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Dodge fans are looking at this 1996 Dodge Ram V10 and saying, "Hey,
wait a minute, Dodge never built a half-ton V10 Sport." Well,
that's true, and you could be forgiven for thinking that this was a
factory build. In fact, it was a custom project that was so
in-depth and factory-correct that it was covered by "Mopar Muscle"
magazine. So no, it isn't factory-built, but we're sure you'll
agree that it's very convincing and a lot of fun on the street.
Starting with a 1500 Dodge Ram regular cab/short bed pickup seems like a logical first step; after all, it's the lightest and fastest of the bunch and if your goal is speed, then you may as well start there. The beautiful white truck was optioned out with the Sport package, which included the white grille and bumpers, some not-so-subtle orange graphics, and a clean, monochromatic look. The build is coming up on 20 years old and it's been driven about 42,000 miles since it was done, so there are some signs of use that shouldn't surprise anyone, but to our way of thinking, this is just more camouflage. It just doesn't do much advertising about what's lurking under the hood. Nevertheless, the paint looks pretty good, as this was a far-weather toy only and never had to work for a living and because of that, you know rust is a non-issue, even in the usual spots above the fender openings. Custom 'Sport V-10' graphics on the sides of the bed, along with more factory-looking V10 insignias on the doors keep it from being subtle, but it's also a great way to start conversations. People are going to want to see what's under the hood.
The gray cloth interior is almost completely stock, and the 1996 Rams were arguably the most comfortable full-sized pickups on the market. The seats remain in exemplary condition and are sporty like buckets but the wide center armrest folds up and provides room for three-across seating. A leather-wrapped wheel, a full complement of big, easy-to-read gauges, and lots of storage spaces make this truck easy to live with no matter what you're doing. Options include power windows and locks, A/C, and a tilt steering column, and it all works properly, a testament to the OEM-levels of workmanship. There's also a factory AM/FM/cassette stereo that sounds great and a sliding rear window that makes it comfortable no matter what the weather's doing.
The 8.0-liter V10 was available in 2500 and 3500 models, which, on the surface looked the same but actually had a long list of differences. Nevertheless, the V10 living under the hood today looks very OEM in every way. It isn't modified, but with more than 500 fewer pounds to haul around, stock is plenty in this truck's case. All the hardware, hoses, intake tract, and accessories are stock, so it definitely looks like it was built by Dodge and with factory tuning, it runs like a stocker too. The only noticeably custom details are a set of gorgeous stainless headers and a custom exhaust system, which tucks in neatly next to the transfer case. The 4-speed automatic transmission shifts well and this is a 4x4, so you have shift-on-the-fly capability for off-roading. The suspension has a modest lift to clear the oversized 305/70/16 Goodyear Wrangler tires on factory polished aluminum wheels.
A few years after this truck was built, Chrysler would build the Ram SRT-10. But there's still something special about the low-key factory look of this one. A sleeper, yes, but one that attracts a huge crowd whenever you open the hood. Call today!