It's been said that form and function are diametrically opposed concepts; that a 4x4 that looks cool doesn't necessarily perform at a level that backs up its appearance. However, don't tell that to Kenyatta Goins; the man specializes in molding style and performance into impressive packages through his Tempe, Arizona, company, Goins Automotive Group.
That a showy 4x4 would be off-road capable isn't really big news; it's just that we're used to seeing legions of dinged, scratched, muddied, and bloodied 'wheelers on the trails we visit, and we often forget that there are trucks such as Goins' flame thrower out there - competent, personalized, and rugged off-road machines that deliver equal doses of comfort, civility, and performance.
To get the Ram's buildup on track, Kenyatta chose an interesting starting point. While most of us would install an aftermarket suspension and custom wheels and tires as initial upgrades, Kenyatta concentrated on the Dodge's interior and exterior accessories. The Club Cab received a C.R. Laurence Power Slider rear window, a Stull grille, a SnugTop hard tonneau, and APC clear corner lights. The massive front and rear bumpers are Runnel products. The front bumper is topped with Warn lights and sports a Warn winch, while the rear bumper uses Warn backup lights and a matching Warn winch. For scratch-proof 'wheeling, Rhino Lining was sprayed on the body's lower rocker panels, on the bumpers, and, of course, inside the bed. The word striking best describes the Ram's paint. The truck was painted basic black by Kenyatta and Cliff Frost of Goins Automotive Group using Sherwin-Williams paint, then was topped with Corvette Yellow flames designed by Ross Berlanga of G Cube Designs.
The interior is an equal mix of aftermarket and OE. The dash and door panels, miscellaneous trim, and the custom under-the-rear-seat Coustic subwoofer enclosure were painted Corvette Yellow to match the truck's graphics. The stereo is impressive, using a Kenwood head unit, a pair of four-channel Coustic amps that power door-mounted Coustic 6x9-inch dual voice-coil speakers (two per door), and a single Coustic two-channel amp that powers the quartet of 10-inch subs. Kenyatta built a slick bed-bound panel to house the Coustic amps and electrical wiring, all of which are resplendent in Corvette Yellow tint. Finishing off the interior is a Magellan GPS Navigation System.
When you look at the stance and stature of Kenyatta's Dodge 4x4, it's hard to believe there's but a 2-inch lift, but it's a fact. Rancho front coils, extended-length upper and lower front axle links, Rancho Add-A-Leaves at the rear, a pair of Rancho RSX nitrogen-charged dampers at each wheel in the front, and a single RSX on each rear wheel form the nucleus of a basic but truly functional suspension. The forged Weld Stone Crusher wheels and the BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/AKO tires deliver maximum doses of traction, strength, and style.
There's a lot to like about the Dodge Viper-related V-10 engine used to power this Ram. The 8.1L, multiport fuel-injected engine is a pussycat, exhibiting a 10-cylinder purr until the throttle is punched, then the K&N Filtercharger, the JBA Headers, the MagnaFlow exhaust system and mufflers, and the Level Ten-shifted 47RE transmission turn that purr into a snarl. Dual Optima batteries provide the juice, and the diffs contain 4.10:1 gearsets.