Our first 4-Wheel & Off-Road show truck in the history of the magazine (or at least in recent history) is just about finished. We've been building Project Black Sheep, an '09 Dodge 1500 Ram over the past three issues, and with this installment, we're wrapping it up. But let's not forget that a show truck from this magazine is still more go than show. In fact, this truck will quickly make it into the dirt, sand, and mud just as soon as we sneak it out of the show circuit it's destined to run.
In the past issues we told you how great the Dodge rode with its coil-sprung rear suspension and powerful Hemi engine during the purchase and drive of the truck home from Detroit. Then last month we upgraded the suspension with new Edelbrock shocks, coils, and air bumpstops. We upgraded the rear suspension links to chromoly units from Spidertrax with Currie Johnny Joints. The new suspension will lift the truck to clear 37-inch Mickey Thompson Tires on Pro Comp Extreme Alloy wheels. To add even more to the great ride, we upgraded the interior with leather seat covers from Mopar and Katzkin.
This month we add some tube work, a few more Mopar amenities, and a super-slick paintjob by KC Customs in Santa Rosa, California. The truck may seem finished, but in reality we already have some other upgrades in the works. But that is stuff for better off-road performance, which you will see in a future issue. If you want to check out the truck in real life, it will be on display at the Moab Easter Safari, the Tierra del Sol Desert Safari, and other events we'll list on our website.
1. We removed the front bumper of the Black Sheep to help make room for the bigger tires and improve the approach angle, but this left it looking pretty funny. We also needed a place for some big off-road lights and a good front skidplate. Randy Ellis Design in Phoenix has been building awesome 4x4s for years, and we recruited them to help us outfit the front of our truck with a desert/utility-style front bumper. First we headed to Industrial Metal Supply for some DOM tubing, and then we started building with steel plates coming up off the framerails. The headlights needed substantial protection so we added tubing that wrapped around the corners of the truck but still allowed plenty of approach angle in front of the tires. This truck isn't designed as a rockcrawler, but it will see trails, and you never know what type of obstacle might pop up in front of it.