2016 Ram 1500 Hellfire
Sport Truck on Steroids
Mike White grew up smack dab in the middle of the performance street-truck era and had inappropriate teenage dreams of Chevy 454 SSs and Ford F-150 Lightnings. He always had an affinity for trucks that could not only be fast but had come from the factory that way.
Fast forward some years later, and Mike is a salesman for Dallas Dodge. He was staring at an SRT Hellcat and wondering if the from-the-factory motor could be shoehorned into a ’16 RAM 1500 for the ultimate factory-looking tire burner. An idea was born out of that question, and Mike dove into this project with all the gumption of a fearless teenager jumping a sketchy ramp on his skateboard.
The first hurdle was the suspension, and more importantly, how to get the correct stance. So Mike installed a set of McGaughys drop spindles and mated them with Belltech Progressive shocks. The rear was handled in a decidedly old-school hot-rod way by modifying some McGaughys springs to achieve the 7-inch drop needed to fit the fenders and bedsides over the 22x11 Forgeline forged alloys shod with 325/30R22 Continental ContiSport Contact tires.
Mike made an order from Mopar Performance, and a 6.2L Hemi EFI complete factory engine arrived. The tech at Dallas Dodge immediately ripped into it. Dimensionally the same as the stock 5.7L that it replaced, the 6.2L dropped right in with little fanfare. But the devil is in the details, as the job now was to make this 1500 think it was a Challenger equipped with a Hellcat. The dealer techs had their work cut out for them integrating the 6.2L wiring harness into the stock harness, which threw up a multitude of engine codes.
One of the biggest hurdles came when bypassing the secondary fuel pump that the Challenger was designed for and tricking the computer to sip from a single mechanical fuel pump. “Needless to say, a lot of rewiring and a reflash had to happen,” Mike says. “Luckily, our top tech here at Dallas Dodge, Glen Pribenow was up to the job.”
Many physical modifications had to happen. The engine oil cooler had to be relocated, and the oil circulator was bypassed in favor of a manual pump from Magnuson Superchargers. Even the oil pan fought them and had to be modified to fit its new home. They added a K&N true cold-air intake, and some Kooks headers and exhaust to let the Hellcat inhale and exhale a little easier.
With the motor slotting into the stock position in the engine bay, the stock 8-speed transmission was able to bolt up without any modifications. The only hurdle that faced local engine tuner Andy Moye, of Prime Tuning in Ft. Worth, Texas, was to dial in the whole system and make this monster pump iron. With the idea of a light gross vehicle weight being teamed up with a larger amount of displacement, the old sport-truck spirit was alive and well in this single-cab short-box platform.
To complete the stance and give it a competitive edge on the track, a set of TruFiber fiberglass fenders meant for a ’15 Mustang were sectioned a full 4 inches and ’glassed back into shape. For the paint scheme, the Dallas boys wanted an all-business look with a dead-on flat-black base with a gloss-red stripe running off center. Those red mirror caps were a slight afterthought to tie-in to the red stripe and wheel colors, as well as to add a little visual breakup in the sea of black. Vastines Paint Garage out of Royse City, Texas, handled all the spray work.
The interior carried that same Spartan attitude as the dash. The AC and stereo was left stock, but the comfort of the driver was addressed with a Katzkin black-suede leather swap handled through South Side Trim in Ft. Worth. It didn’t quite come from the factory, but now Mike finally had his factory-style tire burner. That answered his question of whether it was possible to cram all that power into a sport truck!
Inside the buildYear/Make/Model: 2016 Ram 1500
Owner and City/State: Mike White; Farmersville, Texas
Front Suspension: McGaughys drop spindles, Belltech Progressive shocks
Rear Suspension: Belltech shocks with modified McGaughys springs
Brakes: Rotora 8-piston front and 4-piston rear, carbon ceramic disks
Engine: 6.2L SRT Hellcat swap, Kooks header and exhaust, custom tune by Andy Moye of Prime Tuning in Ft. Worth, Texas
Transmission: Stock eight-speed
Body: TruFiber widebody fender kit originally for a ’15 Mustang, cut and sectioned 4 inches, matte black with red racing stripe and red mirrors painted by Vastines Paint Garage, Royse City, Texas
Katzkin black suede leather swap, installed by South Side Trim in Ft. Worth
Wheels & Tires:
Wheels: 22x11; Forgeline Tires: 325/30R22; Continental