Words: KRISTIE REAL
Photos: DALE MARTIN | @DMARTY78
Sometimes you just have to jump head first into something you’re scared of or hesitant about. Fear of uncertainty holds you back from your potential, and you never know what’ll come out on the other side unless you take some risks.
That’s precisely what Damon Edmonds did when he first jumped into the custom truck scene. Always one for automotive eye candy, Damon had been intrigued with the scene but was always just an appreciative bystander. But then his friends Chris Payne (aka Truck Guru) and his co-worker talked him into selling his beloved custom Porsche to build his first truck.
After his baby was sold, he plunged deep into the build, making sure it was done right but with his own spin on things. “I wanted to do something out of the ordinary and different from what everyone else was doing, so I chose to go with a heavy-duty gas application,” which he describes as the reasoning behind his 2017 Ram 2500 with a 6.4 Hemi. “What makes this truck so special is that nobody builds a gas truck on the diesel scene at this level.”
As the very first truck he’s ever owned, Damon only had experience with lowered and performance rides, so having a big truck was a huge difference, which made him feel out of his element. But that didn’t stop him from moving forward with his newfound passion, and he was able to have his friends along for the ride as support, including one of his best friends Cory McIntosh of McIntosh Motorsport in Cincinnati, Ohio, who built the one-off custom suspension that makes the Ram tower as you see it now.
Because no custom should go without a name, Damon decided on “Hard As Nails” about the mean machine he sought to build. The plan was to transform the stock truck into something impressive but plans always change when dealing with something of this caliber. “The plan for the build got out of hand from the start,” he confesses. “It started as a moderate truck build on air ride with 24s and evolved to what you see today.” He relied on some industry vets for guidance, who helped steer him in the right direction regarding modifications, parts and adding extra flair to the build.
But Damon has no regrets and was impressed with how Hard As Nails turned out given it was his first foray into building show-worthy trucks. “My top mods on this build have to be my suspension, 4-line setup and motor performance by McIntosh Motorsport with Greg Leonard KapKing (aka One Ten Machining) and the custom paint job. I had it custom painted by one of the best, Solo Element from Orlando, Florida. The paint is all freehand designs with futuristic Lowrider style patterns with layers upon layers of Kandy Red and metal flake topped off with multiple gallons of PPG clearcoat. “Then after a year, we sanded the whole truck back down to add more designs over the existing paint just to really shake things up.”
And even though he didn’t do all the work on his own, Damon made sure he still got his hands a bit dirty and was very involved in the entire build process, making it an experience he’ll never forget. He’s still constantly adding to the build, which every builder knows can be quite addicting and a never-ending process.
“Everyone that has had a hand in this build did a great job to make it much easier.” Now Hard As Nails is being used for shows and marketing for his company Next Level Mats, which makes custom running board mats for steps on trucks, floor mats, bed liners, cooler tops and more. “And if it’s not in my booth you can always catch me with my American Force Family in their booth with Jason Sandusky and the rest of the team. It’s cool to take a hobby and turn it into a business I love to create custom items for all my truck people, including my truck club Team Billet. I must thank my girl, Traci, for putting up with me over the years to complete this truck build and start my own business. Also, to my friends for making this build what it is, including Cory McIntosh, Jason Sandusky, Greg Leonard, Solo Element, Zach Pennock, Nick Cefalu, Cris Payne and Gio Dumford. I couldn’t have done it without you guys!”
2017 RAM 2500HD 6.4 HEMI “HARD AS NAILS”
OWNER: Damon Edmonds
BUILDER: Cory McIntosh, McIntosh Motorsports
(4) 6×9 Rockford Fosgate Power Motorcycle speakers in the doors