Hot-rod pickups go back to the 1930s, but it took a while for manufacturers to do their own sporty trucks. The Dodge Lil’ Red Express of 1978 was an early example, but sporty trucks didn’t really become their own thing until the 1990s, with the GMC Syclone, Chevrolet 454 SS, and Ford F-150 SVT Lightning all roasting tires between America’s stoplights.
Fast forward another decade, and the Dodge Ram SRT-10 pickup took things to an even further extreme. It first appeared at the 2002 North American Auto Show in Detroit, and hit the market in 2004. The fastest pickup built to that date, it featured the Dodge Viper’s 8.3-liter V-10 engine with 500 bhp and a whopping 525 pound-feet of torque. Transmission was a 6-speed manual Tremec unit in the regular cab and a 4-speed automatic in the quad cab.
The 2004 regular cab SRT-10 could accelerate from 0-60 mph in 4.9 seconds and had a top speed of 154 mph. The 2005-06 quad-cab wasn’t much slower, with 5.3 seconds for 0-60 mph and 147 mph top speed. The regular cab managed a quarter-mile in 13.6 seconds at 106 mph, and the crew cab returned 13.7 seconds at 100 mph, so both were comfortably quicker than many dedicated performance cars. The regular cab truck was also good for .86g on the skid pad and the quad cab managed .83g, respectable numbers for a tall pickup. Gas mileage was unsurprisingly poor at 9 mpg city and 15 mpg highway, even less with hard driving.
The standard Ram’s hydro-formed frame was beefed up and lowered one inch at the front and 2.5 inches at the rear. The Ram’s improved rack-and-pinion steering was matched with Billstein shocks. Pirelli P305/40R-22 inch Scorpion tires were fitted to 10-spoke alloy wheels, and 4-wheel disc brakes measured 15 inches up front and 14 inches at the rear. Twin piston TRW brakes were fitted in 2004, with 4-piston brakes fitted in 2005 and 2006.
The SRT-10 was supposed to be fitted with an alloy truck bed tonneau in 2005-2006, but not all trucks received them. These trucks were fast enough that the wing genuinely helped both lift and drag, and it was removable to load the bed.
The SRT-10, commonly known as the “Viper truck,” was only built for three years. Total production for 2004 was 3057 units, all regular cab. The 2005 production totaled 5113 units, divided into 1808 regular cab and 3305 quad cab trucks. 2006 production amounted to 1973 units, with 664 regular cab and 1309 quad cabs.
Over its production run there were four special editions of the Ram SRT-10. A VCA (Viper Club of America) edition numbered 52 units, and Dodge raffled off chances to buy one at Daytona Speedway. All were Electric Blue with white stripes and all but two were manual. A 2005 Yellow Fever model featured Solar Yellow paint with a fang stripe on the hood and two-tone yellow and black interior. Just 497 were made. A Commemorative Edition featured Bright White Paint with blue stripes, polished wheels, and a hard tonneau cover. The 2006 Night Runner Edition featured Brilliant Black with dark Nickel Pearl finish, black wheels and black grille. 370 of those were built.