“Diesel Brothers” became one of Discovery Channel’s most popular reality automotive television series because of its engaging content and the unique personalities of its main hosts, David “Heavy D” Sparks and David “Diesel Dave” Kiley. From its TV debut, the series featured spectacular truck builds, adrenaline-fueled activities, and truck giveaways, which entertained their fans for the past six years. The two friends were later joined by The Muscle, and Red Beard, in the show. Fans wondered how much of their TV success translated to their financial growth – despite the controversies that the show was embroiled in such as the payment of huge fines to a government agency, the majority of viewers believed that they continued to accumulate profits that doubled their wealth. The only question that remained was who among the cast became the richest after they struck gold with reality TV.
Background on how “Diesel Brothers” started
Just like most auto-related shows today, “Diesel Brothers” was created when a production company was looking for a relatively exceptional automotive customization business, along with distinctive characters that they could feature in a reality-TV series for Discovery Channel.
The video that started everything
DieselSellerz was a small repair and customization shop located in Woods Cross, Utah, owned and operated by long-time friends, David “Heavy D” Kiley and David “Diesel Dave” Sparks. In 2012, when Diesel Dave sent a video of himself driving in California and making goofy jokes to Heavy D which the latter found quite funny, and uploaded it onto his Facebook page. When he woke up the next day, he was quite stunned that the video already had more than 100,000 views. He said it didn’t make sense, since he didn’t have many friends, but found out that it went viral after being shared many times. Because a lot of people found it hilarious, he thought to make more so they could use it to market their truck dealership business and created a page called “Trucks for Sale.” It was a major hit, and helped establish their brand, DieselSellerz.
An appearance in Jay Leno led to Discovery Channel
After discovering the wonders of social media, the DieselSellerz crew created more videos with content mostly about pranking their friends, and some of which attracted over a million views, not only on Facebook but also on YouTube. They gained a cult following that their channel was noticed by a passionate gearhead, Jay Leno, and were invited to appear in an episode of the late-night “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” which opened doors for Heavy D and Diesel Dave. The day after their segment was aired, their phones never stopped ringing. Several production companies tried to have them over to film something, but they thought it was just a con. Six months after they kept blowing off offers, they received an official email from one of the executives of Discovery Channel. Everything seemed to be legitimate, and the cable channel sent a producer to film for three days for a pilot episode.
Premise and premiere of “Diesel Brothers”
Everything about the Utah customization shop and its fun-loving crew checked the boxes of what the Discovery Channel executives were looking for. After approving the pilot episode, Magilla Entertainment, one of the production arms of Discovery Channel, filmed them for a year to produce the first season of “Diesel Brothers.” On 4 January 2016, the TV series premiered on Discovery Channel, and it became a huge hit. Heavy D said it was just the right timing, since the popularity of “Duck Dynasty” and “Gas Monkey Garage” was starting to go down, and the cable channel was looking for a new one to fill the hole, and had hit the target.
The TV series featured both truck customization and outrageous stunts by the DieselSellerz team. In each episode, they showed how the team transformed a generic truck into a one-of-a-kind masterpiece by modifying the suspension, upgrading parts for power enhancement, and tweaking the design to give it more flair. In addition, the show featured off-road adventures and races, which put the vehicles to the ultimate test. Initially, it was about building awesome trucks as the producers wanted to focus on getting male viewers aged 18 to 45, but the friendship and hilarious banter among the crew provided content that was well received by everyone, so eventually, it became a family show.
Get to know David “Heavy D” Sparks
Heavy D was the one who started it all, and the main man in “Diesel Brothers.” He was the type who didn’t like being stopped anywhere or get distracted. He could, however, entertain people briefly, say hello, and do the photo thing, but then had to leave immediately to attend to whatever his goal was at that time. He didn’t do small talk and didn’t like being cornered, but during interviews or podcasts, Heavy D would do all the talking, while his best friend Diesel Dave would just listen.
Early life and family
Heavy D described himself as a regular guy who basically started with nothing. He grew up in a lower-middle-class household in Utah, the youngest kid of four. His father was a Green Beret and was part of the top 1% of the US military as far as fitness went; people often described him as a machine. However, when Heavy D was three weeks old, his father was diagnosed with a brain tumor the size of a tennis ball. At that time, his mother recorded his father saying goodbye to the children on a VHS tape. Everything changed when his father had a “priesthood” blessing in their Church, which meant someone laid a hand on his head and was given a blessing of good health and that he would see his children grow up. His mother felt that it was some sort of an insult and that they were being given false hope, since the doctors had already told them that he was a done deal – however, three weeks later, the tumor melted away.
Due to many unfortunate incidents, his father started late in life and was around 35 when he decided to go to college. When Heavy D was five years old, his father was still delivering pizzas and installing car radios to make ends meet. His mother was a homemaker, but wouldn’t hesitate to do her husband’s jobs when he literally didn’t feel well. Heavy D grew up watching his parents deal with all sorts of obstacles, but they never complained. It was amazing that Heavy D didn’t know that they were having a hard time, because he thought that whatever they had or lacked was just normal and that everyone was experiencing the same thing. There was even a time that their family lived in a VW Bus for about two months because they were homeless. He saw his father get knocked down repeatedly, but never lost hope and bounced back, but his father had a stroke when Heavy D was 15, and died six years later.
Education and previous job
By the time he was in middle school, Heavy D knew how to weld and work on engines by taking all available shop classes. He learned things a bit more easily than his classmates, and even before graduating, he was already interested in becoming an auto mechanic. While Heavy D’s family was into academics as his siblings earned their master’s degrees, he wasn’t into it. He only had one half of a semester under his belt, and when he was in the middle of writing an essay in college, he had a realization that academics weren’t for him even if he was quite good at writing. The great thing about his family was that they were supportive of what he wanted in life, though his path to success wasn’t as traditional compared to his siblings. After quitting college, Heavy D worked construction with his uncle for a while and learned the basics. However, when 2008 came and the economy went down, the construction business just fell apart.
Get to know David “Diesel Dave” Kiley
Heavy D described himself and Diesel Dave as Ying and Yang. Diesel Dave was the most carefree person in the world, easy to talk to, and most people could relate and gravitate to him. For instance, he would meet a stranger at an airport, sit down and converse with him. Later on, he would be part of the stranger’s family reunions. Diesel Dave once shared, ‘I bounced around all over the place as a kid, which might explain the reason for my nomadic existence.’
Early life, education, and family
Diesel Dave was born on 17 June 1984, in Lubbock, Texas, so six months older than Heavy D. At that time, his father, Mike Kiley, was a US Air Force pilot who was based at Reese Air Force Base, although in their family of nine, only he and his younger sister, Kerstin, were born there. By the time he was four years old, the family moved to Beale Air Force Base in California, but when he was starting to like it there, his parents bought a house in Sacramento, just before Operation Desert Storm happened. After the Gulf War, his father left the Air Force to work as a commercial pilot for Delta Airlines and they all moved to Utah. He grew up in a comfortable middle-class home.
He attended Davis High School, the biggest rival school of Layton High where Heavy D went to. While the two of them lived not far from each other, but weren’t friends until after they finished high school. Just like Heavy D, he was into automotive as he seriously attended most of his shop classes in school. As a hobby, he liked wakeboarding, dirt biking, and playing rugby, which led to him making many trips to the hospital. He said that if he didn’t go away on his mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, he might not have survived his teenage years.
Traveling and his friendship with Heavy D
Diesel Dave and Heavy D met at a Singles Ward, an event in their Church, and instead of meeting a future wife, they hit it off and became virtual brothers. The two friends also spent some time together doing missionary activity for their church in Bolivia and Brazil, as both of them spoke Portuguese. While they remained in constant communication, they pursued different career paths. Diesel Dave went on to become a security system salesman but he gained more friends than clients as he wasn’t great in sales. His goal at that time was just to earn enough money so he could travel. He had several nicknames depending on the kind of social circle he was in, until he became Diesel Dave and it stuck. He never really had a solid career direction when he was single.
The Origins of DieselSellerz
After Heavy D’s stint in his uncle’s construction company, he started a small business with an excavation tractor, doing all sorts of work just to keep financially afloat, along with his best friend Diesel Dave. The business failed after they damaged one piece of the heavy equipment that they had on loan – Diesel Dave then left to pursue other goals. Getting loans from banks was difficult due to the effects of the 2008 economic recession, so Heavy D needed to become resourceful and creative in gaining financial backing through weird money lending companies. He eventually had around six cars on lease, and then called Diesel Dave to partner with him. Things seemed to be improving until the time came when the cars weren’t being paid for except one. They went on to repossess the other cars, but finances were so bad that they didn’t have enough money to get the cars back. Diesel Dave went traveling again after the business failed.
— DieselSellerz (@DieselSellerz) February 23, 2017
After cleaning up the financial mess, Heavy D had enough money to start another business, a truck dealership he called DieselSellerz. Business was slowly doing well, and he again reached out to Diesel Dave to help him out. Actually, Diesel Dave said that he received a photo of the coolest tow truck Heavy D bought at an auction with a text message, ‘Just come and run this.’ At that time, he was about to go to Arkansas to sell mobile homes, but returned to Utah instead. Ultimately, they became successful through a series of wild events.
On a side note, it was interesting that 10 years later, the FBI was still tracking Heavy D, and asking about the loans that he made. Apparently, at that time, he hired a company to do it for him, which later turned out to be involved in illegal activities that he wasn’t aware of.
Who was the richest in Diesel Brothers?
Determining people’s net worth could be tricky as not all of the information about their assets and liabilities was shared with the public. While “Diesel Brothers” had listed other individuals as part of their crew, it was mainly owned and operated by Heavy D and Diesel Dave. The following are their financial standings:
David “Heavy D” Sparks’s net worth – $8 million
According to authoritative sources, in June 2023, Heavy D’s net worth is $8 million. The money that he acquired was deeply rooted in DieselSellerz, of which he was the founding partner and CEO. The truck dealership and customization shop continue to provide customized truck builds and merchandise including apparel, accessories, and other licensed products to a certain niche market from when it was established. The TV appearance fees from Discovery Channel also contributed to it, along with endorsements, sponsorships and events that they were invited to participate in. One of the most telling signs that Heavy D made it to the top was the fact that he owned helicopters including a Black Hawk, which he bought in 2022 at a military auction. He was never complacent, even after achieving so much in life. He kept moving up with his new concepts and business investments.
David “Diesel Dave” Kiley’s net worth – $4 million
Based on what Heavy D said during interviews and podcasts, he and “soulmate” Diesel Dave may not be brothers by blood but they have been more than that to each other since the time they met. There was an era in their lives when they even lived and shared everything together. When DieselSellerz, which he co-founded, became successful along with the popularity of “Diesel Brothers,” Diesel Dave’s net worth grew to $4 million. Their brand expanded, after their reality TV series including merchandise, licensing, trade show, and TV show guest appearance fees grew significantly, the revenue stream has kept flowing to this day.
In assessing the exact personal net worth of any individual, it’s important to note that financial circumstances can change over time. It’s highly advisable to take into consideration various factors such as new business ventures, investments, and market fluctuations. When Heavy D announced in Roman Atwood’s podcast in October 2022 that the eighth season would be the last of “Diesel Brothers,” people wondered if that would have any effect on their finances. Their fans need not fret, as their official social media pages continued to increase. There’s continuous growth in their YouTube channel, which has generated over three million subscribers, and close to half a billion views. Needless to say, they are still winning the reality series game, even when they are no longer on TV.