When Dennis Phillips took early delivery of his '02 Dodge Ram, the initial intention was to do absolutely nothing to this truck. It's reason for existing was to be a tow vehicle for one of Dennis' other customs. Not long after buying the truck, he found himself standing in the middle of Ekstensive Metalworks' showroom, in Houston, talking with the man, the myth, and the legend, Bill Carlton. After an in-depth conversation with Bill about having one of the first full custom Rams of the '02 model year, Dennis started pondering the thought. By the time he got home,his mind was set, so he called Bill and dropped a deposit for a groundpunishing suspension.
The '02 Ram has since had an abundance of modifications done to it. The most visible is the lowered stance that comes from the Ekstensive makeover. It consists of 3/8-inch lines and 1/2-inch valves that use a combination of Slam Specialties 'bags in the front and Firestone at the rear of the truck. Although many lowering enthusiasts use the quickconnect,flexible air hose, Dennis decided to use leak-proof copper tubing. Although he is knowledgeable in lowering trucks, he had all of the suspension work done by Bill.
Ekstensive Metalworks not only buried the truck, but the crew added some modifications to improve its capability of being driven low. Because the truck sits on its frame, a custom gas tank was made, and the frame has some step notches in it to clear the rear axle. Since many airbagged trucks have a massive amount of negative camber when the vehicle is lowered, the upper control arms were lifted 4 inches higher on the frame so that most of the camber would be eliminated when the truck was brought down. Now, Dennis can drive the truck when it is only 2 inches off the ground, which means the truck has been lowered a total of 12 inches in front and 18 inches at the rear.
The Ram rides on a set of 22-inch wheels, wrapped by a set of 265/35R22 tires, with almost 7 inches of backspacing.Dennis can easily raise and lower the Ram with the flip of a switch or a push of a button on his alarm remote, but that's not the only thing that draws attention to this truck.The exterior paint scheme and lack of molding and emblems give Dennis' ride a cleaner appearance. The tailgate handle was shaved, and the roll pan was molded to the rear by Ekstensive Metalworks to further enhance the truck's sleek look. Also, an aluminum billet grille was added.
When it came down to painting the truck, Dennis wanted something subtle yet unique. He chose a red with a black stripe paint scheme. The paint scheme was further enhanced with candy red flames that were laid down over the black stripe. The bed is topped with an over-the-rail bedcover and painted to match the hood and roof. Underneath it, Dennis covered the step notch cover and wheeltubs with a spray-in bedliner.
Under the hood, the factory 5.9L V-8 uses a K&N air filter and a custommade intake tube. The exhaust is handled with a Flowmaster system that uses 3-1/2-inch-diameter tubing.
Inside the cab, black ostrich skin and copper, braided leather are used on the headliner and seats. Both have flames in them, and the center console incorporates custom billet inserts that are used on the door panels, as well. A set of billet pedals, billet dash knobs, and a billet steering wheel add some flash to the cab. Dennis also had to have a way to play his music loud, so he installed a new head unit with a flip-out screen. The unit plays CDs and MP3s, and it sends signals through 10 channels of amplification and runs an array of speakers.
Dennis calls his truck "D Menis," and although it has plenty of custom modifications to it, the fact that it is clean and simple is what draws many people to it. The truck also proves that it doesn't take lots of money to build a clean and custom truck. All it takes is patience, time, and the ability to finish what you have started.