This is Joe Granatelli," the voicemail said. "Hey, would you e-mail me a few shots from our photo shoot? I told my kids I jumped the truck, and they wouldn't believe me."
A half dozen mouse clicks and several keystrokes sent the photographic proof on its way to the Granatelli household. Here's the same proof in fullsize, full-color print.
First glance at this truck brings to mind "nice truck," but not "Dodge Air Corps." It turns out that Joe's Ram really is both. The '05 2500 Dodge turbodiesel 4x4 takes one of the best-ever diesel powerplants and slips it into a rugged chassis. Stock, it's a formidable truck. Modified, it's a true off-road contender that can take on trail duty, desert duty, towing duty, and yes, it can even take on your Super Duty.
Some background information is in order. Granatelli Motor Sports is a well-known producer of go-fast parts for Ford Mustangs, GM F-Body cars, and '85-'06 Corvettes. It turns out that speed on the pavement can indeed cross over into the truck world. Granatelli Motor Sports also offers a line of performance intake and ignition parts for Ford and GM trucks. Finally, Granatelli Motor Sports offers engine-performance upgrades for - you guessed it - today's diesel trucks, including Ford's 7.3 and 6.0 Power Stroke engines, GM's Duramax, and the 24-valve Cummins turbodiesel in Dodge 2500 and 3500 trucks.
Joe's Dodge started as a stocker, but came into its own under his experienced hand. The truck's debut was at the '05 SEMA Show. Many trucks built for SEMA are pure show ponies with eye-catching looks but precious little real-world function. This Dodge was destined to have a functional life long after the booths emptied and the lights dimmed out at the SEMA Show.
For his suspension needs, Joe turned to KORE Performance. Baja-tested and proven, KORE's Race Series suspension replaced the stock coil-spring towers, shocks, steering damper, and rear leaf packs. KORE uses Fox Racing Shox exclusively in its suspension kits. Optional Race Series Hybrid front control arms were added for even greater durability. Dodge doesn't offer a rear sway bar for this truck, so Granatelli Motor Sports created one that's an easy bolt-on.
The suspension was ready for rough terrain, but the wheels and tires weren't. Forged 18x10 Weld Cheyenne 8 wheels wrapped with 37x13.5R18 Nitto Mud Grapplers took care of the tire and wheel needs. The Mud Grapplers are sometimes swapped for a set of identically sized Nitto Terra Grapplers when there's more hardpack and pavement on the menu than sand, loam, and mud.
To properly envelop the upsized rubber at each corner, flared fiberglass fenders and bedsides were custom-created by David Schwartz Jr. and David Schwartz Sr. of Eurobody just for this truck. The fronts flare 6.5 inches per side, while the rears add 4.5 inches per side.
Granatelli Motor Sports took care of the paint, mixing Burnt Tangerine and Go Mango for the desired hue. The custom tone was applied on the top half of the truck and looks great next to the OEM Granite Grey on the truck's lower regions.
With the truck properly suspended, shod, 'glassed, and painted, it rode smoothly, had plenty of grip, and looked great. It only needed to do one more thing: move faster.
To move faster, the Cummins needed to be able to breathe better. Enter a Granatelli Motor Sports cold-air intake and a Granatelli Motor Sports Mega-5 5-inch stainless steel exhaust system.
Today's electronically fuel-injected turbodiesel engines have a lot of performance potential hidden inside. To tap into that potential, Joe added one of his company's Big G Diesel Power Modules. The easily installed module adds over 120 hp and 240 lb-ft of torque, and users can choose between five levels of enhanced power as the driving situation warrants.
These bolt-on power adders brought numbers of 455 hp and 645 lb-ft during dyno-testing.
An upgraded engine called for a few tranny tricks. The stocker is pretty good, but a Granatelli valve-body upgrade and a TCI 2,100-rpm stall torque converter with lockup capability were the final steps to bring the tranny up to par.
The "diving board" front bumper is also a Granatelli-built item. It's as huge as it looks in the photos. It's also meticulously crafted and houses a 5000-series Superwinch winch beneath a Dzus-tabbed, diamond-plate aluminum skidplate. The diving board's front edge is home to a collection of Pro Comp halogen and HID driving lights.
SEMA '05 has come and gone. Unlike a lot of trucks that debuted at that show, Joe's Dodge has spades of real-world performance to back up its great looks. This is proof in print that it's built to launch.