These days if you mention a performance-oriented pickup, chances are you'd be talking about a Ford F-150 Raptor. That's how completely Dearborn's dune-jumper has come to epitomize the breed. But that wasn't always the case.
Just look at this 2004 Ram pickup. Dodge Ram, we should say, because the brands had yet to be split at that point. The point is that it packs the heart of a Viper: an 8.3-liter V10 good for 500 horsepower. No turbochargers. No single-digit cylinder count. No gazillion-speed automatic transmission. Just a huge lump of a Detroit steel in the nose and a six-speed on the floor.
What's more is that, as you may already be aware, this wasn't just a one-off or somebody's garage project. Chrysler actually put this truck into production over a decade ago. In fact it made neatly 10,000 of them, and this one's up for grabs.
The 2004 model was only offered in regular-cab setup, before the more popular quad-cab version was rolled out. It's done up in Flame Red, which (despite impressions to the contrary) wasn't actually the most popular color. Black was, pretty much across the board. Still, there were 1,040 made just like this one, in red, that same year.
All told, the Ram SRT-10 was actually a much bigger seller for Dodge than the Viper was over the same time period. Which makes you wonder why FCA doesn't make a new one – be it with the Viper engine that's now without a host, or for that matter, the more potent Hellcat it just slotted into the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk.
No matter – if you want one, this one has only 1,850 miles on the clock and has been held by one owner since new. It's slated to cross the auction block next month in Auburn Spring, Indiana, where Auctions America expects it'll fetch about $45k, give or take... which would be almost enough to get you into a Raptor, if you'd prefer.
But any way you look at it, the Ram's 500 hp and 525 lb-ft of torque trumps the Ford's 450 hp and 510 lb-ft, impressive as it is that Ford managed all that from a much smaller engine.