There comes a time in every person's life when they must step back and take stock of a project truck. When you're so deep, deep, deep into a project that you can't see the light at the end of the work bench, when your wife dare not enter the garage for fear of being pelted by a flying Crescent wrench, when the money runs out and all hope is lost, you have to make a decision. You can either cut your losses and run as fast as you can away from that hole in the garage draining your pocketbook, run just as fast to the bar to spend your last buck on some suds to drown your sorrows, or simply take a break from the madness and pick up where you left off when you're in a better place, mentally. Each alternative has its merits, although we've never seen beer magically make bodywork disappear, and running away from home doesn't look too cool once you're out of high school. God knows we've seen quite a few projects change hands when the money runs out. We've also seen a bunch just wither away into a pile of rust after being pushed outside into the elements, only to be forgotten. Either scenario is a dismal end to something that had all the potential in the world to be a fun truck to drive, if you could just see it through to the end.
The following pages of Sport Truck are dedicated to some folks who have a great shot at seeing their projects through. Some are further along than others, and there's always a chance that a few won't make it to that magical land of painted sheetmetal and completed interiors. But, each owner has one thing in common: They are all nuts. These are arguably the most hardcore sport truck owners and builders on the planet. The trucks you are about to see are sick and wrong and we love them for it. They are long-term labors of love. Some have been under construction for five years or more. We'd be surprised to see a daily driver among this lot, even though a few are being built to be driven hard and fast. We have everything from insanely fast turbo'd mini-trucks to ultra-hammered fullsizes, so there's bound to be something you can glean inspiration from. So, sit back, relax, and hit the fan in the bathroom, because you're gonna be here for awhile drooling over the detail work of the best project trucks in America.
How many custom trucks do you think come out of the Lone Star State? Let's just say there's a lot of cool trucks being built in Texas, and sometimes these trucks are so wildly anticipated that we have to catch them in the works, so as not to miss a beat along the way. This '96 Dodge 3/4-ton-yeah, that's right, 3/4-ton-belongs to Mitch Rall of Spring, Texas, and also Ekstensive Metalworks of Houston, Texas. Many unbelievable trucks come out of this shop every year, and we watch them closely, so we can scoop them up and get them to our loyal Sport Truck readers.
When Mitch informed us that his 7-year-long project would be debuting at SEMA in Las Vegas this year with a promise of neck-breaking results, naturally we were all over it. Having been in the custom scene for more than 10 years and having the employer he does, Mitch is no stranger to knowing what it takes to build a feature-worthy truck. He decided to give this project his own special touch. He wanted it to have a little high-end street rod flavor to show some of the old-schoolers that young guys can do it, too-and we don't need a pre-'70s truck to do it. He also wanted to showcase the vast abilities of Ekstensive Metalworks, and we feel both objectives have been accomplished.
Mitch has strayed from the original rendering of his project along the way like most of us do, but his focus has remained the same, to build a truck that is unique and built with the hands of only the friends he has met and made along his 10-year journey in the custom vehicle world. To put it quite simply, he wanted to create a truck, keep it close to home, and keep it real. This truck might still be in pieces, but we can see what these pieces will make in the end. The picture is going to be worth every late night spent by all. This truck has been a long time coming, but it's quickly on its way to the finish line.
"You know, a lot of trucks are built by shops, sometimes several shops, but this one was built 100 percent by friends. How many people can say that?"
Mitch Rall / Spring, Texas
'96 Dodge Ram 3/4-ton
400-plus-hp 360 V-8 / heads ported by Nickens Racing / 12.5:1 compression ratio / JE pistons / Doug Thorley headers / MSD ignition
Built by Frank at Peden Performance
20x8.5-inch Bonspeed Intense
FRONT: Falken 255/35/ZR20
REAR: Falken 285/35ZR20
FRONT: Custom upper and lower 2-inch tubular control arms / Chevy 3/4-ton Belltech drop spindles / Firestone 26C airbags (front and back) / KYB shocks / Auto Zone disc brakes with Ekstensive Metalworks mounting brackets
REAR: Step notch to lay 22s / two-link bars and a Panhard bar / two Thomas 337 compressors / 7-gallon tank / Dana 60 rearend / 4:10 gears / Richmond posi unit / four chrome GC 450 platinum valves for front and back control
Tons of friends and employees of Ekstensive Metalworks of Houston
Cab and bed welded together using 150 feet of tubing to reinforce the sheetmetal / new rebuilt bed and frame / bed re-skinned / new fenderwells that were welded to new bed floor / underbody is one piece from firewall to tailgate / bed smoothed / shaved door handles and antenna / factory hood extended to windshield / cowl and firewall removed and new flat firewall was installed / Dodge Charger headlights / '02 Dodge Ram front bumper
Pat's Autobody smoothed the bottom of the truck / Chuy, Big Pun, Aaron, Rob, Dave, and Mitch performed the rest of the body mods
Mitch threw away every piece of interior, so he couldn't put any stock parts back / plans call for Mitch and his friend Dante to build a street rod-influenced interior
A Rockford Fosgate system is planned and in the works
President of Severed Ties, Texas
Friends Chuy, Aaron, Mississippi Rob, Dave, Big Pun, his wife Molly, 10-month-old daughter Natalie, and of course, his mom and dad