In ancient times, flaming cannonballs were used as weapons of pure destruction, with their sole purpose being to obliterate anything in their path.Fast forward to the present day, and the same concept holds true. Oakley recently teamed up with Dodge for primary sponsorship duties of their NHRA Funny Car Program. In the same way that Oakley-backed Funny Car driver Gary Scelzi rockets his 7,000hp Hemi-powered cannonball down the quarter-mile at speeds in excess of 250 mph, this '04 Dodge Ram 1500 4x4 does the same off-road. Built for promoting the NHRA Team, Oakley, and Dodge, Oakley's veteran Motorsports Marketing Director Deanna McCardle enlisted the services of Street Concepts of Huntington Beach, California, to get the project rolling.
"Our primary objective was to create a theme truck that would incorporate Oakley's product line with the lifestyle and feel of our sponsors and our NHRA driver, Gary Scelzi," McCardle said. All it takes is one look at the camouflage-and-flame paint scheme to know that the team hit its mark and then some. To create the camouflage patterns found on the rig, Oakley's graphic artists provided paint expert Chuck Buckler of Banshie Studios in Beltsville, Maryland, with the same patterns found on Oakley's latest line of integrated MP3-player sunglasses, aptly named the Thump. From there, Buckler freehanded the design onto the white sheetmetal of the truck. With the camouflage markings in place, Buckler proceeded to apply multiple layers of two-tone gray Standox paint to the truck's skin via a technique that included a pressure washer, liquid masking tape, and numerous sponges. Following the application of the camo paintjob, House of Kolor's Sunset Pearl Orange and Sunset Pearl Red were airbrushed as flames onto each side of the rig. The splattered paint effect was applied via airbrush and manual splattering techniques. Topping off the five-day project, three-man crew, and 270-hour paint scheme were four layers of Standox clearcoat.
With the paint busy curing, a Fabtech Motorsports 6-inch suspension system was installed, with the company's new reservoir-equipped shocks accompanying the setup. Looking as though it was created solely for this project, a pair of painted-to-match gray-and-black 22x10-inch KMC Backseat wheels wrapped in 365/12.50R22 BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain T/As was installed. To ease entering and exiting the vehicle, a pair of power-actuated bi-folding AMP Research running boards are tucked neatly along the framerails and out of sight when not in use.
Being such a high-profile vehicle, Street Concepts' Shawn Williams worked closely with the team at Twins Custom Concepts in Orange, California, on the fabrication of the numerous one-of-a-kind billet-aluminum pieces laced throughout the truck. Creating items such as the front and rear prerunner-style bumpers and the Oakley side emblems that have been channeled into the sides of the truck's bed took countless hours and many sleepless nights to complete. The crew at Twins was also responsible for the extensive fabrication on the truck's bed and tailgate. Built for the sole purpose of transporting two Kawasaki dirt bikes from venue to venue, the Twins crew fashioned wheel tracks into a false-metal floor design, which allows the front wheels to lock into place and the bikes to be tied down. A specially fabricated swing door on the bottom of the bed unit opens to reveal a holding area for the matching aluminum bike ramp. Given that the truck's bed has a 6-foot box, the rear tailgate required extensive modifications to accommodate the rear wheels of the bikes and still remain closed. For ease of installation, the tailgate was converted from the standard fold-down configuration to a swing-out style. Custom notches were made into the gate to incorporate the excess portions of the rear dirt tires. The tailgate handle was relocated to the interior of the gate and is operated via a push-button device.
An after-cat Bassani exhaust system serves as the vehicle's advance warning system to signal other drivers that trouble is on the horizon, while a pair of 520-series PIAA off-road lights lends additional support toward the effort. In the event that the rig must traverse mud pools or lava flows, a pair of PIAA silicone windshield wipers was installed to keep the driver's view unobstructed. Thermonuclear protection is achieved via tinted windows provided by the Tint Pros in Huntington Beach, California
The cabin of the Cannonball is as intimidating-looking as it is functional. To carry the warrior theme into the cockpit, some of the industry's best interior tuners were called in to assist. Various dashboard and miscellaneous trim pieces were painted complimentary colors by Suite E Graphics. The factory cloth interior was replaced by Katzkin of Montebello, California, with leather, and Oakley provided Kevlar seat covers. Adorning each seat and door panel are custom-applied billet aluminum Oakley Icon symbols. A U.S. Speedo stainless-steel instrument gauge cluster replaced the factory unit. The most futuristic aspect of the interior, if not the entire truck, is the Eclipse/Kicker audio/video system. A 6-1/2-inch Eclipse DVD/CD-monitored head unit controls the stealth system, which consists of a Kicker amplifier that powers one 10-inch Solo-Baric sub and numerous pairs of Kicker components. Powering the Al & Ed's car audio system are Lightning audio cables and an Optima Yellow Top battery.
With the racing season just getting started, the chances of coming into contact with this rig are pretty good. If we were you, we'd think about our surroundings and plan some escape routes to avoid becoming cornered and having nowhere to run. It's no fun having a cannonball coming at you.
|Owners/hometown ||: ||Oakley and Dodge/Foothill Ranch, California |
|Vehicle ||: ||'04 Dodge Ram 4x4 Crew Cab shortbed |
|Suspension ||: ||6-inch Fabtech Motorsports suspension kit |
|Tires ||: ||365x12.50R22 BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain T/As |
|Wheels ||: ||22x10-inch custom-painted KMC Backseat |
|Shocks ||: ||3-inch Fabtech Motorsports reservoir shocks |
|(front and rear) |
|Engine ||: ||345hp Hemi 5.7L V-8 |
|Other modifications ||: ||Bassani 4-inch exhaust; custom paint; |
|Eclipse/Kicker audio/video system; custom |
|interior; PIAA 580-series off-road lights; AMP |
|Research retractable running boards, U.S. |
|Speedo instrument gauge |