Keith Sawyer * Mansfield, Texas
'04 Dodge Ram
For many shop owners, trying to build a ride while also building customers' rides can be a hard task to accomplish. For most, it's a delicate balancing act that usually results in their own projects taking a back burner to customer rides. Keith Sawyer, owner of Nfamus Air Suspension in Mansfield, Texas, knows this song and dance all too well. However, a trip to the local car dealership to buy a "shop truck" quickly turned things around and threw a wrench into his plans. In the end, Keith learned how to manage customer time with personal time, turning his simple shop truck into something much bigger.
Keith first opened for business a little over a year ago and quickly had to put his own project, a '68 Chevy 1/2-ton, aside. It wasn't long before he needed something reliable that could haul tools and loads of metal around. That's when he visited his local car dealer to pick out a new truck. To say that he wasn't impressed with the overall appearance of this '04 Ram when he first saw it is an understatement. It wasn't until he got behind the wheel that he began to appreciate the room and comfort that his '04 Dodge Ram afforded him.
"When I first saw the Dodge trucks, I hated them," Keith explains. "When I drove it though, I fell in love with it. I guess because it was so roomy inside."
Once Keith got over the initial dislike for his Ram's exterior appearance, he began to think about what he could do to make it more presentable. At first, a 4/6 drop was enough to satisfy him. But being a custom fabricator only fueled the fire inside him. "My '68 was still in storage. The only thing I had to work on was my Dodge so I pushed forward." And push forward he did.
In the past, Dodge trucks have always been known to be a little harder than Fords and Chevy to lay out. The front end required Keith to basically to raise the upper and lower control arms, flip the tie rods over, and then shave the front crossmember. While Keith agrees that laying out the front end of his Dodge wasn't exactly a walk in the park, he also admits that it wasn't quite as hard as he had heard from others. Keith is also known for building extravagant rear frame sections, but when it came time to build his own he opted to go with a simple two-link setup allowing him to keep his much needed bed space.
"Typically, I do things pretty wild. But I use my bed. All the air tanks and air management is mounted under the cab. I kept it really simple."
Simple is sometimes better. While air ride has been known to have issues from time to time, Keith's truck is reliable enough to be his daily driver. In fact, it's his only running vehicle.
What began as a plain black truck with a plain interior shows quite a bit more flair thanks in part to Keith's deep custom roots. Keith gave free reign to Dillon and Daniel Wheeler at Lucid Paint in Mansfield, Texas. The only request that he had was to use black and red as the main colors. The Wheelers two-toned the Dodge, adding custom dividing graphics including smoke, skulls, and aluminum highlights. They also color-matched several interior pieces, while Keith worked to rewrap his stock seats, door panels, and dash pieces using black suede and ostrich materials. It was important to Keith that his interior remain black as this is his work truck and he tends to jump in it and go, even when he's covered in dirt and grime from working on customer rides.
Nearly three and a half years later, Keith is finally at a point where he calls the Dodge finished. "I'm honestly done with it for a while," he explains. "Right now, I'm focused on customer rides."
When you first glance at this Dodge you quickly notice the low stance, the flashy paint, and clean interior. However, it's hard to believe that this Dodge is actually used everyday. Whether he's hauling tools around, picking up metal, or on his way home, Keith can now honestly say he's finished this project, even if it is just a shop truck. At least it's not so ugly to him anymore.
4.7L V-8 / K&N intake / two Optima RedTop batteries relocated behind front bumper / billet oil cap
Front & Rear: 22x9.5 Dub VooDoo 407
Front & Rear: 265/35R22 Cooper Zeon XST
Front: Relocated upper and lower control arms / Firestone 2600 airbags / Belltech Nitro Drop shocks
Rear: Custom two-link / Firestone 224c airbags / Belltech Shocks
Accessories: Four GC 450 air valves / 1/2-inch DOT air line / two Viair 450 compressors / two slim 5-gallon air tanks
Chassis: Custom C-notch / custom rear framework / stock gas tank raised above framerails / sectioned front crossmember
Shaved antenna, tailgate, and emblems / roll pan / Rhinolined tub and notch cover
DuPont red, black, and silver / Alsa ghost chrome tribal / SEM Blood Red Candy smoke and skull graphics / aluminum highlights
BY: Dillon and Daniel Wheeler at Lucid Paint, Mansfield, Texas
Stock seats covered in black suede and black ostrich / dash wrapped in black suede with painted accents / door panels wrapped in black suede and black ostrich with painted accents / Easy Street gauges / custom-painted fiberglass center console housing amps and subs
BY: Owner / Daniel at Lucid Paint
Alpine IVA-D300 head unit / two Kicker Powerbase 12-inch subs / Kicker 6x9 and 5-1/4-inch / two Kicker 150.2 amps for mids and highs / Kicker 600.1 amp for subs / Alpine DVD in dash
All of his friends and family