When a Hot Rodder Goes Diesel

June 6th, 2011

Tex and images by Kevin Wilson

The age-old adage that “old hot rodders never die; they just get older” couldn’t be more true, especially if you ask Larry Maupin, of Dallas, Texas. He admits that the passion that makes hot rodders automotive enthusiasts never dies but changes as we get older. More specifically, the vehicles change, but the passion to never leave them stock-still remains.

Larry has been a lifelong automotive enthusiast. “I’ve been hot rodding since I was a teenager,” the 62-year-old photographer admits. Among his more classic hot rods is a `57 Chevy and, more recently, a truck hot rod––a Dodge Ram SRT-10 powered by a Viper V-10 motor.

The SRT-10 got him into trucks, so the next creation had to be a truck, a fast one. Enter Larry’s 2002 Dodge 2500 with a 24-valve Cummins diesel under the hood. The truck boasts the street-smart stance Larry loves, but it also has something his other hot rods didn’t: a 600-plus-horsepower diesel under the hood.

Larry admits the transition to diesel wouldn’t have been possible without the help of Bret Sudderth and the ODRA guys in Texas. They helped him make smart choices and got him involved with the Dallas-Ft. Worth Rams and Dallas-Ft. Worth Charity Racing League. Bret also coached Larry on building his first diesel hot rod and, judging from what you see here, I’d say they accomplished their goals.

Larry’s project Dodge started out as a stone stock, bright-red 2500 Ram Sport 4×2. The truck was leveled by pulling out two rear leaf springs at the rear and adding a set of Bell Tech Nitro-Drop shocks at each corner. Despite the stock height up front, the 305/50R20 rolling stock tucks nicely. The Nitto HT420s are mounted on 20×12 MB Motoring wheels for a street-smart look.

A big chunk of the group’s efforts went toward hot rodding the Cummins 24-valve. A FASS 150 fuel system feeds plenty of #2 up to an Industrial Injection Hot Rod VP-44 injection pump. Edge 155 injectors deliver even more fuel to the powerplant.

On the air-management side, an aFe intake and BladeRunner intake manifold feed plenty of air to an Industrial Injection Silver Bullet 64 turbo that makes an easy 48 pounds of boost, according to Larry. A ZEX 300-horse nitrous oxide system adds plenty more go power at the touch of a button, while a 5-inch turbo back exhaust culminates with a 6-inch chrome tip. Tuning is provided via an Adrenaline Quadzilla programmer. According to Larry, the setup generated 634 horsepower and 1,430 lb/ft of torque on the dyno.

Backing up the Cummins is the original 2002 Dodge 4-speed automatic, which was “custom built,” according to Larry. The built 48RE sports a billet torque converter with a 1,400 rpm stall speed and a billet flex plate. A custom valve body was also added. Putting the power to the ground is a set of 4:10 gears out back.

At first glance, we noticed this was one clean second-gen Dodge, even before we found the surprise under the hood. Color-matched Bushwacker fender flares help tuck the wide 20s, while the stock mirrors were replaced with color-matched Street Scene Calview units. Out back is a Lone Star Edition hard tonneau cover fitted with a real Ram SRT-10 wing. Angel Eyes replace the stock headlights for better vision and the custom look at night.

On the inside, the attention to detail and customization is just as good as it is on the outside. The interior remains basically stock, other than the Nitrous switches in the dash and A-pillar mounted tuner, and some custom Cummins floor mats. Also lurking inside is a wild Pioneer 1,400-watt sound system that incorporates MTX Audio speakers and a Pioneer touch-screen DVD head unit. Where the rear seat used to be, the folks at Tritek Audio in Garland, Texas, mounted a custom speaker enclosure that houses the subs and amps for the system. It also provided room for the nitrous bottle to be mounted securely inside.

So, how did a lifelong hot rodder get “bit” by the diesel bug? “I was impressed with the diesel people I met, as well as the high-performance aspect of diesel trucks,” Larry confesses. “My goal was to build a unique pro street-style truck that not only looked good, it also had to sound great and have power to spare.”

We think Larry accomplished his goals, and then some.

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