1995 Dodge Ram 2500/6500 6x6 Concept Truck - T-Rex Lives!Posted in Project Vehicles on December 1, 2002
It's 1997. Dodge has just introduced its Ram T-Rex 6x6 concept truck, a vehicle that promises to reinvent the work rig as we know it. An alternative to the proven dualie style, this truck breaks new ground giving the driving public a personal vehicle that could "out-tow, out-'wheel, out-maneuver, out-haul and out-run anything in its class." At least that was Dodge's expectation. Then reality struck, and the decision makers at DaimlerChrysler came to their senses. As they axed the project, they wondered, "Who would buy such a vehicle?" A guy like Stan Prueitt, of Los Alamos, New Mexico, that's who.
"I was so impressed with it," Stan recalls of Dodge's 6x6, "that I wrote Dodge and asked when they were going to go into production." Dodge told Stan it would begin production in 2003. Stan couldn't wait that long. Inspired by Dodge's prototype, he went to work on his own traction-rich version of a 6x6. Considering the T-Rex's fate, his impatience was a good thing.
Stan's version of the T-Rex 6x6 began on paper in the latter part of 1998. Stan figured he'd need a longbed under which to fit two axles using a military bogie suspension (where two axles are connected at a central pivot point with a spring stack, so that if the middle axle is pushed up the rear-most axle goes down). The problem was that he didn't want such a long truck. At the same time, however, Stan needed enough room to bring along his four children and wife whenever he went 'wheeling. Explains Stan, "If I bought the standard extended or quad cab, the truck would be about 2 1/2 feet longer. I didn't want that, so I decided to build my own extended-cab onto a regular-cab." When it came time to choose a vehicle, he hit pay dirt with a longbed '95 3/4-ton Ram regular-cab fitted with a Magnum V-10.
As Stan began cutting metal and searching for parts, he came across Daniel Little, a military surplus dealer from Oklahoma who knows all about military 6x6 trucks. Daniel recommended Stan ditch the bogie suspension approach and go with the more reliable and proven five-link coil-suspension setup, giving his truck more flex. Stan agreed.
Consequently, the truck was shipped to Daniel's garage in Lawton, Oklahoma, where Daniel performed some serious surgery to the Dodge. Using three 2 1/2-ton Rockwell military axles, Detroit Lockers, an exterior rollcage, hydraulic winch and more, Daniel worked to make this truck as functional as it is intimidating.
The first order of business came when Daniel called on his fabricator John Godwin. The pair first removed the truck's front suspension. Then they moved the steering box forward to line up the linkage. They relocated the spring towers and dropped the spring mounts 8 inches, and added radius rods with 3/4-inch rod-end joints and a Panhard bar. Then they reinforced the rear frame section with crossbars and mounted the five-link coil suspension underneath it. Mopar brakes were added to the driveline. The two rear axles feature Rancho 9000 shocks, while the front axle uses a pair of Bilsteins. The coil springs are 3/4-ton Dodge items which when interposed between the Dodge and its Rockwells provide 10 inches of lift. For tires, Stan uses 41-inch-tall Firestone Super Traxs, the commercial version of a military tire, for street and winter use. He goes with 38.5-inch SX Swampers to better handle the New Mexico terrain whenever he goes--uh, six-wheeling.
The massive 6x6 retains the stock 8.0L Magnum V-10, but Stan beefed up its output with a new intake, a Mopar Performance chip and dual-exhaust system. The pipes exit through a custom fabricated rear bumper, built by Godwin. Stan estimates his T-Rex's horsepower as 330 at 4,100 rpm. Low-end torque grunts in at a whopping 500 lb-ft at 2,400 rpm. A four-speed overdrive transmission and NV241HD transfer case spin a custom driveline driveshaft and a rear 2 1/2-ton military driveshaft.
Once the performance goodies were in place, Stan was ready to build that extended cab. He cut out the cab's back and built a new wall that extended to the bed. He got a camper shell over the Internet and he put the back wall in, installed a reupholstered back seat from a Ramcharger, and sealed it all up with an accordion boot. John Godwin fabricated the rollcage, bumpers and frame modifications.
True Mopar fans, Stan and his wife, Shawnette, painted the 6x6 their favorite color: Hemi Cuda Limelight Green. Now this street-legal 6x6 is easy to spot anytime, anywhere.
Owner: Stan Prueitt
Vehicle/model: '95 Dodge Ram 2500/6500
Estimated price: $35,000
Type: 8.0L V-10
Displacement (liter/ci.): 488ci
Induction: Fuel injected, K&N air filter
Transmission: Four-speed overdrive 47RE
Transfer case: NV241HD
Front: 2 1/2-ton Rockwell, Bilstein shocks, 3/4-ton Dodge springs, five-link, Detroit Locker
Middle: 2 1/2-ton Rockwell, Rancho 9000 shocks, 3/4-ton coils with five-link suspension, Detroit Locker
Rear: 2 1/2-ton Rockwell, Rancho 9000 shocks, 3/4-ton coils with five-link suspension, Detroit Locker
Wheels: 20-inch military rims, cut and centered, 16.5 Hummer rims with internal bead locks
Tires: 41-inch Firestone Super Trax Street/Winter, 38.5-inch SX Swampers Trail