It wasn’t all that long ago (1993 for a ‘94 model) when the folks at Dodge rolled onto the scene with the redesigned Ram, the pickup that was nothing if not polarizing. The ‘02 model—which was a new version—didn’t provide the same sort of seismic shift as its predecessor, probably because of familiarity of the in-your-face styling. But the Chrysler team has pulled something out of their garage that is causing the tectonic plates to shift with high velocity: the ‘04 Ram SRT-10.
A few numbers tell the story:
1. 10 cylinders in the aluminum block
2. 505 in3
3. 500 hp @ 5,600 rpm
4. 525 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4,200 rpm (90% of the torque is delivered from 1,500 to 5,600 rpm)
5. 0 to 60 mph in ~5 seconds
6. 22 x 10-in. aluminum wheels
7. Six-speed manual (Tremec T56)
8. 4.5-in. aluminum driveshaft
9. Dana 60 rear axle with 4.11 final drive ratio
10. 15-in. front rotors; 14-in. rear rotors
11. 2.75-in. dual exhaust pipes with 3.5-in. chrome tips
12. Four Viper catalysts
13. 505-W audio systems
14. Three colors (black, silver, red)
15. 165 changes from an ordinary Ram to an SRT-10
Yes, you probably spotted that word “Viper.” Here’s a two-door Ram 1500 that’s been transformed by the firm’s Performance Vehicle Operations (PVO) into something entirely different. Beyond just sticking a giant engine under the hood, the suspension has been modified so that it smokes in slaloms as well as it can on quarter miles (although the likelihood of someone taking the vehicle out on a gymkhana . . .). There’s a modified rack and pinion steering system from a Dodge Ram Heavy Duty. An independent front suspension. The front end is dropped by 1 in. and the rear is taken down 2.5 in. The strut assemblies fore and aft are new; there’s a rear sway bar added to handle cornering loads. Bilstein mono-tube shocks are fitted all around. In fact, there’s even a Bilstein shock between the frame and the axle to keep launches under heavy acceleration smooth. Inside, there are interior trim bits (e.g., a Viper red start button on the dash; aluminum pedals; heavily bolstered leather-trimmed seats) that indicate this is no ordinary vehicle—especially the stalk for a Hurst shifter with a Viper knob on top.
“Designers’ sketches look like this thing does in real life,” says Chrysler designer Robert McMahan of the SRT-10. He says designers always put on giant wheels and a scoop on the hood. The wheels—said to be the largest wheels and tires on a production pickup—are there. And the scoop is functional, as the engine needs a lot of air.
Under the hood it’s quite a sight/site to behold. There’s a single-piece, central dual-plenum aluminum intake manifold. The manifold is what’s called an “Integrated Air and Fuel Module,” as it includes fuel rails, injectors, sensors, wiring, and throttle body. The cylinders in the aluminum block have interference-fit cast iron liners; aluminum pistons with cracked-steel con rods ride in them. The die cast magnesium cylinder head covers have steel internal baffles and anti-slosh foam.