Where you one of those folks who saw no sense in a lethally fast production truck? Where you even aware that long before the Ford SVT F-150 Lightning and Chevy 454ss that in 1978 Dodge introduced the Li’l Red Express Truck, a short-bed, two-wheel-drive pickup with smoke-stacks, that packed a 225 bhp 5.9-liter V8 that could outrun a Corvette to 160 km/h? Is the concept as insane then as it is now? A resounding but energetic yes! Bless the heart of America for such ridiculous vehicles that at the end of the day are really fun toys for overgrown children unwilling to give up their Tonka trucks.
Of course, the concept from inception is flawed. As long as the super trucks are based on TRUCKS with their platforms designed for heavy loads/duty, towing, and cargo using live axles, leaf springs, ladder frames, and such, it would be unnatural for them to have road-going agility, dexterity, speed control, and outright speed of a sportscar. And they still don’t but it has become very close with the new Dodge RAM SRT–10 which has been a favorite at our office both for its huge performance as well as it simply being physically larger than life. By dropping the Viper’s 500 horsepower V-10 and six-speed manual transmission into the 1500 RAM, DaimlerChrysler’s Performance Vehicle Operations (PVO) team has not only decimated the Ford Lightning, but it has created the most powerful production pickup truck in the entire automotive history. The 2005 Dodge Ram SRT-10 is the Guinness Book of World Record’s fastest production pickup! The 8.3-liter engine delivers 90% of its whopping 525 lb.-ft. of torque from 1500 to 5600rpm!
Our test unit was the more desirable regular cab version; the quad cab maybe perhaps a bit more practical having four doors and seating for 4 adults, but honestly why? The RAM SRT-10 sports polished aluminum alloy 10×22” Speedline wheels which are the biggest rims available on a production truck shod with 305/40/ZR22 Pirelli Scorpion tires. Equally enormous but dwarfed within the wheels are the vented 15” front and 14” rear disc brakes with custom calipers painted red, Brembo ® 4-pot calipers up front, and single-pot at the rear with 3-channel ABS. The front fascia features NASCAR-inspired brake ducts to provide plenty of cooling for the front brakes.
Keeping these massive gumballs on the tarmac are Bilstein shock absorbers, performance-tuned springs lowered one-inch in the front and two and a half inches at the rear, (while the independent front suspension gets coil springs, the live rear end is sprung by good old-fashioned semi-elliptic leaf springs) the rear suspension also includes a horizontal damper that links the differential to the frame, a limited-slip differential, and unique aerodynamics that the TrevorCreed, Chrysler’s Senior Vice President of Design, said: “We spent a lot of time in the wind tunnel with the Ram SRT-10 so that is why you see a deep front fascia with a splitter and a subtle rear wing. We have managed the aerodynamics of the RAM SRT-10 to give this vehicle performance more befitting a sports car than a truck. The rear wing is not only functional, providing a reduction in lift, but it also provides a reduction in drag, which is a rarity for a wing.”
The weight distribution of the RAM SRT-10 is surprisingly good at 56:44. The hood scoop is functional in the sense that it does draw air into the engine bay to assist cooling, however, it does not connect to the airbox which would have been more effective. The gearing is interesting, the first gear is good for a solid 80 km/h, and the second will hit 120 km/h! The gearing is so tall that at 90 km/h in 6th, you’ll see the tach needle hover at 1150rpm. But don’t let that fool you, you’re still consuming a tremendous amount of fuel, at best I got only 15 mpg!
As imposing as the RAM SRT10 is, it is quite effortless to drive around town, it’s even quite comfortable. A couple of interior features that I enjoyed was the epic 505-watt Infinity audio system that could cause permanent hearing damage in such close quarters and the start/stop red ignition button. The leather sport bucket seats were very supportive and comfortable as well. Clutch actuation was lighter and smoother than that on the Viper though the gear knob travel did need to get used to; it’s a little rough but in a good macho way consistent with the monumental presence of the monster truck.
Mash the throttle to 5000 rpm and drop the clutch and you will catch yourself looping your arm like the old antics on The Arsenio Hall Show while blanketing the Inferno Red Crystal painted truck in tire smoke! This truck can move and it can function as a proper flatbed truck too if required. On tight mountain passes the SRT-10 was like New Zealand national rugby union footballer Neemia Tialata of the ALL BLACKS® rugby team, an imposing figure with dramatic speed and mind-boggling agility. To give you a shocking statistic: on the West Circuit of the Bedford Autodrome, the Dodge RAM SRT-10 has a lap time of 1 minute and 32.8 seconds with a peak speed of 167 km/h beating the BMW 130i M Sport with a time of 1 minute and 33.5 seconds with a peak speed of 162 km/h! It’s amazing that something this big can be so quick and athletic. The Ram also demonstrates unflappable poise. Holding its line even over mid-corner bumps. The Ram SRT-10 stands as the ultimate performance truck full stop. Insane? Yes. Desirable? Hell yah!
|Cylinder Head||ohv 20V|
|Max Power (bhp @ rpm)||500 bhp @ 5600 rpm|
|Max Torque (lb/ft @ rpm)||525 lb-ft @ 4200 rpm|
|Transmission||Hurst 6-speed MT|
|Top Speed||246 km/h (154 mph)|
|0-100 km/h | 0-62 mph||5.3 sec.|
Fuel consumption and CO2 emissions
|Fuel Milage (km/l)||9 mpg City / 15 mpg Highway|
|Price as Tested (PHP)||(2005) US$ 51,835.00|
|What's Great||Gloriously bonkers, actually a proper utility truck, rarity, hugely fun.|
|What's Not So||Ridiculous fuel economy, halogen headlights, short-lived model glory.|
|C! Editors Rating||9.5/10|