Trucks & SUVs

The Best American Pickup Trucks Ever Made

Is there any vehicle more American than a pickup truck? They are fast, versatile, and incredibly utilitarian. Truck enthusiasts can’t stop thinking of new uses for the pickup design. There are so many ways to balance engine, torque, weight, and style. Despite the innovations, these are the best pickup trucks ever produced by American brands.

1. Ford F150 SVT Lightning 2004

The Ford F-150 has always been a shining example of truck excellence. But sometimes, Ford goes above and beyond to hone their signature pickup with a little something extra.

Between 1993 and 2004, The F150 SVT Lightning was one of these great shows of strength, power, and functionality. A complete high-performance pickup — getting 380 hp after 2001 — with a supercharged 5.4L V8, it maintained its payload and towing capabilities.

2. Dodge Ram Viper SRT 10 2006

The Dodge Ram Viper SRT 10 has been a beloved pickup truck for over a decade. Known to have excellent performance, this vehicle produces 500 hp and 525 lb-ft torque. The Ram Viper SRT 10’s 8.3L V10 engine can haul this pickup from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 4.9 seconds with a top speed of 154 miles per hour.

3. Chevrolet 454 SS 1990

The Chevrolet 454 SS is an unusual addition to the fourth generation of C/K pickups. In shape and external features, it doesn’t look much different but it sported a high-powered 454ci 7.4L V8 engine. While it has an apparently low horsepower of 230, this pickup packed 385 lbs-ft of torque.

Even cooler, the unique 454 SS only came in one color scheme: onyx black with garnet red interior. If vampires drove a pickup, it would be the 1993 454 SS — even with its short box and regular cab.

4. Dodge Rod Hall Signature Edition 1986-1990

As part of the first generation of the Ram brand, Dodge partnered with the notorious racing brand Rod Hall to make a new signature vehicle. Only 14 trucks were made in 1986 and 1987, with a high stiff racing engine, three-tone paint, and a bed-mounted lightbar.

Sadly, they didn’t jibe with the NHTSA and were recalled. Nine survived and Rod Hall contributed to a new signature edition in 1990, when 33 pickups were made.

5. GMC Syclone 1991

The Syclone was an upgrade reminiscent of the 454 SS with high power hidden under the hood. Really the most powerful edition of the GMS Sonoma, its only exception was the limited Marlboro edition. The Syclone featured a 4.3L LB4 V6 engine with a turbocharger and Garrett intercooler. It featured all-wheel-drive only and anti-lock breaks on all four wheels.

6. Ford F150 Raptor 2016

The Raptor is one of the fastest pickups available and an incredibly popular model from the F-150 line. First introduced in 2009, it’s only become more powerful and better-featured since then.

The Raptor today features a 3.5L EcoBoost V6 mill engine that provides 450 hp and 510 lb-ft of torque. The special Fox suspension is designed for all terrains. It’s undeniably an incredible American pickup that many would argue is consistently the best on the market.

7. Jeep Honcho 1983

Start with a Jeep Gladiator J10. Trim the package, and widen the track with Dana 44 axles and 31-inch tires. Stripe and decal it, and throw in a 401ci 6.6L V8 engine. What you get is something truly incredible.

This Jeep pickup is unique, lightweight, and provides amazing stats. The Honcho was first released in the ’70s and by 1983, it had 215 hp, the most powerful of the Gladiator J10 variations. With the “10-4” options, you could get a Citizen’s Band radio installed in the package in 1971.

8. Dodge Dakota Sport Convertible 1990

Is there really a convertible pickup truck, you ask? Yes. Originally released in 1986, the Dodge Dakota Sport Convertible immediately dominated the market for compact pickups. It also revolutionized the idea of combining pickups with leisure in a practical way: the folding convertible roof. The Dakota rocked the market into 1990 with a Magnum V6 engine.