Michael and Susan Ludwig's '96 Dodge Ram is one-of-a-kind now, but even before all of the customizations, it was one of only 1,250. The truck is an Indianapolis 500 Edition, which is not something you see every day, but that designation alone was not going to win much recognition at shows, so the inevitable happened. The truck was static-dropped and painted.
As many of you know, that's often how things start, but whether it's the need to one-up the competition, or to see how far a build can go, truck builds can easily snowball from mild to wild. In the case of this Dodge, the mild build lasted until the end of the 2006 show season, when John Williams, owner of Vehicle Designs and Accessories in Ionia, Michigan, took over. Gone are the unnecessary distractions such as taillights, antenna, bed pockets, door handles, and the gas filler door, replaced by smooth metal.
A roll pan replaced the bumper and an AAR fiberglass hood took the place of the boring factory piece. With all of the body smoothed and primed, PPG Purple was sprayed as a base, followed by Ocean Blue. That's when things got wild. Blue realistic flames frame a black and gray biomechanical framework that appears to lie below the sheetmetal of the truck. Both sides are virtually identical, and the graphics continue across the tailgate and hood.
You'll find even more custom metal work inside the truck, as the dash was replaced by a flowing sheetmetal dash by T-n-T Interiors and Trim that connects to the center console. Inside the custom dash is a full array of Classic Industries gauges, a JVC 15-inch touch-screen monitor, and a JVC head unit.
The rear cab wall was covered by a fiberglass sub enclosure that holds Crossfire amplifiers that power the Crossfire speakers found in the kick panels and door pillar, as well as the two 10-inch and two 12-inch Crossfire subs . Fiberglass panels also replaced the stock door panels, and were fitted with small Lokar door handles that match the Colorado Custom steering wheel.
Jason Scoville and Dave Durdan from Custom Performance in Hubbard, Ohio, handled the suspension. The static-drop addition from 1998 was removed in favor of an Air Ride Technologies system with DJM upper and lower arms and spindles up front, and a chromed four-link and C-notch in the rear.
The huge custom dash was formed from metal, not fiberglass.
The system was plumbed with stainless steel lines and moves air from the two pumps and three 5-gallon tanks in the bed to the `bags, via a controller mounted in the center console just below the head unit. With the truck aired out, the one-off Colorado Custom wheels, 20x8.5 inches in the front, 22x10.5 inches in the back, just manage to tuck into the Dodge's big wheel openings.
Powering the Dodge is a 360ci V-8 with ceramic-coated Gibson headers, a billet air cleaner lid, and polished aluminum valve covers. What's even more impressive than the engine is its surroundings. The engine bay is a sea of blue aluminum sheetmetal, as the firewall, inner fenders, fan shroud, and core support apron were all coated in Ocean Blue.
Michael and Susan now have a unique truck that grabs attention at any show they attend, and they're very happy with the quality work that went into it.
Special thanks go to:
Custom Performance Products, Scoville Engineering, 3D Metal Polishing, New Breed Powdercoating, Vehicle Designs and Accessories, T-n-T Interior and Trim, and PPG.
Cherry Wood slats make up the bed floor. They were dyed blue to match the paint.
The great bodywork extends under the hood, as well.