DREAM COME TRUE
This truck is a labor of love and a childhood dream come true for Mark Vecellio. Ever since attending Monster Truck and Show & Shine events as a kid, Mark has been enthusiastic about lifted diesel trucks, but could never afford one. After building a career in tattooing, connecting with the right people, and putting in lots of sweat equity, Mark, at age 27, was finally able to put together his dream ride, this 2014 RAM 2500 Cummins 4×4.
This truck was purchased new in December 2014 for around $60,000, and over the 1.5-year build out for SEMA 2016, Mark dropped another $40,000+ into it. While a passion build like this is never really done, it did get “completed” for the 2016 SEMA Show. Robbie Bryant at KEG Media, Asian Austin and Shawn at Optimal Diesel, and Mark’s step dad, Bill, and his girlfriend, Kimmi, really stepped up and helped make this dream build a reality.
Mark never really thought he’d be able to afford such a nice truck, and because of his heavy tattoos, he gets asked all the time if it is really his truck. He built it with money earned from a full-time career in tattooing, something many thought impossible. This impressive build is also Mark’s daily driver, something else many can’t believe.
This build really took off when Mark was connected to Bulletproof Suspension through some friends. His truck was to be used as the test bed for their 12-ft lift for the ’13+ RAM. Prototyping and making dreams come true aren’t quick and easy tasks however. It was a fifteen-hour drive each way to the Bulletproof shop from Mark’s home, and it took 12 weeks for the new suspension kit to be completed. As soon as Mark saw his truck roll out of the Bulletproof shop, he was instantly hooked on going all the way with the full build out of this truck. Customization ideas and dreams swirled wildly in his head.
The first order of business was hydro-dipping the interior trim pieces in blue ghost skulls, to match the blue suspension. Next came a complete speaker upgrade package that included a custom box under the rear seat, to house two 12-ft Alpine subs. Soon after, Mark dove into the engine with an EFI Live delete and Industrial Injection second gen swap. The swap replaces the stock turbo and manifold, reducing heat, creating better airfl ow and creating more power. It currently runs at up to 45 psi of boost. At the time, the kit wasn’t made for the ‘13+ RAM, so Shawn at Optimal Diesel had to do a little modifying, relocating the passenger side battery as well as customizing the down pipe and intercooler pipe.
The next phase of the build happened after Mark connected with Robbie Bryant, from KEG Media, at the 5RTrucks open house. Robbie was interested in Mark’s tattoo work, and a few months later, he and his wife, Keena, were under Mark’s skilled needle, getting tattoo cover-ups. The conversation naturally revolved around the industry and Mark’s truck. After expressing interest in checking out SEMA sometime, Mark was called in late July by Robbie asking if he wanted to bring his truck to the show. Mark was excited, but there was a catch.
The catch was that Mark only had a week to arrange and drive 22 hours to Tennessee for additional suspension work by Stryker Off Road Design. The SEMA crunch was truly on by the time Mark got his truck back, as he only had 15 days to install headlights, taillights, bumpers, grill, interior, and do all the paint and powder coating. Even though the main shop lined up to assemble this build fell through, Mark managed to put together the finishing touches in his driveway with the help of two close friends, as well as find quality local shops to handle the paint and powder coating. Mark Cescolini in Trinidad, Colorado, painted the body and Diesel Crew Performance painted the suspension in “Iced Candy Blue” with Prismatic Powders.
One of the key upgrades on this build is the Undercover Truck Lid that covers the bed. It is the LUX model and perfectly follows the bodylines of the RAM. They key is that is secures Mark’s tattoo equipment on his travels, preventing them from getting wet, stolen or bouncing out when going down the road. Swing cases in the bed hold cleaning supplies and other miscellaneous things that Mark doesn’t want rolling around the bed. Overall, it is a really clean way to top off this impressive build. Between a crazy hectic work schedule and insanely late nights, Mark was able to pull off the build just in time for SEMA 2016. He says he wouldn’t have been able to do it without the support of his girlfriend, Kimmi, her parents, Ken and Roe, all his good friends, and of course his sponsors.
Since our photo shoot with Mark’s truck after SEMA 2016, it has had a few more refinements. Josh Stoaks at SoCo Auto Performance redid the headlights and taillights, color matching them to the truck with blue accents and engraving the projectors with “Ink Monkey,” Mark’s tattoo parlor. A full Wetsound audio system has been installed in the bed of the truck thanks to Al at Creative Audio, bumping up the sound output of this monster exponentially.
You can regularly spot this truck rolling around Pueblo, Colorado, and at Lifted Trucks Colorado Club meet ups. Mark is extremely proud of his creation and has no plans to get rid of this truck anytime soon. He still has build dreams swirling around in his head, and can envision a full repaint in Pearl White with new wheels and powder-coated axels in its near future. He also loved the SEMA experience, and is keeping an eye out for the fifth generation RAM to launch for a possible future SEMA build.
Mark wants to give a special shout out to his step dad Bill Kishman. He stepped up and raised Mark from an early age and always taught him that the greatest things in life are never given, but instead have to be earned. He also conveyed that staying positive and chasing your dreams is the best way forward in life. This impressive RAM build embodies that spirit for Mark.DW