To the average person on the street, a diesel truck might just seem like a normal vehicle designed to take its occupants from one place to another. To the diesel enthusiast, though, it is so much more than that. It's often their lifestyle, their passion and their motivation all compiled into one awesome form of transport.
Peel back the sheet metal and underneath the truck you will discover there is a story behind the truck that attaches them to it. For Nick Pilibosian, the story behind his diesel is one of passion and dedication to his community.
Pilibosian grew up in Michigan and has been riding snowmobiles since he was a 3-year-old. As his skills increased, he came across a professional snowmobile team named Slednecks that he has been a part of for several years. He then started an extreme sports apparel company called Sled Decent in Oakland Township, Mich., just north of Detroit.
He no longer rides as much as he once did due to injuries, but rather he focuses on giving people the same opportunities that were given to him.
"We take a wide variety of riders that have the talent, who are young, but that don't necessarily have the power to advertise themselves and get their name out there to be noticed," says Pilibosian.
His desire to help others, however doesn't stop with helping young riders get sponsored. Pilibosian lives in small town and says everyone is very close and always trying to help each other out. In his town there was a young boy diagnosed with a rare T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia. With a desire to help, Pilibosian took on the responsibility of contacting friends and other professional riders. He was able to get a lot of gear signed by several professional riders, including some from X-Games gold medalist Travis Pastrana. The gear was then taken to an auction to raise money for his medical expenses.
"I am a big extreme sports guy and I've got into diesels lately and it is just about meeting people," says Pilibosian. "Everybody has a cool story and I try to build off that. When people see my truck I want them to see that it's not only cool and one-of-a-kind, but the story behind it is about doing the right things and being there to change lives."
To Pilibosian, his truck represents the people who have supported his company as well as the people whom he has supported throughout his lifetime. The beginnings of his current truck, though, came from his needs when pulling trailers with all his toys for extreme sports.
Echoing the thoughts of almost every diesel enthusiast, Pilibosian said gas trucks "just weren't cutting it" when it came to towing. After that, he bought his first diesel truck in 2005, a Chevy Silverado 2500 and he's been hooked ever since.
Then a couple of years ago he found his current 2003 Dodge Ram 2500 5.9L Cummins. Like most used trucks it needed some work, but he had a vision and decided to pump a lot of money into it.
"You only live once," says Pilibosian. "It's cool to have an 8,000-pound plus vehicle running like you do and shutting up little rice cars that think they're pretty fast and beating them with a lifted truck."
Tweaks & Upgrades
He also loves the mechanics of the diesel engine and the state of his truck shows it. Modifications to the engine include a custom 78mm Silver Bullet turbo, aFe cold intake and intake manifold and a Smarty Sr. chip. He estimates that his current setup would produce well over 800 horsepower and 1500 lbs./ft of torque with a single shot of nitrous.
While the inside of the engine bay practically contains enough power to speed up the rotation of the earth, it is what you see on the outside that is equally impressive. First thing you'll likely notice is the massive stack coming out of the truck bed. Pilibosian hadn't originally been much of a stack kind-of-guy, but he had a big vision for it. The stack measures a gapping 24 inches wide; big enough to put a basketball in it, he says.
"A lot of people have dual stacks or maybe they will put a single stack behind the passenger side. Well, I thought, `I'm going to switch it up,'" recalls Pilibosian. "So I put the stack on the driver's side, wrapped it in the same material as the rest of the truck and stuck it through the tonneau cover. It's really cool how it looks."
Continuing to look at the truck, the next significant thing you'll notice is the vinyl wrapping isn't just on the stack, but it's everywhere. This was a part of the vision he had for it becoming a one-of-a-kind vehicle.
"The number one thing I wanted for my truck was to have it be different. I wanted it to stick out," says Pilibosian. "I just didn't like the stock Dodge red paint so I covered over it."
Having had some past experience in graphic design, he designed the whole look of the truck and implemented supporters, sponsors and some of his friend's companies into it. He then took it to Signs & Engraving in Madison Heights, Mich., to make the wrap. This job ended up being the company's first full-vehicle vinyl wrap.
"They taught me how to install it and I have to give them a lot of props," says Pilibosian. "Just trying to get the vinyl on there through the curves, different spots where you had to bend it, going over the windows and all while making sure that it doesn't come off is a real skill."
To preserve the look of the vinyl, a laminate was placed over the top of it, which keeps the sun from discoloring it. He says that, in time, it will bond to the vehicle-though not permanently-and it almost starts to act like paint.
"The only thing that I have done so far is wash it. I haven't waxed it yet, but you can," says Pilibosian. "It acts just like paint; if you get a scratch on it, it scratches."
Other modifications to the exterior include an 8-inch Fab lift and Air Lift leveling bags with an in-cabin compressor and tank to help with towing. The Rolling Stock consists of 37-inch Toyo Open Country M/Ts wrapped around 20-inch BMF black powder-coated rims. The whole underbody, rockers and bed are protected with Rhino Lining and the lighting kits are found everywhere. In the future he would like to add Fusion bumpers to the front and back.
Considering all that has been done, the response to his truck has been tremendous and it still continues to get attention.
"People are just speechless," says Pilibosian. "I have even had a couple of police officers pull me over just to take a picture of it."
And that is what this truck does. It stands out and is unique, but you can tell there is a story beneath the vinyl-wrapped body that is so much more that what you can see on the outside. Pilibosian's truck echoes the passion and dedication that is shared with fellow diesel lovers and their favorite form of transport.