Darren Alcorn* Lawrenceville, Georgia
'00 Dodge Dakota R/T

Darren Alcorn is the type of guy who won't shy away from a challenge. No matter if it's building a truck with little aftermarket support or shooting his own feature photos, he makes it happen. Normally a sports-car guy, he decided to step outside his own box and build a truck. A run-of-the-mill P.O.S. just wouldn't do as a foundation for his vision, so Darren started with a pretty formidable truck--the R/T Dakota. While these weren't the fastest production pickups sold, they were the only midsize truck you could get with a V-8. The factory 5.9L mill has plenty of torque to roast the back tires at will and the lower factory suspension and wide tires help the truck hug the curves. This stuff equates to a nice performance truck, but a sports car it is not. Darren decided to change all that, but first the appearance needed a little improving.

Up front, a Stillen bumper cover and a Pro-Glass Shaker hood give the R/T a little more attitude, while the rear received a Sir Michaels roll pan and an Innovations Pro-Sport tonneau cover. All the new parts along with the door handles, mirrors, and roof joint molding got a fresh coat of the factory Flame Red paint by a local friend. Under the tonneau cover, Darren fabbed up an R/T logo and affixed it to the bulkhead before having his local Line-X shop coat it in red. To finish off the exterior, Darren had some custom Sidewinder R/T emblems made to set his truck apart from the rest.

Next, Darren picked up a TVS performance suspension from Hotchkis to get the truck even further down from stock and finished it off with a set of super shiny Intro wheels. There were still two things bothering Darren about the truck: It wasn't low enough and the factory brakes looked lost inside the 20-inch wheels. He added a 1-inch block to the already installed Hotchkis kit and swapped out the 2-inch dropped front springs for a 3-inch version and bolted on a Kenny Brown X-Brace to stiffen up the chassis. Now the wheelwell gaps looked right and the truck handled, but it still had the brake issue. This is where the aftermarket help ran dry, which didn't stop a determined fellow like Darren. He not only figured out how to combine factory Dodge Viper calipers with Brembo brake parts for his truck, he started a business doing it. Sidewinder Customs was born and caters specifically to these Dakotas. With his new business up and running, Darren needed to add more parts to his listing, so he designed performance pulleys for the 5.9L motor because none were available. He did find some other performance parts in the Mopar catalogue to up the power and added a shift kit to the trans and a set of 4.56 gears with a posi to handle the new grunt.

With the looks, handling, and power at the level he wanted, it was time to tackle the interior. The stock bucket seats were replaced with a custom covered set of Cerullos, and numerous areas were reupholstered in leather and embroidered with the fangs and Sidewinder logos. Once again, these are services Darren offers at Sidewinder Customs. The interior still needed a little something, so Darren contacted Phoenix Imaging to have a bunch of parts adorned with a red snakeskin Hydrographic to accentuate the truck's theme.

The last thing to address was the audio system, and for that he hooked up with the crew at Sound Sensations. Darren took his design ideas to Sound Sensations where Jeff Smith and James Stanton got to work building a competition-level audio system that includes Alpine, Dynaudio, and JL Audio components. A custom console was built to hold the B&M shifter, widescreen monitor, processor controller, and CD/DVD changer, and new speaker pods were crafted for the doors. The system has garnered a few awards already for being a clean install with great sound quality. Not bad considering how cool it all looks.

Even though this was Darren's first truck build, you can see the quality of work and attention to detail is top-notch. This clean R/T not only transformed a car guy into a truck nut, but, it also spawned a custom business.

The Build
A killer exterior requires an equally impressive interior. Check out all that sound deadening and color-coded wiring. The custom center console received some reptilian hydro-graphics, and the sub boxes sport some nice illumination.

The 411
Engine/Drivetrain:
5.9L Magnum V-8 / M-1 intake manifold / F&B 52mm throttle body / Harland Sharp 1.7 roller rockers / one-off polished "Sidewinder" valve covers / custom billet pulleys / Mopar PPH headers and PCM / Random Technologies high-flow catalytic converter / Spintech side-exit exhaust / built 46RE transmission / APS Precision 2,800-stall converter / Detroit Tru-Trac limited slip differential / Yukon 4.56 ring-and-pinion gears
By: Owner

Rims:
Front: 20x8.5 Intro Pentia 6 with 6.5 inches of backspacing
Rear: 20x10 Intro Pentia 6 with 7 inches of backspacing

Tires:
Front: 255/35R20 Goodyear Eagle HP Ultra Plus
Rear: 295/40R20 Goodyear Eagle HP Ultra Plus

Suspension:
Front: Hotchkis Total Vehicle System which includes Bilstein shocks and larger front sway bar / Springtech 3-inch drop springs
Rear: Hotchkis Total Vehicle System which includes 3-inch dropped spring pack, Bilstein shocks, and larger rear sway bar / DJM 1-inch steel lowering block
Accessories: Sidewinder Customs Viper brake conversion / Baer Eradispeed 13.5-inch front rotors and 13-inch rear rotors with red rotor hats / various components powderedcoated
Chassis: Kenny Brown X-Brace
By: Owner

Body Mods:
Stillen front bumper cover / Pro-Glass Shaker hood / Street Scene wiper cowl and polished stainless steel Speed Grilles / Innovations Pro-Sport tonneau cover / Sir Michaels steel roll pan / red Line-X spray-in bedliner with embossed R/T logo / shaved tailgate handle / Billet Specialties antenna / AMP Research billet fuel door (powdercoated red) / clear corner marker lights / custom Sidewinder R/T polished emblems
By: Owner

Custom Paint:
Factory Flame Red (PR4) / color-matched door handles, mirrors, and roof joint molding / candied taillights and third brake light / snakeskin Hydrographic on hood scoop
By: Owner / Phoenix Imaging (Hydrographics)

Interior:
Cerullo XR3 performance seats covered in matching agate and red leather / custom embroidery on the seats, visors, door panels, and floor mats / red snakeskin Hydrographics throughout the interior / custom speaker pods in the door panels / custom center console / B&M Hammer floor shifter / new OEM Agate carpet kit and headliner / Black Cat Customs "Sidewinder R/T" gauges / Autovation racing pedals / billet "R/T" door sills / Gentex auto-dimming mirror
BY: Sidewinder Customs / Phoenix Imaging (Hydrographics) / Black Cat Customs (gauges)

Audio/Video:
Alpine DVA-9965 CD/DVD/tuner, F1 TMI-M990 widescreen monitor, DHA-S690 CD/DVD changer, RUX-C701 processor controller, PXA-C701 multichannel audio processor, KCA-420i iPod adapter, and KCA-410C versatile link / Dynaudio MD 102 dome tweeters, MW 152 5-3/4-inch midrange, and MW 172 8-inch midbass / JL Audio Slash 450/4v2 amp for the mids and highs, 300/2v2 amp for the midbass, 500/1v2 amp for the sub / JL Audio 13W6v2 subwoofer / JL Audio wiring, fuse, and distribution blocks / Custom-built center console, rear enclosure, door pods, and kick panels / two Kinetik HC1400R Power Cells / Kinetik KIPS12-60 Power Supply / RAAMmat BXT and Ensolite sound- deadening material
By: Jeff Smith and James Stanton at Sound Sensations

Club:
Metro Atlanta Dakota R/T Club

Special Thanks:
Jeff Smith and James Stanton at Sound Sensations, Robyn Kroell at Phoenix Imaging, Manville Smith at JL Audio, Erik Harbour at Kinetik, the entire gang at MADRT, his wife Michele, mother, father and the rest of his family and friends for all their encouragement and support