The Dodge Ram is one big tough truck, and a real performer. It can tow, haul and jump stumps with the best of them. But for the folks at Dodge’s Performance Vehicle Operations, that just wasn’t enough. They wanted their Ram to do it all, and that means covering performance from every direction. And boy, does this SRT-10 have that covered!
Covered in tire smoke that is! The smoke produced when you punch the go pedal of the Viper powered 2004 Dodge Ram SRT-10, the most macho pickup in Detroit history. Wearing a look that’s part NASCAR race truck, part Frankenstein’s monster, the Ram SRT-10 is the ultimate hot-rod cargo hauler from the tuners at Dodge PVO. Styling cues include a super-deep, race-style front fascia, muscular power dome hood with cool air intake, lower rear fascia, and a cargo box mounted fixed rear wing that actually works, producing a 165-pound reduction in rear lift, and one that can be removed to allow loading of large objects.
All sits atop the Ram 1500 super-stiff hydroformed frame and rides on a heavily modified performance suspension that’s 1 inch lower in the front and 2 inches lower in the rear than stock. For grip, huge 22-inch Viper-style alloy wheels wearing 215/40 series Pirelli Scorpion Zero tires. Tucked behind the wheels are racy red calipers which clamp down on huge 15-inch front discs and 14-inch rear discs.
But all that pales in comparison to what’s under the hood. The Ram SRT-10 gets its motivation from the same massive 8.3-liter aluminum-block pushrod V-10 that we covet in the Dodge Viper, and the same 500 horsepower, with a locomotive 525 pound-feet of torque. That’s 120 horses and 75 pound-feet more than a Ford Lightning. The V-10 fits very deep and clean in the engine bay, leaving plenty of room for the installation of the inevitable aftermarket supercharger.
Power slams to the rear wheels through the Viper’s Tremec 6-speed gearbox, which is controlled by the appropriate, cool-looking Hurst shifter. Hammer the right pedal, and the SRT-10 rocks to 60 in only 5.3 seconds. The quarter mile melts under its tires in 13.8 seconds at 104 miles-per-hour. With so much power we were a bit surprised that this was just one tenth faster than our last Ford Lightning. But remember that the Ram weighs almost 500 pounds more.
The Hurst shifter moves are generally positive, but a notchy second-to-third shift on our well-exercised test truck put the kibosh on any serious speed shifting. Max torque is available at only 1,500 rpm, and at full throttle unleashes a seemingly endless rush of power all the way down the drag strip. Drive at less than full throttle on the street, as you should, and the engine feels a bit restricted. This may be at least partially due to the exhaust, which features no less than four catalytic converters and one of the biggest mufflers that we’ve ever seen.
The SRT-10 balances its power with a PVO tuned suspension that includes Bilstein shocks and stiffer springs. And while is won’t beat a Viper in corners, it is a pretty sharp handling pickup. Turn-in is naturally a bit slow, but grip is impressive, and reactions are quite refined for any truck. The firm springs and stiffer lower-profile tires do make it a bit nervous over bumps, but the modified Ram Heavy Duty steering is precise with plenty of feedback for easy corrections. Unless, that is, you really mash the gas pedal. Then the awesome power produces an equal amount of oversteer. It is a pickup truck after all.
There is also a respectable amount of feel through the soft brake pedal, as the big ABS-equipped discs haul the SRT-10 down from 60 in a good 123 feet. Again things can get a bit jittery over rough surfaces, but braking is rock solid on our smooth test track. There’s a fair bit of nose dive, but no shortage of braking power.
Street ride quality is much like that of the Ram’s Viper cousin. It’s not jarring, but you definitely feel every ripple in the road. But what really impressed us was how docile the SRT-10 was when it needed to be. Small throttle inputs are returned with just the right amount of power. It’s actually easy to stay within the law in the SRT-10.
Inside, the SRT-10 is a welcoming, spacious Ram, with an extra dose of alloy and carbon look trim to spice things up, and a red starter button to bring this Viper brother to life. More spice for life comes from the 508-watt audio system, with a massive Infinity subwoofer that will turn your brain to mush even faster than a Viper V-10. There’s also a new instrument cluster with silver-face gauges and big leather-clad bucket seats with plenty of back and side support.
All in all, it’s a lot of truck, and it will set you back a lot of money, $45,795. But think about it. That’s just over half the price of the Viper roadster, and you can still show this one off at Home Depot.
The Dodge Performance Vehicle Operations team have worked their magic well. Our time with the Ram SRT-10 convinced us that there’s nothing this impressively versatile and surprisingly sophisticated full-size monster pickup can’t do in style. Whether it’s hauling freight or hauling Ð well, you know Ð the 2004 Dodge Ram SRT-10 has all the performance bases, not only covered, they’re smothered!
Engine: 8.3-Liter V-10
Torque: 525 Lb Feet
0-60 MPH: 5.3 Seconds
1/4 Mile: 13.8 Seconds @ 104 MPH
60-0 MPH: 123 Feet