Edgar Lopez's Dodge Ram represents all that is right with the sport truck world right now. The scene has graduated from lame, one-dimensional rides that only excel in a single environment to trucks that break the old mold with style and performance. We've all grown up and so has the ethic behind our builds, and although the price of admission has escalated along with the list of prerequisites for crafting a righteous ride, the driving experience and picture show is that much better. Edgar's truck follows suit: an ultra-low cruiser piercing the night with screaming supercharged Hemi horsepower, quickly cutting in and out of the shadows with a wide stance and menacing black facade. This is no ordinary Ram.
Sleep, eat, go to school, work all night, and then do it all over again. That's been Edgar Lopez's life since he purchased the Ram brand-new in '04. After racking up one too many speeding tickets and losing his driver's license on the way home from Las Vegas five years ago, this fast-paced routine has kept him out of trouble and in the white hot spotlight of the custom truck world. If he could do it all over again, he'd go to school first and then build this truck. Then again, he also says that the payoff for all of the hard work and stress during his first build is looking at the black marauder sitting in the parking lot of his family's restaurant. As beautiful and custom as this truck is, he still mobs it to school and work, which is quite a gamble considering that every single body panel beneath the silky smooth black paint is one-off.
While most of the kids in his welding, body shop, and machinist classes were fixing up rusted hulks of vintage iron, Edgar dropped jaws by taking a d/a sander to his truck while it was still wearing paper plates. During a pair of semesters at San Fernando Occupational Center, the Ram gained a rollpan and lost its tailgate, handles and taillights. Eventually, Edgar turned his home garage into a small shop and spent the next year filling in the cab seams, molding the grille to the hood, and shaving the rest of the body. When the dust from the grinding and body filler became overwhelming, he moved the truck to Metal Minds in nearby Lancaster for a traditional 4-inch body-drop and airbags. This was accomplished in just two months and then the truck moved again to Edgar's friend Felipe's garage, where it wouldn't see the light of day again until SEMA '08.
It was at Felipe's house that the wide body stance was finally realized. A set of staggered 24-inch Forgiatto wheels with a ton of dish weren't going to fit inside of the Ram's fenders, but they offered the look that Edgar was after so drastic measures were taken to bolt them onto the suspension.
Edgar and Felipe spent the next year slicing into the front fenders and bedsides, widening them over 4 inches using steel as filler instead of plastic. The duo also added functional air vents to the front face of the fenders, a move that kept the customized body from looking like an afterthought instead of a planned styling exercise. The doors were reshaped in fiberglass to match the flow of the body, and the confirmation of Felipe and Edgar's body-shaping abilities is the near-flawless black paintjob they applied in Felipe's garage.
All show and no go doesn't work in our world, and Edgar is certainly in agreement. After spending a considerable amount of time giving his ride a look that would strike fear in the hearts of other truck owners, it would have been sacrilege to leave the 5.7L Hemi stock. After all, it wasn't going to knock down any great fuel economy numbers anyway. Mike Stafford came to the rescue right before the truck was slated to leave for the '08 SEMA Show by hopping up the engine with an intercooled Vortech supercharger system. The system pushes 10 psi of boost into the intake, aided by methanol injected from the stock windshield wiper reservoir, which serves to stave off detonation at wide-open throttle. Split Second fuel and ignition systems light the fire, and the exhaust is sent packing through dual Flowmaster pipes and mufflers.
Throughout this build, Edgar was working full time at his family's restaurant and going to school. Although he was not just an absentee owner signing checks to get the job done, he did have a lot of help and is quick to thank everyone involved in the build. Is he burned out from the tumultuous schedule? We don't think so. He's already hard at work on a new truck project and promises this one will blow minds as well. We can't wait to see it.
5.7L Hemi V-8 / K&N air intake / Vortech supercharger pushing 10psi / methanol injection system / Split Second fuel delivery and ignition systems / Detroit Locker rear diff / blow-off valve / dual Optima batteries
By: Mike Stafford Fabrications, Lancaster, California
Front: Forgiatto Concavo 24x9.5
Rear: Forgiatto Concavo 24x11
Front: Pirelli Pzero 255/30R24
Rear: Pirelli Pzero 285/30R24
Front: Slam Specialties RE-6 airbags on custom mounts / Toxic shocks / front framerails notched for steering tie-rod ends
Rear: Slam Specialties RE-6 airbags mounted atop lower link bars / custom three-link suspension with an upper wishbone
Accessories: Parker 1/2-inch solenoid valves / Oasis 2400 air compressor / three 5-gallon reserve air tanks under the bed
Chassis: Six-inch step-notched rear framerails
By: Casey and L.P.Z. Inc., Palmdale, California
Traditional 4-inch body drop / widened both sides of the body 4-1/2 inches, including the fenders, bedsides, doors, bumpers etc. / reshaped fenders feature air ducts, and handmade mirrors and cowl / grille molded to the hood / custom rollpan and tailgate skin with 54-inch LED lighting / 4-inch LED lights in the cab B-pillars / fuel door relocated to bed floor / except for the mirrors and doors, all of the work was done in metalBy: L.P.Z. Inc.
By: L.P.Z. Inc.
Reshaped using fiberglass and then smoothed and painted black to match the outside of the truck / custom center console with built-in speaker pods and air suspension gauges and controls / custom door panels with speaker enclosures built-in / upholstery consists of suede and leather
By: High Quality Interior, Canyon Country, California / L.P.Z. Inc.
JVC touch screen head unit / Rockford Fosgate 6-1/2-inch component speakers in the doors and center console / two Rockford Fosgate amplifiers / two Rockford Fosgate 12-inch P3 Punch subwoofers in a custom enclosure behind the seats
BY: L.P.Z. Inc.
"I'd like to thank L.P.Z. Inc., LOS Enterprises / my family, La Cocina Bar & Grill, Felipe, Victor, Giux, Pablo at Forgiatto, Tony's Tires, San Fernando Occupational Center, Mike Stafford, the guys at South Autobody, Eloy, OG Abel, Surf City Garage, Kuh Productions, and Swell."