A Ram Tuckin' Rim and Causing Trouble
Perfection, patience, and pleasure are all words attributed to the world of truck customizing. Each of those three words, however, are easier said than done and in the case of Dennis Phillips' '02 Dodge Ram, without each of these phases of the truck customizing world his rig would not be the picture of beauty seen here. As an auto painter by trade, the Stonewall, Mississippi, resident is accustomed to using his patience everyday in order to create paint perfection, and later having moments of reflection resulting in pure automotive pleasure. When it came down to perfecting his own ride, patience was the key to achieving the proper show-look while maintaining everyday functionality.
Through the eyes of the custom-truck lover, the truck must either tuck rim and lay frame, or be so high in the air a forklift is needed to enter and depart. Dennis chose to go with the lowrider look as soon as he saw the new body style of the '02-and-later Rams. To achieve the lowered stance, the truck was driven to Ekstensive Metal Works, in Houston, Texas, where the entire suspension setup was prepared and installed. Up front, the nose is closer to the asphalt, thanks to a set of Firestone 'bags, and out back an Ekstensive Metal Works two-link suspension along with a set of Firestone 'bags keeps the rear low. Special wheelwells were made to tuck big wheels out back, and a center cross-section was raised over the bed floor to compensate for the airbags. A 15-gallon custom aluminum fuel tank was also installed to keep the scraping to a minimum. As an added bonus, the air suspension system is remote controlled for those moments when Dennis wants to draw some attention to his ride. With 14 inches of total drop, attention is not a problem. Suspension completed, it was now time to move on to rolling stock.
Whereas the stock wheels were nice-looking, no custom truck owner could leave the factory wheels on the truck. After a quick look through the Vision Wheels catalog, a set was chosen. Vision 165 wheels measuring 22x9.5 inches were mounted on each corner wrapped in Pirelli P265/35R22 rubberbands.
Ride height and wheels by themselves do not result in custom-truck perfection, and with a little more patience it was time to bring the truck to Dennis' home shop, Rolison's Paint and Body, of Quitman, Mississippi. Once the lowered truck drove into the bay, he proceeded to shave the antenna, fuel-filler door, and tailgate handle. Next up, Dennis bolted on a set of Xenon fender flares, a Reflexxion cowl-induction hood, a Sir Michaels roll pan, and a Gaylord's tonneau. The fuel filler was relocated to the inside of the bed, and the bed was then treated to the appropriate bed coating. Happy with the body mods, Dennis turned his attention to his skill with a paint gun.
The DuPont Flame Red was laid down, and then he masked off the graphics and flames along the sides of the Ram. House of Kolor Tangelo Pearl and Sunset Pearl were used to make the Ram stand out, while also giving the truck a subtle muscular appearance. To finish off the exterior, a JBM upper and lower billet grille was installed to give the Ram some extra attitude. Patience was beginning to run thin, and although Dennis knew the truck looked killer, he wanted more than looks. After a quick glance inside, we realized Dennis did wait and finish off the Ram's custom potential with a huge dose of paint, audio/video, and creativity.
Dennis and friend Sean Norcross went on a mission to make the inside of the Ram a custom showcase, building on factory good looks and enlisting a great deal of imagination. Alpine was the manufacturer of choice for the audio/video goodies. The CVA-1005 head unit is connected to an Alpine surround sound processor, which sends the signals to two Alpine MRV F450 amps pumping juice to the highs, mids, and Alpine subs in the custom center console. The sounds can be enjoyed while watching DVDs, playing PS2, or even while listening to the Alpine XM satellite radio. The custom-molded and painted center console houses the Alpine CD changer, sound processor, and gauges/switches for the 'bags.
The monitor and DVD player were molded into the painted dash, and a Billet Specialties Chicayne steering wheel finishes off the dash modifications. Taylor's Upholstery of Vossburg, Mississippi, is responsible for the red vinyl additions to the factory fabric seats, keeping the color-matched theme going strong through the interior.A killer system without the proper voltage is an expensive, ineffective investment. To ensure the alternator has plenty of juice, two Optima Red Top batteries were relocated inside the bed in a custom enclosure. The engine also received some attention with a custom air intake, Flowmaster exhaust, and a relocated computer/fuse box to clear the deuce-deuces.
Dennis' patience in building this truck paid off, and speaking of paying off, Dennis will be paying off this investment for quite some time. But, ask him if it was worth it and we are sure he would reply with a definitive yes. Pleasure is easy to come by now; all it took was patience, and now Dennis truly has perfection.