We really have World War II vets to thank for the original hot-rod movement. Coming home from the war with money in their pockets, the need for speed, and the mechanical know-how, many of the original hot rodders earned their stripes overseas. Taking old Ford Flathead engines and souping them up, then using airplane fuel tanks and transforming them into the fastest things on the Bonneville Salt Flats, the old-school gearheads wanted their daily drivers to match their thrill-seeking side. Enter the world of chop-top Mercs, flamed and scalloped Chevy trucks, and of course, vivid paint colors that the original auto designers couldn’t have imagined. Those original cars are considered timeless, as they broke the mold and survived life’s progression of family, work, and eventually retirement, oftentimes being stored in a garage with boxes stacked on top. When it came time to give our ’09 Ram a refresh, we wanted to give a nod to the original customizers and say “thank you” in our own way. With that in mind, we proudly present Lead Sled.

It all started with a rendering from Eye Kandy Designs, and once we ironed out the color combos, flame style, wheel designs, and stance, we got to work making our high-end Ram look more befitting a ’50s cruise-in. Our first area of business was the suspension. As we showed you in Issue 7, Ekstensive Metalworks in Houston handled slamming our Ram to the Texas tarmac. Using their own lower A-arms, relocated upper A-arm mounts, and Firestone ’bags to get the front end down, the Ekstensive team also notched the firewall, fabricated trailer fenders for the front tires, and relocated the battery and ECU. Out back, Bill, Derek, Josh, and Rudy fabricated a C-notch, added two new crossmembers, and added a trick sliding three-link wishbone setup that provides a smooth ride and dumped stance. A total of four Viair compressors (two 444s and two 400Cs) fill the 7-gallon tank, while ½-inch copper lines feed the airbags via four ½-inch Parker valves. With the air out of the ’bags, our Ram looks body-dropped, and it easily swallows up the 26-inch wheels, but more on those later.

We know the original hot rodders couldn’t leave their factory engines alone, and we completely understand their obsession with speed. Fueling our fire for an adrenaline rush, we drove up to Ventura, California, and met up with the supercharger pros at MagnaCharger. Before the MagnaCharger supercharger install, the Ram was only putting 238 hp to the wheels. It’s amazing how much power big wheels and tires soak up. Eight hours after the install began, our Ram, despite its custom engine bay, was laying down 378 hp to the massive rear wheels. That power increase can be felt throughout the rpm range, and for those of you curious, our blown Hemi returned 20.4 mpg during the drive home to Southern California. It ain’t Prius figures, but it sure looks sick rolling down the freeway 2 inches off the ground.

With our Ram running strong and tucking 26s, we needed an old-school paintjob to give it the feel of a bona fide lead sled. Talking over some ideas with custom bike, car, and truck painter, Buck Ramirez of Buck Wild Paint Designs, we expressed our desire to see long-lick, wispy Ohio-style flames. Love ’em or hate ’em, flames haven’t lasted the last 70 years for no reason, and when it comes to hot licks, Buck does ’em right. Using House of Kolor paints from Coast Airbrush in Anaheim, California, and primer and materials from B&D Auto Paint Supply in Pomona, California, Buck set out to make over the Ram’s aesthetics. The nose of the Ram was sprayed in a custom mix of House of Kolor Black with Gold mini flake and Ice Pearl for a truly unique look. After masking off the black flames, the Orion Silver flames were applied, followed by another masking and the final coat of Blue Blood Red. Giving the licks a real ’50s feel, Buck airbrushed the insides of the Orion Silver flames with Gold flake. Once the clear was applied and the paint cut and buffed, the flake’s sparkle was a sight to behold. Removing the previous builds’ bolt-ons, we went with a more streamlined look by way of factory headlights from LMC Truck, an OE hood, Paramount Restyling mesh grille, and Gaylord’s tonneau cover. Front to rear, Recon HID and LED lighting provides night-piercing brightness. Finishing off the new exterior, gorgeous 26-inch Raceline Blast wheels were bolted onto each corner and wrapped in Toyo tires.

Inside the flamed doors, 714 Motorsports in Westminster, California, used their upholstery talents to create an interior that would feel at home inside a high-end Range Rover. Black and red leather abound with a diamond-stitch pattern found on the seats, while black suede covers the pillars, visors, and headliner. Our favorite tunes can be heard from Pioneer’s Stage 3 audio products, including two brain-rattling 12-inch Champion Series PRO subs, four Class-D amps, and three pairs of 6½-inch separates. Controlling the audio and providing Bluetooth phone, navigation, and traffic updates, Pioneer’s flagship AVIC-Z140BH 7-inch touchscreen head unit does an incredible job of meeting all of our multimedia needs. Scosche handles the wiring.

You don’t see too many completely custom Rams cruising around the show scene, but when we arrive and lay out the fullsize, we’re always welcomed with thumbs up and nods of approval. With our hot rod metal-flaked flames and big billets, we think the likes of Von Dutch, Barris, Tom Kelly, and Big Daddy Roth would also approve. Special thanks go out to Buck Wild Designs, Ekstensive Metalworks, Toyo tires, Raceline wheels, Recon, Coast Airbrush, Paramount Restyling, Pioneer Electronics, and Viair.

You don’t see too many completely custom Rams cruising around the show scene

Inside the Build

Year Make Model: 2009 Dodge Ram
Owner and City/State: Truckin Magazine • Irvine, California

Engine:
Type: 5.7L HEMI
Induction: MagnaCharger TVS 2300 supercharger and K&N filter
Exhaust: Corsa dB after-cat
Fuel System: Magnuson high-flow fuel rails
Engine Management: DiabloSport Predator
Output: 378 rwhp and 386 lb-ft
Built by: MagnaCharger

Drivetrain:
Transmission: 545RFE five-speed auto
Rearend: Narrowed 6 inches total

Chassis:
Front suspension: Ekstensive Metalworks lower A-arms, upper relocation brackets, Firestone airbags, Ekstensive shocks, ½-inch copper lines
Rear suspension: Ekstensive Metalworks custom sliding three-link wishbone, Firestone airbags, Ekstensive shocks, ½-inch copper lines
Brakes: Baer 15-inch rotors with six-piston calipers up front and Baer Sport rotors in rear

Wheels & Tires:
Wheels: 26x10 Raceline Blast
Tires: 305/30R26 Toyo Proxes STII

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