Yesterday’s news about the barking mad, 700bhp Shelby Baja 700 truck got me thinking about other iterations of possibly the most American invention in the history of American inventions, the sports truck.
It’s hard to pin down exactly who first devised the concept. Back in the late Sixties, both Chevrolet and Ford offered pick-ups based on their mid-size car platforms (the El Camino and Ranchero respetively). It being the height of the muscle car era, it seemed perfectly logical to offer these working vehicles with the same monstrously powerful engines as there saloon/coupe siblings. Carrying quite a lot less weight they were usually quicker, they with no weight at all over the back wheels, driving them was an eye-opening experience.
The oil crisis and emissions rules basically killed home-grown performance cars in the States from the mid-Seventies until the late Eighties. General Motors’ thoughts turned back to the sports truck, so it slotted the turbocharged V6 from the Buick Grand National into the small GMC Sonoma, creating the Syclone which rocketed from 0-60mph in 4.3 seconds.
Via the Dodge Shelby Dakota and the Ford F150 Lighting, we end up at the current F150 Raptor, the sports truck to end all sports trucks. But there’s a problem with the Raptor.
Inevitably, thoughts of sports trucks got me scouring the classifieds. The trouble with the Raptor is it’s very expensive. I only found two and the cheaper one was well over £40,000. Which leads me to the subject of this missive, the Dodge Ram SRT-10.
Essentially its a truck with the 8.3-litre 500bhp V10 from the Viper under the bonnet. With aerodynamically-styled bodywork, that was enough to push the brick up to 154mph, still a record. The suspension was suitably toughened up, though the handling is a very long way from sports car-like. It can’t do the Raptor’s rally car impersonation either, but if you just want to blast along at high speed in a bungalow, it’s brilliant.
My small adds search turned up this one for sale. It’s a double cab, with five seats, a one ton payload and 3.4 ton towing capacity. It’ll only do 140-ish, but that’s plenty in something so huge. We’ll overlook the pretty nasty interior because it runs on LPG so won’t be quite so cripplingly expensive to run. It’s a awful lot of metal and muscle for 25 grand.