In today’s politically correct culture, every kid playing a sport gets a ridiculous “participation trophy,” so it may seem like a sound bite on ESPN to hear a grown man say Second Place never once entered his mind. The silver medal was never an option when building this ’13 Ram HD for Tim Nicolau Designs (TND) in Ceres, California. Tim sent us a sneak peek of his Ram’s suspension before he unveiled it to the masses at the 2013 SEMA show in Las Vegas, and all we could say was, “You did what?” Gold -- not just the shiny spray-paint junk you buy at the parts store, but real, 24-karat gold -- is found on nearly the entire suspension. It’s a bold statement. It’s also taking the custom truck world to the level often found with high-end lowrider show cars. One thing is for sure: Love it or hate it, there’s no missing this Ram HD.

Tim Nicolau Designs began the gold odyssey with a brand-new 2013 Ram 2500 with 47 miles on the odometer. Disassembly of the factory suspension began immediately, and an order was placed for a Kelderman 8- to 10-inch adjustable air-ride lift kit. Once the kit arrived in raw steel finish, it was painstakingly plated in 24-karat gold. Each piece of the suspension that wasn’t gold-plated was dipped in chrome for the ultimate in blinged-out undercarriages. Adding to the intricate attention to detail, several key pieces were also engraved in a crisscross pattern that would match the soon-to-be-painted graphic along the body. Topping off the amazing craftsmanship, LED accent lights were installed to light up the handiwork for all to see and help onlookers better appreciate the effort involved. Before you send your hate mail about a truck having a gold-plated undercarriage, keep in mind everything is functional, so if Tim wanted to, he could go off-roading around the farm. However, the thought of cleaning it all may just be enough to restrain him. Making the most of the massive ride height, Toyo’s new 40-inch tires were mounted to 24-inch American Force Nightmare FP8 wheels with matching gold-plated faceplates.

To create a body that would complement the insane undercarriage, Tim enlisted the help of Don Serrano, owner of Serrano Custom Designs, also in Ceres. Together, the two men envisioned a graphic that would stand out but also tie in with the engraved 24-karat gold-plated suspension. Emblazoned across each side is a honeycomb-like design that makes the eye believe there is more gold underneath the gloss black exterior. Up front, a similarly gold-plated Royalty Core RC2 mesh grille with gold-plated Royalty Core sword assembly emblem creates a killer leading edge. Finishing off the front end, a smoothed and painted Fab Fours bumper with Flog Julz D-rings is capped off with a Rigid LED lightbar complete with gold-plated housing. Mounted atop the roof thanks to a TND bracket, dual 50-inch Rigid LED lightbars also feature custom gold housings. Out back, a Fab Fours bumper protects the bed, and a gold-plated Backbone headache rack with LED lights adds to the off-road look.

Inside the Ram, the factory leather was left unmolested, as was the Alpine audio. Upgrades to the Cummins turbodiesel include an H&S Mini Maxx tuner, MBRP 5-inch exhaust, and Volant cool-air intake. Taking home the gold medal is no easy task, but we feel this Ram takes the top prize for craftsmanship and a willingness to push the custom truck boundaries. No question this 2500 is controversial -- people either love it or hate it. We can appreciate the hard work and creativity that went into this build, but we want to know your thoughts. Go to facebook.com/truckinmag and let your voice be heard.


2013 Ram 2500HD
Owner:Tim Nicolau Designs
City/State: Ceres, California
ENGINE
Type: 6.7L Cummins turbodiesel
Induction: Volant cool-air intake
Exhaust: MBRP stainless exhaust
Tuner: H&S Mini Maxx
Built By: TND
DRIVETRAIN
Transmission: 68RFE six-speed auto
Brakes: Chromed and 24-karat gold-plated OEM
Front Suspension: 8- to 10-inch Kelderman air-ride
Rear Suspension: 8- to 10-inch Kelderman air-ride
WHEELS AND TIRES
Wheels: 24x14 American Force Nightmare FP8
Tires: 40x15.50R24 Toyo Open Country M/T

TND built this special lightbar bracket to house the dual 50-inch Rigid LED lights. As you can see, each housing was also plated in 24-karat gold for the ultimate in luxury.

LED accent lights illuminate every aspect of the undercarriage, including the gold-plated Kelderman shock housings.

Several pieces were hand engraved, which elevates the build level to that more commonly seen on lowriders.

Attention to detail is superb, as each bolt head and nut were covered with smoothed or spiked chrome caps.

A real conversation starter, the 24-inch American Force faceplate wheels are wrapped in Toyo’s new 40-inch M/T tire.