Creating a custom truck isn’t always about what you can buy off the shelf, sometimes it’s about what you can modify yourself. Nobody knows this better than Derek Davis from St. George, Utah, who has taken his 2000 Dodge and completely customized it using parts from other trucks.
When Davis set out to buy the truck, he knew exactly what he was looking for.
“I grew up on a farm and a Dodge diesel was the only thing we ever had,” says Davis. “So I knew I’d own one myself when I got the chance.”
The Utah-native ended up buying his truck for $13,000, which was a great deal because it had less than 60,000 miles on her, which is relatively low for the year.
But the overall appearance of the truck wasn’t what he was looking for. Being a hands-on guy, he got down to business and began modifying his truck so it would match his style and his taste.
“The first thing I did was put the lift on. It’s an old Superlift from back when they made 7-inch lifts,” recalls Davis. “It came off a truck that was lifted back in 2000 or so. After that I bought new Cooper Discoverer STT tires and a set of Ultra wheels.”
From there Davis decided it was time to get his truck painted. His brother, Robert Davis, runs a paint shop so he was able to keep his business in the family. He also has a custom Cummins graphic airbrushed onto the tailgate.
“I was hanging out with a guy named Garrett Stokes one night and we were bored,” says Davis. “So we just decided to freehand this on. Luckily it turned out cool because it could have easily gone wrong.”
In his professional life, Davis is getting started in the truck industry at a local Dodge dealership as a parts salesman. He’s hands-on with trucks all day, which only helps fuel his enthusiasm for the industry.
“Right now my current job is just a start for me, but it’s something,” says Davis. “I have an associate in business and have always been interested in sales. I mess around with trucks all the time and I really enjoy it.”
The bumper that Davis picked out helps set his truck apart. The original bumper had come with a few dings from the previous owner, but when he looked into buying a brand new bumper, it was pretty expensive. So he decided to just improvise and find a style that he really liked from an older truck.
“The bumper is from a fourth gen,” says Davis. “I picked it up for $400 and then started to look at what I would have to do to get it on. It took a little redneck ingenuity, but I pulled it off.”
All he ended up having to do was unbolt the original brackets and make new ones to make it attach. Davis had planned to chop it in half and re-weld it, but he didn’t have to go that far. The bumper lined up almost perfectly and the fog lights wired right up as well.
Davis is used to mixing and matching to get a custom look. When it came to his make-it-work attitude, he had experience.
“With my last truck, I used a Cadillac front end so that’s how the idea for this bumper came to me,” says Davis with a smile.
As of right now, the truck currently has a stock intake and turbo but not for long. He has an HX40 ready to install as soon he puts on new injectors. The exhaust system was custom made by a company out of St. George called Tire Pros. The truck has two tuners on it; the Edge Smart Box and the M.A.D.S Smarty.
“I just bought an Attitude tuner to install so I can use it for gauges and then take the comp box out,” says Davis.
The wheels are also going to be updated, but not completely replaced. Sounds kind of confusing, right?
“I have a set of 18 inch Moto Metal Wheels, but with the negative 44 offset, they don’t like that here in Southern Utah,” laughs Davis. “So I have them but I’m going to keep the Utlra ones too so I can put them back on when I get caught.”
This sleek looking truck attracts a lot of attention and that’s been the plan since day one. Davis has had a clearly outlined plan that he’s been following to get this truck exactly how he wants it.
“I look at everything about my truck as a project,” says Davis. “It keeps my busy and it keeps my out of trouble.”
The best part about his truck?
“It’s completely paid off,” says Davis.
To read more about the companies mentioned in this article, go to the Diesel Tech Aftermarket Section.