We're accustomed to seeing asphalt-hugging Dakota pickups, but Rams are another matter entirely. For starters, most street-truck customizers choose the Dakota over the Ram to better fit the conventional cruizer profile. And for many weekend tweakers, turning a Ram into a styling ride would be akin to dressing a gorilla in a tuxedo. It takes a lot of work.
Dennis Day of Lima, Ohio, never had any such concerns or hesitations. A full-size-truck kind of guy (in addition to this '95 Ram, he owns an '87 Ram- charger 4x4 and an '82 Ramcharger 4x2), Dennis knew that his vision of pick 'em up truck excellence would require a big canvas. That order was filled when he bought a 360-powered regular cab Ram new in 1995. The modification began immediately, with Dennis adding accessories here and there, yet at the time, he didn't know where the creative-wrenching process would take him.
As it turned out, it sent him to the outer edge.
"The build-up process was lower it, lower it, and lower it again," says Dennis. "Once you have a lowrider truck, you're hooked."
To lower the Ram so it could look a snake dead in the eye, Dennis had to do serious work in the suspension department-specifically, ditching the springs. That's right. There's not a coil or leaf pack on the truck. Dennis replaced the front coils with airbags and pitched the rear leafs in favor of a four-link/Panhard bar setup and airbags. A compressor and dual tanks mounted in the cargo box supply the air on demand. Rolling stock now consists of 18x8 Enkei SST-2 wheels wrapped in a sliver of Yokohama 255/45/ZR18 rubber.
"The most difficult aspect," says Dennis, "was using a plasma cutter on a truck with less than 15,000 miles to fit the airbags in front."
Naturally, a belly-scraping Ram would look peculiar without a healthy dollop of aesthetic reconfiguring. When the time came to chew some sheetmetal, Dennis and son Matt attacked the project with hearty appetites.
Dennis tells us, "Friends and coworkers helped off and on, but the bulk of the work was a father-son project. My 17-year-old son, Matt, has been my right-hand man. He can do it all-plasma cut, TIG or MIG weld, laminate fiberglass, mix and spray paint, polish and buff metals, airbrush, and build speaker boxes."
Matt enjoyed a lot of body-art practice with his dad's truck. The Ram has an RC Performance ram-air hood modified with a special panel to function with a reworked airbox by Terry Delong of Pro Glass. The truck also features a custom bumper cover, front-air dam, and grille assembly, and Dennis altered the hood so the grille stays in place when the hood is lifted. In back, the father-son duo added a custom roll pan and tailgate, installed Cadillac taillights, and shaved the gas-tank door. The truck is coated in the original Flame Red.