John Gilleland’s 1997 Dodge Ram 1500
John’s parents bought this 1997 Dodge Ram 1500 from their local Dodge dealer in 1997. They were originally going to buy a green truck, but the dealership backed that one into a pole the day they were supposed to pick it up, so they came home with this truck.
John was five years old the day they brought home this 1997 Dodge Ram 1500 that came to be known as “Mack.” John’s family tends to name their vehicle because they own them for so long that they eventually become part of the family. John’s mother named this truck because she thought it looked like a Mack big rig and the name has stuck ever since.
John’s mother drove the truck daily to and from work until John took ownership of Mack his senior year of high school. By then the truck’s clear coat had started to go and the cruise control servo had stopped working due to the battery bubbling over during a past summer, but John was excited to have his first truck.
Mack was John’s gateway to freedom. He could go anywhere and do anything with his truck. John took numerous trips. From fishing at state parks to driving up mountains, John and Mack have been just about everywhere across Texas. One of John’s favorite trips was going to the Davis Mountains in far west Texas. He couldn’t convince anyone to go with him, so it was just John, Mack and the vast openness of the Texas mountains.
John has always wanted to build a custom truck. He was an avid reader of Street Trucks and Truckin when he was younger. Mack has been the slow realization of John’s drive for a custom truck.
John started with some euro headlights and tail lights. Later he installed a billet grille. John was happy with the clean look but wanted to add some of his own personalization. He found a Mack truck hood badge off an old ’76 Mack 400R in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico. He cleaned up the chrome and painted the inside of the badge before installing it on the grille of Mack.
John’s next upgrade was a 4th generation bumper swap, a trend that has been catching on in the last few years. John originally saw the setup on a local truck and later found a forum that talked him through the swap.
John made the fog lights function by creating his own harness and installing a switch on the dash. He also later installed a light bar on the front to help with the dark back roads.
His latest addition was his KMC Skitch wheels. It took him quite a while to find a set that he really liked.
John’s truck is far from done. Eventually he plans to add shaved handles, air ride suspension and get Mack a fresh paint job.
“I’m happy where I’m at, and I hope to have this truck for a long time.”