A Ram inspired by a classic fighter
Cliff Kano began drag racing in 2001 with a ’69 Ford Mustang. When the ’stang gave its all in a crash, he began racing his gas-powered Dodge truck. Fast-forward to 2006 when Cliff became the proud owner of the ’05 diesel-powered Ram truck you see here. Seeing the power that could be put down on the track and street with a diesel engine, Cliff began racing his oil burner and hasn’t turned back.
Some of the upgrades Cliff has made to his Ram truck include a 6-inch Superlift lift kit and Bilstein 5100 shocks. This lift allows him to run 37×13.50R18 Toyo Open Country M/T tires that are mounted on RBP 94R wheels. On the engine side of things, under the hood is mostly stock, but a BD Diesel fuel pump does help to ensure consistent fuel delivery even under full power for those ¼-mile runs. A Bully Dog OUTLook and Crazy Larry Tune boost the power for street and strip, as does the Devils Own water/methanol injection system. Power estimates are 450 hp at 3,000 rpm and 1,000 ft-lb at 2,500 rpm.
Other upgrades are a FS-2500 Bypass oil filter that keeps the engine oil cleaner and lasting longer, a deeper transmission pan for added transmission cooling and a few autometer gauges to improve systems monitoring. An MBPR 4-inch muffler and stainless exhaust replaced the stock system. The stock 48RC automatic tranny was reworked by J&D Transmissions out of Murray, Utah. They upgraded the clutch pack and installed a shift kit. Six States Driveline in Salt Lake City, Utah, beefed up the driveshafts and U-joints.
Perhaps the most distinctive feature of this truck is the paint job on the nose. Cliff has always loved the P40 Warhawk airplane and the classic shark’s mouth nose art used on them by the American Volunteer Group, AKA Flying Tigers, in the Burma theater during WWII. We’re told that the painter had to experiment a few times to get the look right; after all, a Ram truck nose is more contoured than that of a P40 fighter. DJ Motorsports was sourced for a grille that does a good job of carrying the shark theme across the grille, visually connecting the two pieces of art on the fenders. Also, Cliff has painted the logos of a few racetrack kills (wins) on the side of his rig. These are for some of the Ford and Chevy rigs he’s shot down in flames.
While this truck doesn’t seem to have a lot of stuff thrown at the engine, or wild power numbers, consider that all you really need is enough power to win. Cliff has proved this time and again. In fact, in 2008 he captured first place in the Open Class at the Rocky Mountain Raceway in Utah, during the Weekend on The Edge event. Not bad for a daily driver. Sadly this victory was followed by the death of his mother a week later. Cliff has dedicated every race and all of the wins since to his mom. Cliff has slowed down his racing activities to raise his two young sons, but vows to get fully back to racing as soon as the boys are old enough to enjoy the sport. He plans to pass on his love for diesel drag racing to the next generation, while honoring his mom, the prior generation.
By Trent Riddle
Photography by Kevin Wilson