Today, many performance pickups blend powerful engines with off-road racing aspirations. But a few years ago, that wasn’t the case. The trend of high-speed, street-focused trucks arguably started with the GMC Syclone. And the era’s crowning achievement was a pickup with the heart of a supercar. As Doug DeMuro explains in his latest video, the Dodge Ram SRT-10 was a hilariously bonkers performance truck.
Dodge Ram SRT-10: From Base Beginnings
The Dodge Ram SRT-10 was built on the base Ram 1500 of the day. But like the GMC Syclone before it, some of the modifications meant the SRT-10 wasn’t well-suited for cargo hauling. The ride height was lowered, and the front bumper was replaced with a more prominent version. Also, Dodge installed a spoiler to the back of the bed. If someone opened the tailgate, the spoiler stayed in place, making placing things back there difficult. Luckily, Dodge also supplied a tool to quickly remove the spoiler.
Just like the Ram 1500, the Ram SRT-10 could be ordered in two configurations. The first was the quad cab, which could seat six. Not only was it more practical space-wise, it also came with a 4-speed automatic. But for the hard-core performance junkies, practicality wasn’t a priority.
The second configuration was more their speed. The SRT-10 also came as a single cab, with a bench seat. Not only was it slightly lighter than the quad cab, it had one major difference: a 6-speed Hurst manual transmission. Little wonder the 2018 Ram 2500 was the last American pickup with a manual.
Unfortunately, the Ram SRT-10’s manual caused some problems. For one, according to Car and Driver, Dodge was worried the clutch would get abused if anyone tried to use the single cab SRT-10 for towing. For another, it made it very hard to sit three people.
The Dodge Ram SRT-10 was produced from 2004-2006 before Ram separated from Dodge. At the time, American automotive interiors were receiving heavy criticism. And being based on a base-level, utilitarian pickup, the Dodge Ram SRT-10’s interior isn’t particularly special. Certainly not up to the current Ram 1500’s. Nor is the SRT-10’s interior organized particularly well.
For one, as Doug demonstrates, if someone sits in the middle, their legs will hit the shifter. For another, the Ram SRT-10 has a foot-operated parking brake. Normally, this is a good thing, because it leaves space for that middle seat. However, in this truck, the parking brake is right next to the clutch pedal.
Overall, as Doug describes in his video, the interior feels and looks fairly cheap. There are a lot of holes in the center console where other trucks could have features. The plastics themselves are not high quality.
Interesting Interior Features
That being said, there are some interesting features. Behind the folding middle seat are attachment points for a child’s car seat. The empty spaces make for excellent storage space. The pedals move with electrical motors. And there are subtle touches that the truck you’re driving is something special.
The center-mounted tachometer—a feature normally found on sports cars, like the Porsche 911—has ‘SRT-10’ written in silver. The silver trim above the glove-box also says ‘SRT-10’. The front driver-side pillar has an oil temperature gauge. And the heavily-bolstered seats have ‘SRT-10’ embroidered on the headrests.
Those side-bolsters are going to come in handy. Because while the interior wasn’t particularly luxurious, that meant the Dodge Ram SRT-10 was the cheapest way to buy a vehicle with the Dodge Viper engine.
Insane Engine, Insane Price
Underneath the Ram SRT-10’s flared hood is the same 8.3-liter V10 that came in the Viper of the day. In fact, the Dodge Ram SRT-10 that Doug reviews is actually a limited-edition, Viper Club of America SRT-10 which features the Viper GTS’ iconic color scheme.
But back to the engine. Originally, the Viper had an 8.0-liter V10 partially developed by Lamborghini that developed 400 hp and 465 lb-ft. By the time the SRT-10 was being sold, the engine’s displacement had increased to 8.3 liters. Power and torque also went up, to 500 hp and 525 lb-ft. This makes the Dodge Ram SRT-10, to this day, the most powerful pickup truck ever produced by a manufacturer.
Although, as Doug states, the SRT-10 was the cheapest way for consumers to buy into the Viper’s powertrain, it still wasn’t that cheap. Reading from the original window sticker, the base Ram 1500 cost $22,520 new. The SRT-10 option package added $22, 480. In other words, a Dodge Ram SRT-10 cost almost exactly twice as much as a standard Ram 1500.
The V10 was also ridiculously thirsty. The EPA rated it at 9 mpg in city driving, and 15 mpg on the highway. But the truck’s average fuel economy display, in Doug’s video, shows just 5.7 mpg. But at least the truck was fast.
Dodge Ram SRT-10 Performance
Performance wasn’t only down to the engine but to the truck’s 22” wheels and sporty tires. Those wheels were almost an exact copy of the Viper’s, only scaled-up. With all that power and traction, the SRT-10 was able to go 0-60 in 4.8 seconds. The top speed was 154 mph.
Even today, those numbers are impressive. The Ford F-150 Raptor requires 5.1 seconds to reach 60, and its top speed is limited to 107 mph. Even with all-wheel and four-wheel drive, the Raptor just can’t keep up with the Ram.
Now we just have to wait and see how the Ram Rebel TRX compares to its predecessor.