Twenty-three-year-old Joe De Sousa has always had a knack for automotive customization. Born in Miami, Joe worked on his father's farm as he grew up, acquiring a business sense that he still values today. His parents were concerned about purchasing a car for young Joe, so to prepare him for the war zone that is Miami traffic, they bought him a four-wheeler. Within months, the off-road machine was painted and customized to the extent that the teenager was being asked to join car clubsdespite not even being old enough to drive.

Several years later, when the time came to purchase his first vehicle, Joe naturally wanted to stand out from his peers. In the South Florida market, where lifted suspensions and hydraulics are commonplace, Joe bought a brand-new Dodge Ram 1500, intent on applying the same pattern of creativity he had demonstrated in the past. He was also looking forward to thoroughly voiding his new truck's warranty. His first step was to bring the Ram to Red's Hydraulics in Miami, Florida, where Frank built and installed a custom four-link in the rear. The front was slammed with 2-inch drop spindles and Slam Specialties airbags, which would be activated by a pair of nitrogen tanks in the bed.

Joe recalls, "I wanted to bring a little Miami flavor to the Dodge," so he contacted Mike Ledda, a friend and expert automotive fabricator in South Florida. Mike began by stripping the body to the bare metal and shaving the sides of the truck, from the door handles to the taillights. The hood was also fitted with a linear actuator and tilted for show purposes. For a unique touch, the cab and the bed were welded together, giving the profile a smooth line that flows from bumper to bumper. Suicide doors were installed, the tailgate was shaved, and tractor-trailer taillights were added behind a custom-built template. The big Dodge rolls on a set of 26x10-inch D'Vinci Attivo wheels, which fill the wheelwells nicely when the Ram hits the ground.

Once the bodywork was complete, it was time for Kaos to head to the paint booth. Mike Ledda again took the reins by laying down a House of Kolor Orion Silver base, followed by two gallons of House of Kolor Kandy Apple Red. Rek from RekAirBrush followed up with the distinctive airbrush work, creating a twisted pattern of tribal graphics and skulls. The paint colors also flow into the interior, now boasting a custom-built, floating center console holding Dakota Digital gauges. The seats were wrapped in red suede with black leather inserts to create contrast. Ledda added the perfect finishing touch, an audiophile-quality stereo based on a Kenwood DVD flip-out head unit, fourteen MMATS mids and highs and four 10-inch Digital Design 3500-series subs, all powered by four Memphis 1100-watt amplifiers. The sonic profile is fine-tuned using a Kenwood equalizer. Audiovisual additions include new fiberglass panels in the suicide doors that showcase a pair of crowd-pleasing 15-inch monitors.

The final result, dubbed Kaos, is without a doubt one of the best new trucks to come out of the vibrant metropolis that is South Florida. Thanks to Joe's creativity and Mike Ledda's skill, this Dodge stands out among the region's most extreme customs. Joe, his girlfriend Katie, and their 18-month-old daughter Aubrey are seen cruising in the truck on a regular basis with Rollin', a Miami-based car club. "I didn't build it to park it," Joe says smiling. As the owner of a successful nursery and landscaping business with outlets throughout the state, Joe is grateful that the only Kaos in his life is parked in his garage.

"I didn't build it to park it," Joe says smiling.

Inside the Build

Year Make Model:
2005 Dodge Ram 1500

Owner and City/State:
Joe De Sousa Miami, Florida

Engine
Type: 4.7L V-8
Exhaust: Custom shortened with turndown tips
Output: 240hp, 300 lb-ft of torque

Drivetrain
Transmission: 545RFE five-speed automatic

Chassis
Front suspension: 2-inch drop spindles, Slam Specialties airbags
Rear suspension: Custom four-link, Slam Specialties airbags

Wheels & Tires
Wheels: 26x10-inch D'Vinci Attivo
Tires: 275/25R26 Clear HP166rndown tips
Output: 240hp, 300 lb-ft of torque

Drivetrain
Transmission: 545RFE five-speed automatic

Chassis
Front suspension: 2-inch drop spindles, Slam Specialties airbags
Rear suspension: Custom four-link, Slam Specialties airbags

Wheels & Tires
Wheels: 26x10-inch DVinci Attivo
Tires: 275/25R26 Clear HP166