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2005 Dodge Ram SRT-10 Test Drive

From Robert Bowden

It's not often that you'll find options costing more than a vehicle's base price. But that's the case with the 2005 Dodge SRT-10. It starts life as a Dodge Ram pickup, with a base price of $22,425. Not bad. But the options that create the mighty SRT-10 tack on another $22,575, for a grand total of $45,795. For that, you get what is currently the fastest truck on the planet. Prices: US $22,425 base; as tested, $45,795. Warranty: 3 years/36,000 miles total vehicle and powertrain.

Some of us have been down this road before. We remember Detroit's horsepower races of the mid- and late-Sixties, a mine-is-faster-than-yours competition that came to a screeching halt in 1972 when gasoline supplies dried up, insurance companies collectively said enough is enough, and federal emission standards reared their ugly head. That era was followed by more than a decade of tip-toeing around horsepower. But that's not the American way, and soon manufacturers were again offering ever-quicker chariots. Among trucks and truck-based sport utilities, the second round of competition culminated in 1991 and 1992 when General Motors put a 280-hp engine in a truck and sport utility, calling them the Syclone and Typhoon. They scooted zero to 60 in a hair under six seconds, putting power to the pavement through all-wheel drive. The 2005 Dodge SRT-10 has a stunning 500-horsepower, 505 cubic-inch V-10 under its hood, a six-speed manual transmission and wheels taller than the Munchkins in "The Wizard of Oz." Oh yeah, it costs $45,000. Word is that Ford and General Motors are not far behind with 500 or 500-plus horsepower models. Fun? You bet. Gas guzzlers? Don't ask. Enjoy them while you can.

It's difficult for a truck to stand out from the competition these days. And, frankly, they're all pretty good. Not a loser out there. That has resulted in close competition between Ford and Chevrolet for top truck honors. And Dodge? Well, the Ram trucks outsell all other Dodge models combined. That's how important truck sales are. Outrageous styling can set a truck apart and Dodge traveled that route with an extreme front end, an in-your-face straight-up-and-down brick wall of a grille. But for the 2005 Dodge SRT-10, it went even further. Just look at the 20-inch wheels on this truck. There's even a 20-inch spare. The air dam looks like it belongs on a NASCAR race truck; there's a wing in the back and a fully functional hood scoop. The seats are high-quality leather and there is no back seat area. Fold up a console storage compartment large enough to contain a laptop computer and you can sit three across. Every conceivable convenience item comes with the $22,575 option package. There's a sliding rear window, climate control, cruise control (you'll need it!), an awesome 505-watt stereo system, remote keyless entry, adjustable pedals.. you name it. Best of all, it looks as good as it performs.

Honestly, I didn't expect to love this truck. I was even warned ahead of time that I might not like it because it's a bit rough-riding. Hey, that's forgiven when adjustable pedals put 500 horsepower at your toes. No one, in a car or truck, bothered me. Men in top BMWs stopped me to ask about it. Kids gathered everywhere I took a lunch break. Those in the know really know what the 2005 Dodge SRT-10 is. This is King Kong. This is the Top Truck. The hood would be popped, greeting bystanders with that massive engine with VIPER on the red covers. The gathered would count spark plug wires .. 1,2,3,4 .. 5 .. on each side! And I'd crank it up and it would emit a snarl that stood hairs on end, caused small dogs and children to flee, got furrowed brows from the elderly. How many other trucks can do that? Zero. This is The Truck. This has, at least temporarily, dethroned the Ford SVT Lightning. I like them both, but this one is really, really special. Dodge can be proud of giving us a reasonably comfortable, great handling, top-notch performance truck.

Like the Viper, however, it will sell in extremely limited numbers (2,500 a year). The announced price usually dispersed gathered crowds in a hurry.







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