rides on a staggered wheel fitment with 20s up front and 22s in the rear. The front split 8-spoke, 5-lug Ballistic Off Road Jester wheels work with the Mustang II spindles while the rears are 8-lug for the Dodge axle. Toyo Proxes S/T tires are used on all four corners to grip the road with 275/45R20s up front and 285/45R22s in the rear.
With the chassis dialed in, it was time for Abbott to drop the new heart into the Diesablo beast. That heart turned out to be a Cummins 12-valve from a 1995 Dodge truck. The Cummins is detailed to match the red and black theme of the car and enhanced with fuel pump and AFC mods, as well as some pump tweaks for additional flow and RPM. He estimates the engine makes around 450-horsepower and over 600 lbs-ft. of torque, which is more than enough to get the roadster moving down the road with authority.
“450 horsepower and over 600 lbs-ft. of torque”
Looking more closely at the front of the car, you can see the custom chassis he built as well as the massive 20-inch Ballistic wheel and Toyo tire combination.The Cummins engine is backed with a Dodge 47RE transmission that links to the rear axle with a custom 16-inch driveshaft by Heritage Machine and Welding in Bloomington, Illinois. Gear selection is handled through a long T-handle B&M shifter while over drive and lockup are activated by switches.
To finish off the project, Abbott completed the interior including a full reworking the metal dash by narrowing and sectioning it to fit the dimensions he created with the heavily modified body. The floor is coated in red Monstaliner DIY bed liner material rather than carpet. He also installed black vinyl low back bucket seats for a comfortable ride and upholstered the door cards in red alligator patterned vinyl to complete the look. To help keep him entertained while cruising in Diesablo, Abbott installed an Alpine 5-channel amplifier with an input for his IPhone as an audio source. The amp powers a pair of 10-inch subs, as well as a pair of 6X9s in custom enclosures behind the seats.
“Rabbott successfully repurposed a 60-year old car, creating the Diesablo roadster that turns heads everywhere he takes it”
Rabbott successfully repurposed a 60-year old car, creating the Diesablo roadster that turns heads everywhere he takes it. While some purists may balk at cutting up a vintage car like this Dodge Royal, it was headed to the crusher, and Rabbot gave it a new life. If you get a chance to check out the Diesablo at a show or event, be sure to take the time. You’ll enjoy checking out the car and chatting with its creator; they’re both characters in their own right. DW