The Surprising Story of What TRX Really Stands For

It makes sense. The new 2021 Ram 1500 TRX enters a market where the Raptor reigns. It’s obvious why Ram Trucks decided to name their new off-road offering after a bigger badder dinosaur. There are even iconic scenes from the Jurassic movies shown for the Ram 1500 TRX reveal. And there is truth to Ram’s ‘TRX’ representing a giant Tyrannosaurus Rex, but there’s more to the story.

A red 2021 Ram 1500 TRX slides through the desert in a big dust cloud
2021 Ram 1500 TRX | Ram

In fact, the naming of the Ford F-150 Raptor competition is a bit more about corporate priorities and less about dinosaurs. The name just sort of landed on this new off-road beast. It actually turned out that when someone asked the question “what do we already have the rights to?” TRX was on the list.

Where did the Ram 1500 TRX get its name?

A little ahead of the big debut of the all-new 2021 Ram 1500 TRX, the folks over at Automobile Magazine spoke with Mike Gillam. As the TRX’s exterior-design lead, Gillam shared some interesting insight into the story behind how the 2021 Ram 1500 TRX got its intimidating name. And, no. It wasn’t actually named after a dinosaur.

“despite the popular conception, the real story of the Ram 1500 TRX’s name is, ultimately, one of necessity.”

Nelson Ireson | Automobile Magazine
Ram TRX Teaser | Ram
Ram TRX Teaser | Ram

Gillam paints a picture of a team confronted with a massive project on a 77 day deadline. They had to do everything from sketches to building the components to naming the new truck. The team over at Ram Trucks had their work cut out for them. They didn’t have time to “overthink” things, as Gillam says. Instead, the team moved forward to design the perfect off-road beast highlighted by its simplicity down to the name.

In the end, the name was as simple as “what do we already have the rights to?” The TRX was a limited production truck of old. The name felt right. It was simple, straightforward, and it wouldn’t cost a dime. So, it stuck. The next thing that happened, Gillam says, “speaks to the creativity and the passion of our customers.”

Does TRX stand for T. Rex?

What does TRX stand for? When the name leaked out and fans started getting hyped about what back then we thought would be called the Ram ‘Rebel’ TRX, the TRX mystery was quickly solved. It’s obvious isn’t it? Ram clearly named the new Ram off-road truck the TRX as a competitive nod to the other Baja-inspired production truck––the Ford F-150 Raptor.

” It was, again, one of these things where we didn’t overthink it too much… I’d love to claim we came up with that, that we were that clever, but honestly we were going so fast that we probably didn’t quite make the connection.”

Mike Gillam | Ram Trucks
An overhead side view of a silver 2021 Ram 1500 TRX Launch Edition in the desert
2021 Ram 1500 TRX Launch Edition side | Ram

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So, while it seems clear that TRX stands for Tyrannosaurus Rex or T.Rex, such was not originally the case. This deduction was entirely organic. The notion was passed from fan to fan, forum to forum.

The idea stuck so well and made so much sense that Ram Trucks even went with the flow and adopted the T.Rex: Raptor killer idea. It is, after all, some pretty juicy marketing. But, according to Gillam, it was never the intent of the Ram Trucks team to market the new 2021 Ram 1500 TRX off-road truck as a reptilian natural enemy of Ford’s apex predator. It was just serendipity.