I promise it was harmless. I simply called my buddy Justin Veit, of Insane Kustoms, in Phoenix and asked him if he knew anyone with a cool, cover-quality blue Dodge Ram. He was a good guy to call, after all, I've photographed six of his previous builds, including last year's issue 8 cover, and I figured he might have a lead on something worthy. He thought about it and said, "No, why?" When I told him I had this crazy idea to do a red, white, and blue themed cover for our July issue and I needed a blue Dodge, he immediately replied, "Give me a week and I'll call you back." Six days later, my phone rang and I heard, "OK man, I just left the Dodge dealership with a 2010 Ram, what do you want to do with it?" I thought, uh, was this a practical joke or was he for real? My next thought and the next words I spoke were, "Are you sure you can pull this off by our ship-to-the-printer deadline?" Exactly five weeks after he drove off the lot with a new Ram, I was in Phoenix shooting his new truck and completing a patriotic red, white, and now, blue cover. Building a truck with 27 miles on the odometer in five weeks sounds like a paradox to us, but when you eat, sleep, and breathe custom trucks, nothing is impossible.
Starting with a white 2010 Dodge Ram, Justin drove the truck straight to Metal Asylum Kustom Finishes, in Glendale, Arizona, where shop owner Chad Anderson promised the truck would meet the five-week deadline. Working around the clock, Chad stripped the Ram down to a bare carcass and got to work prepping the body for color. Out back, Chad welded in a sheetmetal roll pan that incorporates the rear body line, shaved the large Ram emblem from the tailgate, filled the hood squirters, and added a Mopar body kit along the rockers.
Justin knew the truck needed to be blue, but he wanted it to still be a custom color, so he and Chad used a Nissan 350Z blue as inspiration and mixed a little of this and a little of that to create what you see here. On the top half of the truck, a darker version of the Nissan blue is broken up by a black graphic with a lighter shade of candy blue making up the bottom half of the Ram. Bugs Seagul, also from Metal Asylum, pinstriped the black graphic in baby blue and a subtle purple pinstripe adds character to the body and serves as the divider color of the two different blues. A Leer 800 series tonneau cover caps off the bed, which is protected by a Mopar BedRug, and is fitted with ANZO USA LED tail lights for added style and safety. The grille shell has been sprayed black and the grille's crossbars have been cut to make room for a sweet T-Rex one-piece mesh grille. ANZO USA projector headlights flank the grille and the two front end parts provide the Ram with a unique look that is anything but stock.
Metal Asylum was also responsible for the suspension, as Chad opened up his toolbox and got to work removing the stock components from the brand-new Dodge. Up front, Airbagit upper and lower adjustable Air Arms were bolted onto McGaughy's 2-inch drop spindles, and fitted with Airbagit DeNominator-II 2600 airbags. Out back, Airbagit 3800 airbags were bolted onto the factory five-link suspension using custom Airbagit billet spacers and a McGaughy's trac bar relocator keeps the axle true with the air out. Airbagit shocks keep the Dodge comfortable on the highways and an Airbagit Air-Engine controls the air management for the 'bags. Tucking under each fender, elegant Gianelle Santorini wheels, size 26x10 inches, are wrapped in 305/30R26 Nitto NT420S tires. Adding the perfect touch, Giovanna Koko Kuture Lipstick bezels were painted candy blue to match the body and complement the matte black wheels. The look is understated class with a touch of custom—just what the guys were hoping for.
Up front, black ANZO USA projector headlights flank a one-piece T-Rex mesh grille that was
Looking both elegant and sinister, 26-inch Gianelle Santorini matte black wheels feature b
Powering the Ram is a 5.7L Hemi, which by itself makes 390 hp, but Justin couldn't leave the engine alone and bolted on a Volant cool-air intake, Banks Monster exhaust with 3-inch turndown for the 'bags, and to keep the engine dialed in for the bigger wheels, a Superchips Flashpaq programmer controls the computer. Chad dressed up the engine by painting the Volant intake tube, filter box, Hemi engine cover, and fuse box. Now, under the hood looked just as good as the candy blue exterior.
Focusing on the interior, every modification had to be a wise one, as the truck was brand-new and Justin had plans to drive the truck and enjoy it. Cardenal Car Stereo, in Glendale, Arizona, was the next place to visit. While in Cardenal's care, the Ram was fitted with an Alpine IVA-W203 double-din DVD/Nav/iPod head unit and Alpine Type-S 6 1/2-inch components housed in painted fiberglass pods in each door. Bass is supplied by two Polk Audio MM1240DVC 12-inch shallow-mount subs in a factory-looking box under the rear seat that was built by the talented installers at Cardenal. Keeping the juice flowing to all of the speakers, three Polk Audio amps, two PA250.1 and one PA1200.1, provide the instant power to fill the cabin with high-decibel tunes. Before installing all of the interior's plastics, Chad picked up several vital pieces from Cardenal and painted them candy blue to match the rest of the truck. With the interior taking shape, Cardenal removed the factory headrests and then wrapped the seats in Roadwire bone and black leather. All that was left to do now was take the truck out for its maiden voyage and hope for good weather.
Five weeks to the day, clear blue skies and a beautiful sunset provided the backdrop to a seemingly impossible photo shoot. Justin, Chad, and the Cardenal team had done it. And to think, it only took one phone call to make it happen. A paradox indeed.
Justin and I would both like to thank Chad at Metal Asylum Kustom Finishes, the entire Cardenal Car Stereo team, Diko and Ron at Giovanna Wheels, Tim at Nitto Tire, Joe, Travis, and Aaron at Airbagit, Brian at Roadwire, Dean at Polk Audio, Victor at T-Rex, Suzie at ANZO USA, Volant, Banks, Superchips, Mopar, and especially his two boys, Ashtun and Gaige, and the rest of his family, who support him continuously during all of his crazy projects.