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2003 Dodge Ram 1500- Road to Riches

Started From the Bottom, Now He’s Here

Phil Gordon
Dec 14, 2018
Photographers: Phil Gordon
People decide to customize trucks for many reasons. Some use their vehicle as a way to flaunt their finances, others to show off their talents in the shop, and sometimes it’s simply because that’s what they grew up around and it’s all they know. For Abe Silva of Albuquerque, New Mexico, his build was not for any of those reasons. It was much more personal. It’s hard to imagine somebody having a much harder life than the way Abe grew up. Abused by his parents, Abe was on his own, living on the streets at 16 years old. “I had to sneak into my own home so I could steal food,” Abe remembers. “I wouldn’t wish this life on anyone.” After sleeping in parks and even the back seat of cars, Abe knew there had to be something out there for him.
Photo 2/16   |   2003 Dodge Ram 1500 Road To Riches Drive
He met his now wife Joy at 18. When she became pregnant, Abe began to strive for better things, because he was no longer living his life just for himself. After being able to get odd jobs, Abe purchased his first vehicle, a Dodge Neon, because it was simply the cheapest new car he could purchase. As a result of being neglected and not standing out throughout his childhood, he decided to customize his Neon so he could be noticed and respected. He used magazines for motivation and articles on builds to design his compact car to show-quality status.
Photo 3/16   |   2003 Dodge Ram 1500 Road To Riches Rear
As he began working hard in the restaurant business, Abe decided it was time to purchase a tow pig so he could transport his custom Neon to car shows. He went back to the same Dodge dealership and purchased a brand-new ’03 Dodge Ram 1500. “The only way I would be able to purchase this truck,” Abe tells Truckin, “was if I got one without a radio and with manual windows and a standard transmission.” Abe couldn’t even pick the color of the new Ram, but it didn’t matter to him because it was only going to be used to transport his Neon. For the next two years, the Ram did its job flawlessly as the perfect tow pig. Throughout this time, Abe started reading Truckin to find ways to make his Ram more efficient and useful. That research led him to want to customize his Dodge Ram. An opportunity arose to open his own restaurant, but he lacked the startup funds. He sold his prized Dodge Neon for $7,000 and was able to start the business.
Photo 4/16   |   2003 Dodge Ram 1500 Road To Riches Interior
Once he parted with his custom compact car, Abe turned his attention to the Dodge Ram. He enlisted his friend Daniel Lujan, who did all the fabrication on the Ram during the weekend so Abe could drive the truck during the week for work. It took three years for Daniel to get the fabrication done, including adding the widened fenders, all the bodywork, and the suspension to get the Dodge paint-ready. The entire body was sandblasted to metal and brought to B-Mac of Duke City Auto Body for the next step: a complete color change with graphics and pinstriping. The final paint step was a custom-airbrushed wood bed floor to add a custom touch. Abe upgraded the Status grille and added 26-inch custom staggered wheels to the finished product.
Photo 5/16   |   2003 Dodge Ram 1500 Road To Riches Bed
Photo 6/16   |   2003 Dodge Ram 1500 Road To Riches Rear Frame Batteries
Photo 7/16   |   2003 Dodge Ram 1500 Road To Riches Wheel
The Road to Riches build began with the influence of Truckin and the wisdom and knowledge from the editors, past and present. Abe and his wife, Joy, now have two boys, Philip and Israel Silva, who have become the biggest fans of Abe’s build. Although they never experienced or felt what Abe has been through during his teen years, the stories have made them understand you have to work hard to get what you want in life. Abe’s experience is something of a motivational story, as he morphed from a young child on the streets—often lost and ignored—to a man who graced the pages of the magazine he grew up admiring and reading.

Inside the Build

Year/Make/Model: ’03 Dodge Ram 1500
Owner and City/State: Abe Silva; Albuquerque, New Mexico
Club Affiliation: Baliztik Truck Club
Chassis:
Front Suspension: Slam Specialties RE8 airbags, raised upper control arms, tubular lower control arms from Ekstensive Metalworks, custom tie rods from NFamus, Fox shocks with custom brackets
Rear Suspension: 12-inch step notch bag on bar, triangulated four-link built by Daniel Lujan of D-Lue Kustom Fabrication, Slam Specialties RE8 airbags, Fox shocks with reservoirs, 5-gallon air tank, dual stealth black Viair 480 compressors, custom fuel cell
Drivetrain:
Engine: 3.7L 226ci, Flowmaster exhaust done by Daniel Lujan, dual RedTop Optima batteries relocated to rear frame, billet battery box, cross-drilled and slotted rotors by R1 Concepts
Transmission: Five-speed manual transmission
Body/Paint: Shaved taillights, tailgate, and molded rollpan; 2-inch cowl hood; rear wheeltubs and suspension window; 3-inch-widened bedsides; tubbed firewall; flush-mounted 52-inch lightbar; two-tone Viper Green with gold basecoat and Metallic Tan and Brown bottom; custom tribal graphics drawn by Gerald Wayan at Martin Renderings; Lime Green pinstripe; headlights color-matched; paint performed by B-Mac at Duke City Auto Body; replicated dark wood panels painted over raised bed floor; full spray liner underneath bed; AVS LED taillights; Harley-Davidson flush billet fuel filler cap; custom mesh grille by Status Grilles
Interior: Tan suede; crocodile and snakeskin full-wrapped interior; custom carpet and headliner; interior work done by Mario Sisneros of Gotcha Covered Upholstery
Stereo: Alpine head unit; one 12-inch Rockford Fosgate P1 Punch subwoofer in enclosed fiberglass box wrapped in suede; four-channel Rockford Fosgate amplifier; 32-inch flush-mounted TV screen in back window; three 13-inch screens in back of front seats and armrests; eight monitors throughout interior all installed by Gabe Padilla
Wheels & Tires:
Wheels: 26x9, 26x10; Magnum Forged Pulse, 4.5-inch chrome spike lugs
Tires: 275/25R26 and 255/30R26; Carbon CS88
Special Thanks: I want to thank God; my beautiful wife, Joy, and our two boys, Philip and Israel; my new granddaughter, Ava Ray; Daniel Lujan for being an amazing friend; B-Mac from Duke City Auto Body; Bill and Mario at Gotcha Covered Upholstery; Status Grilles; Viair Corp; Alfredo at A-T Tire and Custom Wheels; Jorel at Magnum Forged; and everyone who helped motivate me to be a better person

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