This article originally appeared in the November 2020 issue.
Here’s a unique bright red truck from the mountains of Northern California, not far from Sacramento. It’s a western hauler flatbed, and although we’ve featured a couple flatbeds in prior issues this year, we typically don’t come across the more sophisticated flatbed builds outside of the SEMA Show, as flatbeds are typically used as work vehicles. Thus, they tend to not get built up as often.
This is a work vehicle that sees plenty of usage that a flatbed is well-designed for, but this one is more built up than most of its kind for something you don’t see at SEMA. Not only is it full of character, but this one is a stick shift as well. While stick shifts are easier to find for the Dodge/RAM than they are for the Ford and GM trucks, they’re still less common than automatics, making this truck even more special.
Alejandro “Alex” Ramos, a teenager from Camino, Calif., has owned his 24-valve 5.9L Cummins 2000 Dodge RAM 3500 for over a year now, and within that time frame, the truck has come a very long way. The truck started out as a stock dually vehicle that looked somewhat run down, but Alex had it completely rejuvenated. Now it has super single wheels with tractor-trailer-like rims, and the performance is totally beefed up. That makes it great for all the tough work he does with the Cummins.
Alex isn’t finished building his beast yet, but the amount of work done to this truck will still blow you away when you see it in person. The truck is one of Alex’s favorite things in the world, and you’ll be able to tell if you follow him on Instagram (@alex_ram5.9), where almost all of his photos are of the truck, and a decent number of them are alongside his girlfriend Taylor who digs the truck just as much as he does.
“Yeah, she likes it a lot,” Alex laughs.His username also emphasizes that his last name Ramos fits very well with the RAM model name, so he might as well have been born to live the diesel life. Interestingly, Alex completed all of the work on the truck himself; not a single performance shop was used, making his build at least twice as impressive as it looks!
“I don’t like others doing what I can,” he says. “I need to show that I can do it myself.” That competitive mindset is a very good way to think. If you think you can do a quality truck build all by yourself, then by all means go for it.
A lot of work done on Alex’s 24-valve Cummins has been under the hood, as that all includes 195-horsepower BD Diesel Performance injectors, a BD Diesel high-performance VP44 injection pump, a Banks Power High-RAM air intake elbow, and a Holset HX40 Super 40 turbo. He keeps all of that running strong with Hot Shot’s Secret products. Behind the flywheel and before the NV4500 transmission is a South Bend Clutch dual-disk clutch, plenty well-designed to handle all the amped up performance that the engine puts out. With this setup that provides enhanced fuel flow, airflow and boost, the flatbed western hauler definitely gets the performance it deserves, and Alex has no problems with his heavy towing or hauling.
The truck may have a more modest 3-inch SkyJacker leveling kit, but the 22-inch super single Alcoa 10-lug nut wheels with 37-inch Toyo Open Country R/T tires definitely make the rig look bigger than it is. Alex is part of a social media trend called 10-Lug Mafia.
“It’s just because I have 10 lugs and it’s just like a group thing, ha ha,” he says with a grin. The truck is also covered in custom LED lights with its Recon headlights (with red Cummins emblems, showing how much Alex loves Cummins) along with its MICTUNING rock lights and other lights throughout. The fourth-generation RAM bumper swap also gives the truck a newer look. The body may not look the most aggressive in terms of aftermarket parts, but with the red color scheme, the truck doesn’t need them, as the red is plenty aggressive enough.
The Truck Life
Although it’s primarily his daily driver, Alex uses his truck for many activities with heavy towing being the most intense, as it’s a farm truck that tows around heavy equipment on both gooseneck and bumper-pull trailers.
“I pull excavators and materials, basically,” he says.
The truck goes to many shows as well, which isn’t surprising considering how well-built it is.
“The shows I go to are Truck Mania and other small shows,” he adds.
Although he might end up being competitive in events such as drags, sled pulls or dyno runs with the amount of engine work done on the rig, he attends the shows primarily for the show ‘n shine portion.
“This is a ‘daddy’s truck’ and a pavement princess, so I don’t want to be too rough with her,” Alex laughs. “However, I do have a good amount of fun off the pavement every now and then. When I was choosing my truck, I needed something that was going to last a long time. I wanted something that had enough power and more for all day-to-day tasks, from going to work every day to going to shows and meets on the weekends. I also looked for an elegant, yet tough truck.”
Diesels do last a long time, and the inline-6 Cummins does put out a lot of torque, especially with its several major engine upgrades.
As far as future work on the truck goes, Alex plans to have a large 7-inch SkyJacker lift kit installed soon, along with 40-inch Toyo MTS tires, MOVE bumpers, a custom interior, Swanky Steel custom exhaust stacks, and an upgraded paint job. He has always had big dreams of owning a rig like this one, and he certainly hasn’t let anything get in his way.
“You’ve got to dream until your dreams come true,” the young Cummins owner says. “I have very big plans to enhance the things I do with my truck.”
BD Diesel Performance
Hot Shot’s Secret
Recon Truck Accessories
South Bend Clutch