Street Legal Cocaine: Montana Cherry’s 1,600-Horsepower 04 Ram

Racing. It’s stimulating, it’s recreational, and it’s common to experience an intense feeling of happiness. For an all-white street raced 2004 Dodge Ram from Florida named “Cocaine”, I can see the similarities of the two. Gulf Breeze, Florida local, Montana Cherry, has put his truck through absolute hell over the years and has done so in exciting fashion.

Cherry has been involved in the diesel industry since 2007-2008. “I picked up a Diesel Power Magazine at Wal-Mart way back in the day and I have been hooked ever since,” he said. Around this time, as Cherry was a junior in high school, Cherry purchased his first diesel, a 2002 Ford F-250 with the 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 is 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 was until a same-age Dodge Ram had more in the tank and beat him in a race, that something had to change. Just two years later, Cherry owned his own Cummins-powered truck and hasn’t looked back since.

Now, keep in mind, Cherry’s family owns a third-generation logging company so right out of high school, he got a taste of working on and operating diesel equipment pretty early. Now, that’s just 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 lose a race. That’s going to require something pretty tough considering the levels of late model car performance. “I wanted to build a truck that could be daily driven and made 700 to 750 horsepower,” he said. “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 build, 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 total 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 top 10 in the Ultimate Callout Challenge and he drives this truck to work. Imagine having that amount of power at just a reach of the foot. It has certainly been an interesting road with an interesting story throughout these 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. 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,” Cherry said. “At a Street Car Takeover event just this past year, we entered the truck class. One of the nuts was broken and wouldn’t allow the wheel to come off. So, my air chisel and I went to town and chiseled off a 22-inch by 12-inch wheel so I could get my drag radials on.”

When he’s not building transmissions for SunCoast, he’s helping out at the local dragstrip Emerald Coast Dragway and dedicated to a business he’s a partner on called True Street Performance. Not only does he have his work to prepare, repair, and learn his transmissions, he also works at a local dragstrip allowing him to test when needed.

Talk about 100-percent commitment and air chiseling a wheel off of your truck just to race. Oh, and by the way, he went on to win the event in the truck class. Although it has been a pretty wild experience in the upcoming of Cocaine, 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.

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 said. “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.”

“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,” said 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.”

Under The Hood

Under the hood is actually Cherry’s favorite part. “My favorite part of all this 6.7-Cummins swap and CM849 ECM,” said Cherry. “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, too. After a Single S488, 400-percent over injectors, dual pumps, and a couple kits of nitrous, the block said no more.”

So, now, Cocaine is fixed up with a True Street Comp 6.7-liter Cummins engine that has been reworked by his friends in Nacogdoches, Texas, 1 Way Diesel Performance. This engine has to tough for not only the power it’s capable of but also because of the loose cannon behind the wheel. From the oil pan up, this 6.7 is loaded with aftermarket goodies.

Cocaine is controlled via a CM849 ECM and balanced with a Fluidampr harmonic balancer.

Sleeved block, full ported head, custom machined pistons, camshaft bearings, billet steel camshaft, billet tappets, billet girdle, and billet connecting rods from Wagler Competition Products. In the top end, 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.
Like a true single charger advocate would, Cherry uses a single Garrett GTX5533R turbocharger that measures out to 88-MM. This Gen II turbo hangs off a T6 Steed Speed exhaust manifold with twin 40-MM wastegates controlling drive pressure for when the nitrous hits.

Cherry proudly represents the companies that have helped him get Cocaine where it is today on the truck.

“I wanted to use a top of the line and injector and I went with S&S Diesel Motorsport. Fueling is handled by a 400-percent over injector from S&S and a set of 12-MM CP3 high-pressure pumps,” said 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 is a Cherry-built Suncoast Comp 48RE transmission featuring a Santjer solid input shaft, billet intermediate, and output shafts, a Suncoast billet trans-brake valve body, drums, pistons, and their custom clutch stack up. Luckily for him, he’s a beta tester or guinea pig 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 which resulted in about four-inches of a drop,” said Cherry. “We went to a two-leaf spring setup in the rear with caltracs and a set of double-adjustable QA1 shocks.”

On the front end, Cherry used his factory coil spring with limiting straps to keep the nose planted on the race track. With the current suspension settings, Cocaine has been a best of 1.48-second sixty-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 by 12-inch wheels.

If you saw this truck 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.

Caution: Keep all hands and parts away from the flame.

Cherry puts a special shoutout to his employer, Suncoast, for allowing him to use this truck as a test platform to get his recipe on point, 1 Way Diesel for all of 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 said. “Everything from suspension, the wiring harness, the 849 swap, and the complete engine has been done in-house. I’m proud to call these guys family.”

The best elapsed time for Montana and Cocaine has been a 6.14 at 115.8 MPH in the eighth-mile. He is chasing that 5.9X pass in the eighth-mile with a 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.

If there is any sort of grudge racing going on, you can bet Cherry will be there if it’s even remotely close to him.

It’s been great getting to know Montana over the last few years and it’s been an awesome time learning about the truck and see how far he and his truck have come. I’m hoping one day soon we can share 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 Diesel Army for the lastest in truck features and event coverage.

About the author

Artie Maupin

Artie Maupin is from Southeast Missouri and has an extreme passion for anything diesel. He loves drag racing of all kinds, as well as sled pulling competitions.
Read My Articles

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