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.