Dave Kiley — also known as Diesel Dave — met his fellow “Diesel Brother,” Heavy D (David Sparks) at a church singles function. He didn’t meet his wife there, but he did meet a partner. Together, the “Diesel Brothers” have gained a rabid social media following by building incredible custom vehicles.

Kiley is very aware of the influence he has over a younger generation of aspiring mechanics. “I hope they’re getting the message that you need to do what you love and enjoy what you’re doing because that’s what’s going to make you happy in life,” he says. “That’s what we want to push out to the world: do what you love, be happy, make the world a better place.”

Getting into the motor

Kiley’s journey to becoming a master mechanic building some of the most unique vehicles in the world didn’t involve school, but he sees the value of a formal education. “I think going to school is a great idea,” he affirms. “There’s a lot you can learn from school. But not every skill or life lesson is learned behind a desk or in a book. All my education comes from hands-on, first-hand experience. I think everybody learns differently. If you have a hands-on aspect and have people out there doing stuff instead of just reading about it, I think you’ll have a much more skilled group of guys becoming mechanics.”

Do what you love, be happy, make the world a better place.

Kiley is used to being asked how to get into the transportation, engineering or mechanical fields. “I think students should look for a program that’s hands-on, that gets you into the motor and gets your hands dirty,” he explains. “A program that gets you actually working on things you would be doing in real life. The best advice I can give a young person looking to get into these fields is: make sure you love it, make sure you’re passionate about and then you’ll be successful.”

Kiley’s crystal ball

BUCKLE UP: The future is clear, and exciting. Kiley encourages those forging a path for others to follow to keep going. “...hang on,” the pro says. “It’s going to be a wild ride.”

Diesel Dave can see the path to the future. “Let everybody keep growing and pushing the boundaries,” he says. “If everybody had the mentality of not wanting change we’d still be driving around in a horse and buggy. People are going to look back at today and their minds will be blown that we used to travel the way we do today. Similarly, we can’t even fathom what we’re going to see in ten or twenty years.”

Despite the name of his show and his own nickname, Kiley thinks the future will involve all kinds of engines and all kinds of fuels. “I would love to see every fuel type continue to grow,” he says. “Each fuel has its own supporters — Team Gas, Team Diesel, Team Electric. And everybody is passionate about whatever fuel they like best. It’s hard to say which one is going to take over the industry, because when people are passionate about something they will keep working hard to keep making it better and better.”

Kiley brings the same excitement to the future of transportation as he does to every custom build the “Diesel Brothers” work on. “Buckle up and hang on,” he says excitedly. “It’s going to be a wild ride.”