The truck market has never been more intense than in the past decade with each manufacturer releasing a bigger more powerful version of their flagship rig, all the while trying to stick it to the competition. Ford should probably get the credit for starting the high-performance truck trend by introducing the Raptor, then later upping the ante with a Shelby version. This didn’t go over well with the guys over at Dodge. No way they were going to sit by idly and not conjure up some dark magic of their very own. They did so and in the form of the Ram TRX.
Ballistic Build: DRK WNTR TRX Ram Truck Build
With tips and tricks carried over from the muscle car side of the house, these MOPAR guys know all about stuffing lots of crazy horsepower underneath a vehicle’s hood. It only made sense to grab one of their most mighty and robust power plants, the Hellcat engine, and massage it between the frame rails of their indestructible four wheel drive platform. Nothing screams Raptor killer more than a supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 with 702 horsepower and 650 foot-pounds of torque.
Dude, Where’s My Truck
Fortunately for the staff here at Ballistic, we were allowed to ride shotgun on one amazing Ram TRX build—appropriately titled DRK WNTR. More on that later. With a history of building several Dodge Power Wagons in the past and a trade-in value on his current Ram worth around $42,000, Dan Flavin was ready to build a TRX of his very own. There was, however, only one small problem you see, we were in the midst of Covid. With low inventory across the nation, just sourcing one was quickly becoming difficult. A major tip of the hat goes out to the guys at Dodge and Stellantis’ Ram Truck division, who were able to cycle Dan’s Rig through in under 90 days.
Heading off to Szott Dodge, in Michigan, to acquire said TRX, Dan could have never imagined the sight that would unfold in front of him early that morning. It was there, he noticed the truck he laid eyes on the day prior was missing. His heart began to sink. Seems these vehicles were in such high demand that two TRXs had been stolen off the lot, along with a couple other Jeep SRTs that evening. But worry not, as Dan’s new beast was tucked safely away in the service department where it was being prepped for his arrival.
The Build Begins
The Ram TRX comes stock with a list of goodies including a supercharged Hemi engine, Bilstein shocks, 35-inch tall Goodyear Wranglers and a ton of onboard tech. With a sticker price of $76,000 in base trim, Dan opted to raise the bar even higher. He achieved this by ordering up the carbon-fiber level 2 trim group and the trailer tow and bed utility group. All these goodies brought the total purchase price up to around $84,000, but he was just getting started.
The truck was then sent over to Midnight Protective Films for the first step in this ultimate TRX transformation. There, the talented hands of a shop owner Chad Nasir, along with his team, would begin the tedious task of installing paint protection film. The rig was in good hands, as these guys have a reputation throughout the country for being the “go-to” guys for high-end exotic car owners. PPF is the first line of defense against the harsh elements the TRX was sure to see under the adventurous and demanding lifestyle that Dan regularly puts his vehicles through.
Going Stealth Mode
Once a matte or “stealth” finish was picked out, the guys made quick work of wrapping the exterior of the truck ensuring it would be safe from rock chips and debris for years to come. With the plan of adding aftermarket LED light bars out front, convincing Dan to allow them to tint the headlights as well wasn’t a hard decision. Continuing on the outside, the windshield was the next order of business. More protection film was in order to protect against sand and wind damage, as well helping to shed rainwater, making windshield wipers almost unnecessary.
The protective film treatment carries through to the interior, where the crew tinted the side windows as well as the inside of the windshield. This helps add a touch of darkness, while also alleviating the need for overpriced sunglasses. The treatment continues with film application to the upgraded carbon-fiber interior panels, as well as the 12-inch infotainment display screen. The finishing touch to the interior comes in the form of ceramic coating everything to further protect it from harm.
A ceramic coating to the truck’s exterior PPF provided the final layer of protection against harsh Michigan winters. Midnight Protection Film finished up the job by installing protective plastic on the truck’s exterior windows. This reduces a criminal’s ability to break into your vehicle for a quick smash and grab.
With an amazing looking TRX in our possession, we headed off to see two of the industry’s best fellow truck enthusiasts, Ron and Blake Hibdon, over at Lake Orion Truck Accessories. This father and son dream team have performed work on all of Dan’s trucks for the last 10 years. Well versed in the aftermarket automotive industry and able to overcome any installation troubles they might encounter, DRK WNTR was in capable hands. Here the guys would tackle the job of installing custom bumpers complete with LED lighting from Addictive Desert Designs.
The front bumper setup consists of two 20-light bars mounted in the center, one white and one amber color, which is great for day driving. A set of white 4-inch cube lights mounted on each side rounds out the package. The rear bumper is a simple setup with just two 4-inch lights mounted on the sides that provide additional lighting while in reverse. Both bumpers provide not only great protection against the rocks and terrain but give the TRX an aggressive look on the mean streets of Michigan.
The TRX build just wouldn’t be complete without a proper firearms storage solution. For this part, Dan turned to the best in the business, Grey Man Tactical. This Louisiana-based company is the solution to any vehicle that holds a firearm. These panels are designed not only to keep firearms safe while traveling but also the inhabitants of said vehicle.
As you can see, when the latest car craze came calling this past year, it allowed Dan the perfect opportunity to build his latest project truck. And with the changing political climate and lack of sanity in the USA, it left him with a license plate appropriately named, DRK WNTR.
SPECIFICATIONS: DRK WINTR RAM TRX
MIDNIGHT PROTECTIVE FILMS
- Window tint (ceramic)
- Xpel Satin PPF
- Ceramic interior & PPF interior carbon fiber
- smoke headlights/ taillights
LAKE ORION TRUCK ACCESSORIES
- Valentine V1 Gen 2 direct wire with Savvy (mute/volume selector)
- AMP power steps
- Gum Creek handgun mounts
ADDICTIVE DESERT DESIGNS
- TRX Bomber Front Bumper with two light bars and two D lights
- TRX Bomber Rear Bumper with two D lights
GREY MAN TACTICAL
- Tough Hook (plate carrier)
- Two RMP X (aluminum) seat back
- Two vehicle locking rifle back SC-6 mount
- Two Butt stock extensions
- Locking picatinny rifle mount
- Two RMP covers
- Four Quickfist 3-inch clamps (tripods)
- Two G Code rifle magazines
- Two G Code pistol magazines
- Tough Hook Kit
- Four Web Dominators
OA COST TALLY: $84,470
This article originally appeared in the April-May 2022 issue of Ballistic Magazine. Get your copy or digital subscription at OutdoorGroupStore.com.