Racing. It’s stimulating, it’s recreational, and it’s common to experience an intense feeling of happiness. For an all-white street-raced ’04 Ram from Florida named “Cocaine”, I can see the similarity between the “snow” and this truck. Gulf Breeze, Florida local, Montana Cherry, has put his truck through absolute hell over the years and has done so in exciting fashion.
When Cherry was a junior in high school, his passion for all things diesel took hold. “I picked up a Diesel Power Magazine at Wal-Mart way back in the day and I have been hooked ever since,” he says. Around that time, Cherry also purchased his first diesel, a 2002 Ford F-250 with a 7.3-liter Power Stroke engine. I’m betting nowadays he wouldn’t have made that choice given his now-biased opinion.
Like any young man with a new truck, his first instinct was to modify it. With the help of an Edge Juice With Attitude, his Power Stroke was definitely making more power. Although he enjoyed the newfound power, it wasn’t until a same-age Dodge Ram had more in the tank and beat him in a race. That was unacceptable, and something had to change. Just two years later, Cherry owned his own Cummins-powered truck and hasn’t looked back since.
Keep in mind, Cherry’s family owns a logging company, so right out of high school, he got an early taste of working on and operating diesel equipment. Now, that experience has developed into a much more expensive hobby. So, he’s wrenched on equipment and raced trucks in high school, where did he end up?
Cherry’s involvement with the car and truck scene made him want something he could drive every day, but under no circumstances, ever lose a race. That requirement requires something pretty tough considering the levels of late-model car performance that are on the highways. “I wanted to build a truck that could be daily driven and make 700 to 750 horsepower,” he says. “Fortunately for me, that was simple with a common-rail engine. Unfortunately for me, this was about to get expensive. Quick.”
How expensive? Cherry tells us to replicate this ’04 Ram as is, it will cost you $42,700 plus the cost of a roller. If you’re investing $20,000 into a roller, you’re damn near into a house in some places. Cocaine has been under the knife for five years and has been configured with about every setup imaginable ranging from 700, 850, 1,000, 1,200, and now, 1,600 horsepower.
Let that last number sink in. 1,600 horsepower. That’s enough power to make the top 10 in the Ultimate Callout Challenge, and he drives this truck to work. Imagine having that amount of power readily available at your right foot. It has certainly been an interesting road with an interesting story throughout the five years. In fact, there were a few standout items that come to mind when we asked.
“This truck hates me 90 percent of the time,” Montana quips. “I’ve had to change wheel bearings on the side of the interstate because the tire almost fell off, and when I lived in Tampa, the truck spent two nights a week street racing and gained a pretty big following doing so. At a Street Car Takeover event just this past year, we entered the truck class. One of the lug nuts was stripped and wouldn’t allow the wheel to come off. So, my air chisel and I went to town and chiseled off a 22×12-inch wheel so I could get my drag radials on.”
Talk about 100-percent commitment. Removing an ultra-expensive wheel with an air chisel just to race is serious dedication. Oh, and by the way, he went on to win the event in the truck class. Although building cocaine has been a pretty wild experience, Cherry wouldn’t change a single thing. He’s happy with it and says it has surpassed his expectations of what a daily-driven truck should be capable of doing.
Cherry’s involvement in the diesel world has developed many great relationships, business partners, and most of all, a ton of fun. “I was a salesman and tech guy for Hardway Performance for three years. Ryan brought me in having zero prior office experience, but I had a heart for the industry and was eager to learn all I could from him,” Cherry states. “Recently, I made a move down to SunCoast Converters in late 2018. I am the transmission build supervisor now as well as the main 47RE/48RE platform builder.”
Under The Hood
“It was motivating to me watching people like Daniel Pierce, Ryan Milliken, Lavon Miller, Derek Rose, and Dan Scheid put down insane numbers on the track. Daniel’s old bright blue truck “Stripper Dust” really caught my attention at the time by clicking off low-nine-second passes with a 5.9 with 12-valve rods,” says Cherry. “I never dreamed only a few years later I’d be working side by side with some of those guys and then having a cold one in the pit with them after a night of thrashing.”
The mill found underhood of this ’04 Ram is actually Cherry’s favorite part of the truck. “My favorite part of all this 6.7-Cummins swap and CM849 ECM,” affirms Montana. “The original 5.9 that was in there has had a rough life from the beginning. I purchased this truck from a relative and he wore it out. After adding a single S488, 400-percent over injectors, dual pumps, and a couple of kits of nitrous, the block said, no more.”
Now, Cocaine is fitted with a True Street Comp 6.7-liter Cummins engine that has been reworked by his friends, 1 Way Diesel Performance in Nacogdoches, Texas. From the oil pan up, this 6.7 is loaded with aftermarket goodies.
the block has been sleeved, and custom machined pistons, camshaft bearings, billet steel camshaft, billet tappets, billet girdle, and billet connecting rods from Wagler Competition Products round out the essentials inside. In the top end, the head was extensively ported, and Manton supplied the valve springs, retainers, and pushrods. The head is safely held down by a set of ARP 625 head studs and utilizes their main studs, too. As a true single-charger advocate would, Cherry uses a single Garrett GTX5533R turbocharger that measures out to 88mm. This Gen II turbo hangs off a T6 Steed Speed exhaust manifold with twin 40mm wastegates controlling drive pressure for when the nitrous hits.
“I wanted to use a top-of-the-line injector, so I went with S&S Diesel Motorsport. Fueling is handled by a 400-percent over injector from S&S and a set of 12mm CP3 high-pressure pumps,” says Cherry. “The FASS 290 lift pump keeps all of these parts happy. In fact, the injectors have been in the truck for the past four years which is impressive for such a large injector.”
Bolted to the back of this powerhouse ’04 Ram is a Cherry-built Suncoast Comp 48RE transmission featuring a Santjer solid input shaft, billet intermediate, and output shafts, a Suncoast billet transbrake valvebody, drums, pistons, and their custom clutch stack up. He’s a beta tester for new parts which allows him to dial in his truck as needed.
With the exception of the Eaton locker installed in the rear differential, the front and rear are 100-percent stock. As for the rest of the suspension, it has undergone some changes, too. “While it was at 1 Way Diesel for the engine, we decided to drop the truck as far as we could and it is roughly 4 inches lower than stock,” Montana says. “We went to a two-leaf spring setup in the rear with Caltracs and a set of double-adjustable QA1 shocks.”
On the front, Cherry used his factory coil springs with limiting straps to keep the nose planted on the race track. With the current suspension settings, Cocaine has seen a best of 1.48-second 60-foot time with 1.40’s in range with a tire change. Cherry’s other tires are a set of Mickey Thompson ET Street R’s wrapped in 20-inch wheels.
If you saw this ’04 Ram in a parking lot with the hood closed, you wouldn’t expect anything more than your normal quad-cab Ram with a stack in the bed. The truth is, this is daily driven and it looks the part with a factory looking exterior and a full dash and air conditioning interior. Cherry credits 1 Way Diesel for the custom-mounted TCI shifter and their in-house harness that allows him to run the factory gauge cluster.
Cherry puts a special shoutout to Suncoast, for allowing him to use this ’04 Ram as a test platform to get his recipe on point, and 1 Way Diesel for the continued support. “Chase, Tommy, and Clay Wells of 1 Way Diesel Performance have been the backbone in the most recent stages of this build,” Cherry says. “Everything from suspension, the wiring harness, the 849 swap, and the complete engine have been done in-house. I’m proud to call these guys family.”
The best elapsed time for Montana and Cocaine has been 6.14 at 115.8 mph in the eighth-mile. He is chasing that 5.99 pass with his full-weight, daily-driven, street truck with air conditioning. The best trap speed for the truck is 118.98 mph, so it’s only a matter of applying that power to the ground and he should get that pass he’s after.
It’s been great getting to know Montana and his ’04 Ram over the last few years and it’s been an awesome time learning about the truck and seeing how far he and his truck have come. I’m hoping one day soon we can share with dieselArmy.com readers that he got the pass he wanted, but the ball is in his court. For more information and to stay tuned with the build, be sure and check out his Instagram page. Stay tuned to DieselArmy for the latest in truck features and event coverage.