Doing something right the first time is a philosophy the staff of Truckin' magazine tries to live by. This philosophy is applicable to most projects, but when it comes to custom trucks, there is no compromising. We either do it right with the best components, or not at all. Last year there was talk among the staff of building a sky-scraping custom Dodge Hemi Ram, and once the Truckin' crew starts talking about a project, chances are, it will be built. Since the Ram was Truckin' magazine's 2003 Truck of the Year, we figured it would be fitting to create a stunning custom example of Dodge's already impressive platform.

Our group has built a few custom Chevy and Ford projects in the past and decided it was time to try our hands at a Ram. A few phone calls to Dodge's corporate office and our '03 quad cab Hemi-powered Ram 2500 4x4 was on its way to our Anaheim, California offices. The idea was to create a truck that would serve as a poster child for our growing Water Toys section while towing our custom flamed 24-foot Aftershock powerboat. Since the debut of the special Water Toys section in our Jan. '03 issue of Truckin', the lifestyle of the custom powerboat enthusiast has been demonstrated from several different angles. Feature articles on custom graphic-enhanced boats with high-horsepower engines have appeared within the Truckin' pages featuring custom trucks doing the towing duty. Truckin' magazine has also captured how these enthusiasts use their boats with extensive regatta coverage.

Practicing what you preach is also a philosophy the Truckin' staff strives to live by, and we couldn't roll up to the ramp pulling the AfterShock with a stock pickup when everyone else is sitting pretty in lifted Chevy HDs and Ford Super Duty trucks or slammed Escalades and Tahoes. When people look up to you,setting an example is an obligation. Since the boat was already built and laden with blue flames with gray borders and a bright-orange beltline graphic over a white hull, replicating that scheme on the truck was the easy part. Creating the monster-sized lift while maintaining driveability and utility was significantly harder. Although it would have been a no-brainer to equip our Ram with a 6-inch suspension lift and 37-inch tires, successful project vehicles need to be on the edge of insane and far from sensible.

With a vision clearly established of this truck's finished state, Full Throttle Suspensions of Fresno, California, was contacted to obtain one of the company's 10-inch suspension lift kits to get the Ram's roofline up in the clouds. The Custom Truck Shop in San Dimas, California, which is a division of the successful custom paint business L&G Enterprises, performed the suspension installation, which became a compilation of Full Throttle and Sway-A-Way components along with fabrication work from the Custom Truck Shop. Up front, Sway-A-Way RaceRunner coilover shocks (two per side) were used to get the lift and then tuned to get the ride.