For owner and Lift’d Truck enthusiast John Nelson, building a SEMA Show truck has been a goal, decades in the making. His involvement in the custom truck scene first began near 1998, since then he has dedicated many long hours to the customization of lifted trucks. Keeping it all in the family, John has built and driven a number of Dodge Rams, specifically a 1998 1500 2wd and a 2001 3500 4×4. His most recent project, which he has endearingly named the Fun Ton, marks his biggest and baddest build yet.
Photos: Mike Alexander | Words: Michael Phillips
The Fun Ton is a roof-to-road show truck, yet still plenty capable of getting filthy both on and off the pavement. The 2015 Ram 3500 Limited was built for last year’s SEMA Show as a display for Toys for Trucks, a specialty truck shop located in Hesperia, California. Toys for Trucks handled the build process A-Z along side John, helping him to make his vision a reality. The truck was built with partnerships from both Banks Power and SnugTop.
The ultra high grade factory interior was left in place, while a full custom audio system was installed by Audiotistics in Victorville, CA. The tucked electronics and audio components are only given away by the addition of custom dash mounted touch screen sPOD and touch screen Kelderman air suspension controller. Custom LED lighting has also been placed in impressive display throughout the bed interior, as well as the underbody and suspension.
The suspension itself is comprised of a full front and rear Kelderman 10-12-inch, 4-Link Air Suspension set up with four-corner Air Control setting the adjustability of the front and rear bags, via the dash mounted touch screen controller. The kit utilizes Kelderman adjustable control arms and is further elevated by means of KING Shocks 2.5-inch reservoir shocks with 2.5-inch piggyback reservoirs in the rear. The factory spare tire crossmember has been removed and in its place a custom fabricated crossmember sits, offering mounting points for the air tanks and compressors. Lastly completing the suspension modifications are BDS front adjustable track bar and swaybar end links, extended front driveshaft, and KING dual steering stabilizer – all installed by the expert Toys For Trucks crew.
Beneath the suspension customizations sits a custom set of American Force Brawlers, finished in white and polished chrome. The Brawlers measure 24×14 inches and are paired 40/15.5/R24 Toyo Open Country MT tires. Power is sent to the wheels by the potent 6.7L Cummins Turbo Diesel motor. A full Banks Power Exhaust system provides gloriously sounding exhales, and works in tune with Banks touch screen iQ Gauge system and Gibson Performance exhaust exit tip.
The Fun Ton’s custom soul is outfitted beautifully with powdercoating and graphics for a bright white on blue color scheme with highly polished accents. The suspension modifications and additions have been painted and powder coated Candy Blue, to contrast with the white paint. White tow hooks and wheel center pieces further highlight the highly polished hoops and bumpers. The chrome front bumper is rigged with a 20-inch Rigid LED Bar and dually LED Cubes in place of the factory fog lights. Finally, the TFT logo has been strategically placed over the body and SnugTop bed cab by Vinyl Studio.
For John Nelson, the Fun Ton marks the greatest step in his Lift’d truck game thus far, but by no means marks the peak. He continues to push the envelope in his connection with custom trucks. His beloved Fun Ton might be seeing another round of updates, he plans on changing out the bumpers, grille, and other custom touches to update the build and keep it fresh. The prospect of building trucks is such an enjoyable one as they offer tangible manifestations of goals and achievement. Building a SEMA Truck was for a long time Nelson’s biggest goal. Now that he has seen it realized, he is already considering how to one up himself in this year’s SEMA build and we at look forward to seeing his new round of custom touches – stay tuned!
Owner: John Nelson
Vehicle: 2015 Ram 3500 Limited
Hometown: Victorville, CA
Wheels / Tires:
Suspension / Chassis:
Kelderman 10-12-inch 4-Link air suspension, front & rear
Kelderman adjustable control arms
KING Shock 2.5-inch reservoir shocks
BDS adjustable track bars
BDS swaybar endlinks
KING dual steering stabilizer
Custom fabricated rear crossmember for air tanks and compressors
Interior / Audio:
Engine / Performance:
6.7L Cummins Turbo Diesel
Full Banks Power Exhaust System
Paint / Body:
Factory Bright White paint
Paint matched wheel centers with polished hoops
Powdercoated and painted Candy Blue suspension components
TFT Logo vinyl graphics
Custom mud flaps and brackets
20-inch Rigid LED Bar in lower front bumper, dually LED fog lights
Bright White painted Monster tow hooks on rear bumper
SnugTop full bed cab
Special Thanks From Owner:
“A huge thanks to James and Keith at Toys For Trucks and Tim at Audiotistics for their continued support!”