How the Ram TRX is the Most Powerful Production Truck
Yesterday we brought you the news of the 2021 Ram 1500 TRX, which offers 702 horsepower from the supercharged 6.2-liter Hellcat Hemi. The TRX will dash from a stop to 60 miles per hour in just 4.5 seconds and 100 in 10.5 seconds. It will cover the quarter mile in 12.9 seconds with a speed of 108 miles per hour. Due to the speed rating of the off-road tires, the top speed is electronically limited to 118. FCA is bragging that it is the “quickest, fastest and most powerful mass-produced truck in the world” and it is. No truck built by any automaker that operates in the United States offers a truck with more power, better acceleration times or a better top speed.
However, since the Ram TRX was introduced, there have been some disputes on social media as to whether or not the Hellcat-powered pickup was really the most powerful. They shared links to things like the Lebanon Performance Ford F-150 with 725 horsepower or the 770 horsepower Shelby F-150 Super Snake Sport. Those trucks are impressive, but they don’t meet the industry criteria for a mass-produced truck or a production vehicle. Seeing as how some people don’t understand the difference, we wanted to put together a quick piece clarifying what is and is not a mass-produced vehicle from an automaker.
Ram, Ford, GM, Toyota and Nissan
There are five automakers that offer full-size production trucks in the United States, including Ram, Ford, General Motors (Chevrolet and GMC), Toyota and Nissan. Those companies all design and engineer their trucks in-house and the trucks are built on company assembly lines. Ram builds the Ram 1500 in Sterling Heights, Michigan and the Ford F-150 is built a short drive away in Dearborn. The Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra 1500 are built in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The Toyota Tundra is built in San Antonio, Texas and the Nissan Titan is built in Canton, Mississippi. There are also plants in Mexico that builds some trucks for the American automakers, but in short, all of those mass-produced trucks are built in company factories on company assembly lines.
Those companies produce the trucks, making their trucks production vehicles while the fact that they are built in high volume on the assembly line make them mass-produced.
On the other hand, tuning companies like Shelby or the dealerships that offer big power F-150 packages do not produce the trucks. They take trucks that Ford has built at their factories and they modify them. Even in the event that the upgrades happens at a Ford dealership, models like the 725-horsepower Lebanon Ford F-150 are not production trucks.
Based on the industry standards for a production vehicle, the only trucks that are considered for those claims are packages like the Ram 1500 TRX and the Ford F-150 Raptor. However, the Shelby Raptor, which has more power, is not included, as Ford Motor Company doesn’t have any involvement in that truck. With Shelby building high performance F-150s while Ford is selling the Shelby GT350 and GT500 Mustang, it has created some confusion as to which vehicles are actually built with Motor Company involvement.
The current Ford Mustang Shelby GT350, GT350R and GT500 are all built at the Motor Company’s Flat Rock Assembly Plant alongside the rest of the new Mustangs. While folks from Shelby have input on these models, the modern GT350 and GT500 are engineered and designed internally by Ford, followed by being built in Ford’s Mustang plant. Shelby American doesn’t have any involvement with production with those two models.
At the same time, Shelby American also offers post-title upgrade packages for the Ford Mustang, including the GT350 and GT500, such as the Shelby GT500SE Signature Edition, the Shelby GT and the Shelby Super Snake. While there are dealerships that sell those cars that are specially prepared by Shelby American, those cars were all built at the Ford plant then shipped to Shelby American in Las Vegas. While there, they receive the unique upgrades, but the “normal” GT350 and GT500 are not touched by Shelby American after leaving the assembly line. These are not production models, as they were produced by Ford then modified by Shelby American. Also, they are not built on the assembly line in big numbers, instead being built at the Shelby shop, so they are not mass-produced.
The Shelby F-150 Super Snake Sport is similar to the Shelby GT500SE Signature Edition, the Shelby GT and the Shelby Super Snake Mustang in its nature. They are built at Ford’s Dearborn truck plant and shipped to Vegas to be transformed into a 770-horsepower sport truck. Once again, it is not mass-produced and since it is being modified and not produced, it does not meet the criteria for being a production truck.
Just because Ford builds and sells Shelby-badged Mustangs does not make Shelby post-title packages production trucks. Also, with only 250 planned to be built in Vegas, the 770-horsepower Shelby F-150 is a far cry from being mass-produced.
The Battle for the Strongest
Based on the industry standards for a mass-produced truck and a production vehicle, the only real competitor for the 2021 Ram 1500 TRX is the Ford F-150 Raptor. The Raptor is powered by a twin turbocharged 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 that delivers 450 horsepower and 510 lb-ft of torque. The most powerful Chevrolet or GMC pickups are powered by a 6.2-liter V8 with 420 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque, so they really aren’t part of the discussion. The same is true of Toyota and Nissan.
In the long run, the Ford F-150 Raptor has been unrivaled as the most powerful production performance truck on the market because it was the only performance truck on the market. Now that Ram has launched the 702-horsepower TRX, the Raptor is a distant second in a class of two.
Patrick Rall is a professional writer and photographer with a passion for all things automotive. Patrick has been sharing his automotive expertise in automotive journalism from Detroit for more than a decade covering the Big Three. Having grown up in his father’s performance shop, he spent extensive time at the oval track and drag strip – both driving and wrenching on various types of vehicles. In addition to working as a writer, Patrick previously worked as an automotive technician before moving on to a business office position with a chain of dealerships, and this broad spectrum of experience in the industry allows him to offer a unique look on the automotive world. Follow Patrick on Youtube and Twitter. Find more of Patrick's stories at Torque News Dodge. Search Torque News Dodge for more Dodge Challenger and Charger coverage from our expert reporters.