The rebirth of Ed and Ruth West's Dodge truck started while looking for a daily driver. Ed was seeking a fixer-upper to conserve mileage on his '94 V10 and spotted this Dodge truck for sale in the Deals on Wheels magazine. When Ed and Ruth went to see the truck, Ruth was shocked and disappointed-with the exception of the grill and tailgate, the truck looked like a crumpled piece of metal. Ed was excited-he saw a truck with only 12,000 miles, a straight frame, and an intact working drivetrain-a "real find" as he put it. After convincing Ruth, the purchase was made.
Since Ed had more time than money, the rebuilding process would be a challenge. He made many calls and visits to salvage yards to keep costs down. The truck was initially brought to the local technical college in Norfolk, Nebraska, where the auto body class received lots of hands-on experience. All the exterior sheetmetal was replaced except for the tailgate. Ed tells us that it was at this point of the restoration that "the truck was starting to look like a truck again."
To achieve the stance Ed wanted, he went to AIMS Industries and purchased a 3-4-inch lowering kit. AIMS also supplied a tailgate handle relocation kit-a roll pan with built-in billet aluminum grilles. These grilles have 1211/42-inch long LED lights mounted behind them, transforming them into the new taillights. The original taillight locations were eliminated as custom black outs were welded into place. This gives the Ram the smoothed look Ed wanted.
Ed continued the smooth look by adding a tonneau cover formed from a piece of flat aluminum and reinforced with angle aluminum extrusions. Creating a latch that wasn't bulky needed some creativity; he started by trying various cables and latches with no luck. After putting his head together with a friend, they came up with the idea to use a hydraulic system from a power convertible. Now the cover raises and lowers with a flick of a switch.
With all the new sheetmetal installed and body modifications complete, it was time to give the Dodge a great finish. Ed handed the truck over to Becker's Bodyshop who applied a coat of Hemi Orange paint. Circumnavigating the tail end of the Dodge is a black bumble bee stripe. This stripe was applied on the inside as well as the outside of the tonneau cover.
Ed tells us he and his wife like the simplicity of the stock interior and, with the exception of the Rose Wood dash kit from Dashboards Plus, they left it as it came from the factory.
With only 12,000 miles on the drivetrain, the sole underhood mods include a K&N air filter and a set of Mopar valve covers from Archer Racing.
To finish the Dodge, Ed purchased a set of Colorado Custom Boulder Wheels in a 17x8 size for the front and 17x9-11/42s for the rear. Mounted on the wheels are BFG T/As in 245/45ZR17s up front and 305/45ZR17s out back.
Ed now enjoys bringing the Dodge to area car shows and listening to all the comments made about it. Ruth now worries what Ed will be up to next. When she comments that "nothing else could be done," Ed looks at her quietly and smiles.