Chevy and Ford trucks have long been our bread and butter, but when it came time to build our in-house project for 2010, we chose a '09 Dodge Ram. Since releasing the completely redesigned Ram, Dodge made a bold claim that they were no longer the odd manufacturer whose trucks would olay third fiddle to the other two Detroit powerhouses. Striking, yet sleek styling, incredible Hemi power, and an interior that oozes luxury, the Ram was our number one choice. Thankfully, with our help, many of the top aftermarket companies manufactured and released new products for Dodge's best offering, proving that the Ram is no longer the black sheep of fullsize trucks.
Starting with an '09 Dodge Ram Laramie, we had a great foundation, but our first goal was to make the interior worthy of a cover truck. Meeting with Katzkin, we ordered a complete two-tone leather upgrade for the front bench seat with sport buckets flanking each side. Now, our truck is adorned with grey and red leather Katzkin covers with contrasting red stitching and Truckin' logos, of course. Our next trip was to Audio Innovations, in Glendora, California, where Joe Provenzano got to work installing an arsenal of Pioneer audio gear. Controlling the audio mayhem is Pioneer's flagship, the AVIC-Z1100BT, complete with the just-released 120 update to make the head unit the most tech-savvy piece in the truck. A pair of Pioneer Premier 12-inch shallow-mount subs are mounted in a custom sub box under the rear seat, and power is supplied by two Pioneer amps. Found in each door, Pioneer 6 1/2-inch components mounted in custom fiberglass enclosures built by the Audio Innovations crew provide crystal clear mid- and high-level frequencies. HushMat sound deadening material was applied throughout the entire cabin for the ultra-quiet atmosphere that Dodge intended it to be. For added entertainment, we stuffed each headrest with a 7-inch monitor and DVD system from Mopar, added Mopar's exclusive WiFi mobile 3G router, and a backup camera from SPAL. Billet doorsill plates and under-the-dash LED lighting, also from Mopar, ensure that our Ram's interior looks its best at a moments notice.
Keeping with the luxury theme, we drove the truck to the professionals at L&G Enterprises, in San Dimas, California, where Theresa Contreras began the graphic design. Before any paint was applied, however, Chassis by Aaron welded in a sheetmetal roll pan and then L&G shaved the antennae and rear tailgate handle. A Mopar twin-scoop hood and body kit was also added, and includes a front air splitter and side moldings. Using the rendering created by R.J. at Eye Kandy Designs, Theresa laid down the graphic lines and applied the House of Kolor pigments. Up top, the Ram received House of Kolor black, and a Kandy Pagan Gold graphic splits the factory Red Crystal Pearl lower half. Striped in green, the gold graphics really pop in the sunshine. The tailgate serves as the graphics meeting point and ends in one of Theresa's signature setting sun graphics, applied in candy for a subtle touch. Theresa also took the time to coat the Ram's emblems in a subtle black chrome finish. Capping off the exterior's good looks, we added Anzo USA projector headlights stuffed with Xtralights.com HID bulbs, Anzo LED tail lights, and a Street Scene billet grille.
No truck is complete without the proper stance and rolling stock, which is why we contacted RideTech, MHT Wheels, and Nitto Tire for a look that screams custom. To handle the suspension while we took the photos, The Custom Truck Shop, also in San Dimas, bolted on RideTech's Stage 1 air-ride kit. Consisting of front Shockwaves, rear sleeved 'bags, and RideTech's exclusive RidePro e3 digital ride height control system, the Ram instantly took on a whole new persona. Forever transforming the Dodge into a bona fide showstopper, black 26-inch MHT Illusion wheels were bolted on. Theresa, at L&G Enterprises painted each wheel lip Kandy Gold for a truly custom look. Adding performance to each corner, Nitto NT420S tires, size 305/30R26, wrap each hoop. After several aggressive driving sessions, we realized two things: We needed bigger brakes and we needed larger anti-roll bars. Baer built a set of 15-inch rotors with six-piston calipers for the Ram that halt the beast on a dime, and ADDCO anti-sway bars keep body roll to a minimum during those "need for speed" cornering opportunities.
Speed comes easy for the Hemi-equipped Ram, but add to that already stout 390 HP a MagnaCharger supercharger, and you have the makings of a 520 HP monster. As the first Dodge truck to be equipped with the new Hemi MagnaCharger system, we're happy to report that smoky burnouts and high-speed passing is as easy as saying when. Smash the throttle and hold on, as your 9-5 stresses blow away one long, open road at a time. A dB Exhaust after-cat exhaust system provides a rumble that is ultra-quiet on the freeway and can wake the dead at full throttle. Keeping the highways clear of slow-moving minivans are four monster train horns from Hornblasters.com. One blip of the switch and naive pedestrians become Olympic high-jumpers-oh, the joy of train horns.
After all of the customization, our Ram was still a truck and keeping our bed secure is a Mopar tonneau cover, complete with under-rail LED lighting kit and Mopar BedRug kit. We will admit though, the only thing we haul anymore is the mail. Someone please cue "Back in Black."
It took us a year to turn our factory-fresh Ram into a truck worthy of its 15 minutes of fame, but we're completely happy with the end result. Well mostly, as rumor has it, the body touching the tarmac is in its near future thanks to the talented team at Ekstensive Metalworks. If you're venturing to SEMA, look out for the black sheep amongst fullsize custom trucks because this Ram is hard to forget.