Mint Chocolate – Mike Lankford’s High Altitude 2014 RAM 2500

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Building fully custom lifted trucks is typically left to professional shops, but one look at 22-year-old Mike Lankford’s 2014 RAM 2500 Cummins Diesel “Mint Chocolate” and you might have to think twice on that theory. That’s because, though Lankford certainly knows what he’s doing when it comes to building custom vehicles, this massive beast was built by Mike not in a professional shop, but in his own driveway. Take notes, because we’re sure you’ll be hearing the name Mike Lankford quite a bit more!

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Photos & Words: Lindsey Fisher

There’s no pinpointing exactly when Mike became interested in the custom truck world as it seems he’s been into trucks since a wee tyke pushing around lego trucks and the like. As soon as he purchased his very first truck, a 2000 Ford F-250 in need of a lot of loving, at the age of 16, Mike’s passion for the industry was solidified. Ever since, he’s been lifting, customizing and building just about everything that comes within his reach, including a 1000+rwhp drag truck that’s just about finished. Amazingly, he’s also had a hand in 15 previous SEMA Show truck builds with various companies, including the very RAM 2500 you see here. That’s right, if this truck looks vaguely familiar, it might be because it was on display front and center at the 2014 SEMA Show.

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Mike bought his truck brand new in September of 2014 with plans to build a SEMA Show ride. This left little time to waste with SEMA being the first week of November and Mike immediately dove head first into the project, tearing everything from the frame down off the truck and gutting the axles.

Once the undercarriage was gutted and Mike secured all the new parts, he sent the full Kelderman air suspension system, as well as the axles and various other components to be powder coated in none other than Prismatic Powders finish. Once these components were back in Mike’s possession and the axles were put back together, there was just two weeks left to finish the full customization before shipping out for SEMA. With nearly no sleep for 14 days and help from some close friends, Mike completed the build at 3 a.m. on October 31st, 2014, just before hitting the road to debut at the kickoff of the annual SEMA Show in Las Vegas.

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Making the RAM stand out from the crowd is the truck’s unique color scheme, with Cortez Teal suspension components, light surrounds, wheel faces and interior trim. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the suspension is a sky-high Kelderman custom air suspension setup, one of Mike’s favorite components of the truck. This suspension allows the truck to ride a whopping 10 inches above factory ride height, while also giving it the ability to be lowered down to just three inches above the factory lift for easy access. Not only does it look cool, it also makes for a much smoother ride and a completely adjustable stance.

With the suspension fully extended, the 24×14-inch American Force THOR Face Plate Series wheels (one set of only a handful created) tuck nicely under the truck’s body, while massive 37-inch Toyo rubber keeps the 8,700lb truck planted to the ground. With the suspension system and wheel/tire combination easily helping the Dodge achieve the next level of custom build status, additional performance components, like 4.11 gears, an S&B intake, 6-inch MBRP exhaust, and an Edge performance chip were added to the truck, to make sure the undercarriage didn’t out shine the rest of the build. The exterior lighting, including a couple of Rigid Industries light bars, two sets of Rigid’s D2 Duallies, and under-glow effects follow suit, giving the truck high-visibility capabilities on dark stretches of road.

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Rounding out the build is the truck’s Black leather interior, accented by custom Teal Snake Skin hydro-dipped trim components. The result is a very custom but astonishingly “modest” lifted beast that draws attention and envy everywhere it goes. For such a “young gun” on the lifted truck scene, Mike certainly knows how to make a statement.

“I love the smiles and thumbs-ups I get just driving down the road,” Mike told us. “If me doing what i love can also make others happy, then it makes everything well worth it.”

Mike truly followed his passion in building his truck, and it paid off. Now working as an independent contractor, he hopes to one day soon open a shop of his own under the name High Altitude Diesel Performance, specializing in building custom lifted truck and diesel builds. Area enthusiasts have already put in their requests for future SEMA Show rides built by Mike, and from the looks of this impressive rolling billboard, we’re sure to see a lot of builds from Mike and his future shop in the next few years and beyond. Stay tuned as we’ll be there every step of the way!

Lift’d Specs

Owner: Mike Lankford
Vehicle: 2014 RAM 2500 Cummins Diesel
Hometown: Arvada, Colorado

Wheels/Tires:
feature_2724×14 American Force THOR Face Plate Series
37-inch Toyo M/Ts
VV Concepts spiked lug nuts

Suspension/Chassis:
Full Kelderman air ride suspension
Lifts from 3 inches over stock ride height to 10 inches over stock
FOX 2.0 shocks
Dual Viair compressors
Powder coated in three layers of Prismatic Powder finish: Silver Metallic, Cortez Teal, and Clear
4:11 front and rear gear ratios
Performed by: High Altitude Diesel Performance (truck owner)

Body/Paint:
Factory Black paint
Driveshaft, end links, and other suspension components painted black for contrast by Lawson’s Paint & Body
Custom Teal grille made by Tyler Booth of Cash Is King Grilles
AMP Research steps
Rigid Industries 50-inch Hyper Spot
Rigid Industries 40-inch Hyper Spot
Rigid Industries D2 Duallys (2 sets)
feature_22Rigid Industries Rock Lights
Roll-N-Lock tonneau cover
Performed by: High Altitude Diesel Performance (truck owner)

Interior/Stereo:
Factory black leather interior
Teal snake skin hydro-dipped graphic trim on door panels, steering wheel, center console/navigation system
Matching Teal door trim, interior door handles, and window control surrounds
Direct Tint window tint
Painted/dipped by Lawson’s Paint & Body; installed by owner

Engine/Performance:
6.7L Cummins Diesel running 30psi of boost
6-inch MBRP exhaust
Edge performance chip
Performed by: High Altitude Diesel Performance (truck owner)

Special Thanks/Sponsors:
Kelderman Suspension, Toyo Tires, American Force Wheels, Lawson’s Paint & Body, Prismatic Powder, Roll-N-Lock, Direct Tint, Edge Performance, S&B Intake, MBRP Exhaust, Viair, VV Concepts, Rigid Industries lights, Cash is King Grilles, Amp Research, Yukon gears, John Meyer, Doug Lawson, Dave Moore, Justin Scrivner, Matt Maes, Corey Kurtis, Jake Hill, Ryan Engstrand and Teren DiTirro.


Check Out the Full Lift’d Gallery HERE:


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