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2002 Dodge Ram 1500 4x4 - Moby Grape

Posted in Features on April 1, 2003
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Contributors: Kevin Wilson

Those of us who were raised in the heyday of the muscle car have a strong connection to the past. Therefore, it makes sense when building a late-model truck that a touch of the past enters into the equation.

Such was the case for Terry DeLong, owner of ProGlass in Kendallville, Indiana. A true old-school Mopar muscle car enthusiast, DeLong seems to incorporate something from the past into each of the project vehicles he builds. His latest creation is this '02 Dodge Ram 4x4 that features subtle styling hints from a bygone era.

Built for the SEMA Show in Las Vegas to showcase the new AirGrabber hood, roll pan, and front bumper cover from Pro Glass, Terry started with a black stone-stock '02 Ram 1500 4x4 fitted with the 4.7L engine and automatic overdrive transmission. The first order of business was to make room for some off-road rubber by sending the truck to Joe Richards at Pro-Trux in Fort Wayne, Indiana, for suspension work. Terry's Dodge was one of the first to get Rancho Suspension's new 4-inch lift kit for the Ram, complete with front skidplate and a set of adjustable RSX-9000 shocks. To keep things on level when towing, a set of supplemental Firestone airbags was also added at the rear. Rolling stock on the ride was replaced with 17x9-inch Mickey Thompson Classics wrapped with 35-inch Mickey Thompson Baja Claw Radials.

Under the hood, the stock 4.7L engine received a deep breathing treatment from AIRAID with its new Quick Fit system for the OHC Mopar engine along with its new Modular Intake Tube that eliminates the stock airbox on top of the throttle body for additional airflow. Terry chose the AIRAID system to work with the new functional AirGrabber hood, which features a remote-operated flapper-door-style hoodscoop similar to the those found on legendary '70s Mopar muscle cars such as the Plymouth Roadrunner and the Dodge Super Bee. Ducting in the hood routes outside air from the electric exterior hoodscoop to the AIRAID unit for a boost in both power and mileage. On the exhaust side, a set of JBA Shorty headers was bolted up and a custom dual exhaust system was fabricated by Jeff Watson at Avilla Motor Works, using MBRP mufflers and '71 Roadrunner-style tips from TTI.

The body mods on the truck are fairly straightforward. Up front is a ProGlass bumper cover and Street Scene Speed Grille insert in the factory grille housing. To help cover the Mickey Ts, a set of Bushwacker fender flares was added to the Dodge, along with a custom drop hitch that fits behind the roll pan, fabricated by Berry's Welding, also of Fort Wayne. One of the more obvious add-ons is the smooth Leer truck cap out back, which hides a Wise Industries Bed Rug underneath.

With the add-ons in place, the truck rolled into the paint booth for a color change. Jamie Rife of ProGlass used a custom mix of PPG Purple Pearl on the Dodge; Rife also squirted the interior door panels and dash fascia to match the rest of the truck.

With the keep-it-simple-and-functional theme, the interior of the truck was given some simple upgrades, starting with two-tone purple and dark-gray leather seat covers from Katzkin. The painted door and dash complement the paintjob. On the sound side, the factory Infinity stereo system gets added punch with MTX speaker upgrades.

While not a show stopper, Terry's Dodge is clean and functional, with some subtle retro touches from an era gone by-and that makes it special and worthy of a feature story.

SpecificationsOwner/hometown:Terry DeLong/Kendallville, Indiana

Vehicle:'02 Dodge Ram 1500 4x4

Engine:4.7L V-8

Transmission:Four-speed automatic

Suspension:4-inch Rancho

Tires:35x12.50R17 Mickey Thompson Baja Claw Radial

Wheels:17x9-inch Mickey Thompson Classic

Other modifications:AIRAID intake, MBRP exhaust, Street Scene grille, ProGlass bumper cover, roll pan, and AirGrabber hood, hidden tow hitch, front skidplate.

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