Some special-edition Ram 1500 trucks, like the Mossy Oak Edition, are indeed special; some aren’t. One example of the latter is the Ram 1500 Kentucky Derby Edition. It was brought out to commemorate the race’s 144th running, and Ram’s 9th time as the race’s official truck. But this limited-edition isn’t a particularly savvy purchase. Instead of buying the Ram 1500 Kentucky Derby Edition, this is the Ram 1500 you should buy instead.
Ram 1500 Kentucky Derby Edition
Ram actually made two different Kentucky Derby Editions: one for the Ram 1500, and one for the heavy-duty 2500. But the 2500’s package was actually worth pursuing: it came bundled with a few extra goodies for a lower overall price. The 1500 Kentucky Derby Edition, though, doesn’t offer a lot more over the Ram 1500 Limited it’s based on.
Being built on the Limited trim, the Derby Edition comes with a 12” touchscreen, air suspension, and a built-in trailer hitch. 22” wheels are an available option. The running boards are power-operated, and the leather seats are both heated and ventilated. There’s also genuine wood and metal trim inside, and a 19-speaker Harman Kardon audio system. But all these are either standard or optional Limited features. Nothing new here.
The only Derby-specific features are on the outside. On the rear is a “Kentucky Derby” graphic, and Ram claims the Derby Edition is the first to feature front and rear body-colored bumpers. That’s it.
Only 2000 of the Ram 1500 Derby Editions were made. Buyers could choose from one of 6 different colors and either two- or four-wheel drive, but only one body style: crew cab with short bed. Although Roadshow reported a starting price $53,190 with a $1645 destination charge—actually cheaper than a standard Ram 1500 Limited—Motor Trend reported an MSRP of $57,325. As the Derby Edition is sold out, the official Ram website lists no price.
Ram 1500 Limited build
With only 2000 Derby Editions floating around, finding one isn’t going to be easy. But you don’t have to. Instead, you can build a Ram 1500 that can compete directly with the Derby Edition. And it’s not all that difficult.
Starting with the crew cab Ram 1500 Limited 4×2 trim, we add the Black Appearance Package. This bundles together several other packages for a lower price. This gives our Ram the Derby’s Harman Kardon audio system, body-colored bumpers, and 22” wheels—and more. The Black Appearance Package also includes tow hooks, mirrors that are both power-folding and power-heated, and a tonneau cover to keep your valuables out of sight.
Comparing costs and value
The Black Appearance Package adds $3,995 onto the Ram 1500 Limited’s $53,465 MSRP. Total cost works out to $57,255—$100 cheaper than MT’s quoted price for the Derby Edition. And anyone can buy it from any Ram dealer. True, it won’t come with the Derby’s bed graphics or shiny chrome trim. But that could attract potential thieves. And is that really all you want out of a special-edition?