Rouge for Red

A French twist on a ’15 Ram 2500



Have you ever pon­dered what it would be like to build your dream truck? To pick out the wheels and lift and color choices—and then drive it ev­ery day? Well, Heather Swin­doll trans­formed those thoughts into real­ity with a lit­tle plan­ning and in­ge­nu­ity. Heather spends her days as a high school teacher, and plan­ning lessons and stu­dent ac­tiv­i­ties comes nat­u­rally to her. De­ter­min­ing how to turn her daily driven Ram 2500 into a SEMA show­stop­per started with a phone call to well-known cover truck builder An­drew Lowe.

The duo hatched a plan to build the truck in less than 90 days and take it to SEMA, where it would be dis­played with McGaughy’s Sus­pen­sion. To meet this dead­line, the first step was a phone call to Steve McGaughy to talk about a lift kit. The call re­sulted with a 10-inch kit. Then Heather met with store man­ager Bryan Den­hart at All­out Of­froad in Spring, Texas, where they hashed out ev­ery de­tail of the build. With the 10-inch McGaughy’s lift kit al­ready on the way, 12-inch 2.5 Fox by­pass reser­voir shocks were or­dered for the front to keep the ride qual­ity. While the rear re­ceived some smooth-body Fox shocks, a set of Hell­wig rear helper bags was mounted on a pair of All­out fab­ri­cated lower brack­ets to take care of any rear-end sag when tow­ing. With a McGaughy’s dual front steer­ing sta­bi­lizer and Hell­wig sway bars round­ing out the sus­pen­sion, it was time to de­cide on a color. This is when Pris­matic Pow­ders came through with a color-matched Dodge white gold metal­lic pow­der.

When the All­out team was busy in­stalling the lift kit, the front and rear axles were shipped off to Swin­doll Paint & Body of Pasadena, Texas, where they were cleaned up and covered with a fresh coat of Ram cherry red paint from Ax­alta. Once they were painted, the axles were fur­ther cleaned up with R1 ro­tors and PML dif­fer­en­tial cov­ers, which were filled with Royal Pur­ple gear oil. With the axles back at All­out, it was time to in­stall the new 24x14 Moto Metal Forged wheels and 375/40R24 Nitto tires.

Once the truck was back on all fours, it was time to at­tack the mo­tor, and Heather turned to Best Au­to­mo­tive of King­wood, Texas, which set to work mak­ing the truck breathe bet­ter with an air in­take, in­ter­cooler, and man­i­fold from AFE Power. All that air ex­its through a 5-inch Mag­naflow stain­less ex­haust sys­tem, with the tun­ing han­dled by an Edge Juice mod­ule.

With the truck rid­ing and run­ning right, it was ap­pear­ance time—and Heather knew just how to ac­ces­sorize. She started with a call to Bran­don and Dustin Naivar at Show­Time Metal Works, who sup­plied one of their new HD front bumpers for the build, along with a grille and rear bumper. With light­bars from Rigid and cus­tom head­lights from Retro Shop, the front of the truck was com­plete. Color-matched fen­der flares from EGR and Amp Re­search Pow­erSteps com­plete the sides of the truck. The bed is where the party starts, be­gin­ning with a roll-back Re­trax bed­cover that re­veals a pair of Kicker marine tower speak­ers, a BedRug, and a pair of Un­der­Cover SwingCases that make this the ul­ti­mate beach cruiser.

Un­der the bed, the de­tails con­tinue with a color-matched train horn setup from Viair and HornBlasters. If this doesn’t keep you awake, the Kicker au­dio sys­tem in­side the cab surely will. That’s be­cause the de­tails on the in­side match those of the out­side, with a leather-wrapped sub box hous­ing a pair of 10-inch Kicker subs and an Edge In­sight dis­play mounted on the A-pil­lar run­ning all the ac­ces­sories.

At­ten­tion to de­tail is what sets cer­tain builds apart from the rest, and for Heather it was all about the de­tails. Since the Ram is big and red, you might think she named her truck Clif­ford, but alas she went with the name Rouge. “It’s French for red,” she says.

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