Last year, Four Wheeler's very own Technical Editor, Sean P. Holman, broke the story on the ever-popular Ford F-150 Raptor pickup. It was a truck like no other. It came from the factory with bulged fenders and bedsides, long-travel suspension dampened by slick Fox internal bypass shocks. It also included a rear locker and a whole assortment of other wheeler-friendly accessories. Fortunately for us, Ford approved the Raptor program and production Raptors started rolling across dealer lots late last year. We knew the concept would be embraced big time by the enthusiasts community, and today sales continue to prove that the go-fast desert market has significant potential.
Needless to say, the successful Raptor program has not gone unnoticed by other manufacturers.
Especially by the cutting-edge designers and engineers at Chrysler corporation.
Meet the new 2010 Ram Runner.
Targeted specifically at off road racing enthusiasts, the new Ram Runner is Chrysler's response to Ford's claim of O.E. desert-racing supremacy.
Commissioned by Mopar, Kent Kroeker, of KORE Suspension has been developingon this project for over two years now.
Powered by the 375hp 5.7L Hemi V-8, the Ram Runner easily out-muscles the Raptor's standard 5.4L V-8 in terms of power and torque. Through his Stock Full race program, Kent Kroeker has developed an induction and transmission package that will blow the doors off any production vehicle in the desert. The next powerplant for this vehicle will be an aluminum block 426 Hemi that is purported to produce over 700 hp on pump gas!
With long-travel 4WD suspension designed to provide a whoop-absorbing 15-inches of travel up front and 14-inches out back, the Ram Runner out pounces the Raptor in the dirt. It also uses link arms and coil springs in back, protecting the u-joints from pinion change and taking advantage of Kroeker's variable helix coils that change rate throughout their range of travel.
It uses KORE's signature billet aluminum upper control arms and high-angle rebuildable ball joints. The massive lower control arms are straight off a race car. This particular truck also incorporates a full roll cage inside the cab - ostensibly to "protect overzealous editors from serious bodily harm" while raging through the desert.
Everything on the truck is bigger and badder than the Raptor.
In terms of dampening ability, the Ram-Runner's awesome 3.0-inch Fox internal bypass shox eclipse the Raptor's 2.5-inch Fox shox in big whoops, and together with a pair of 2.0-inch Fox hydraulic bump stops assisting the front, the Ram-Runner can jump higher and land better than a Raptor any day.
With the new 35-inch, DOT-legal version of the General Grabber competition tire, the Ram Runner's rugged hoofs out claw the Raptor's outdated BFG All Terrain talons in virtually any terrain.
The Ram-Runner's 90-inch front track width and 87-inch width out back makes the vehicle extremely stable in the dirt and on the street.
The lines of the truck were designed by Kroeker - swooping fiberglass panels replace the bed and quarter panels - inspired by Trophy Trucks, the look is pure aggression. In front, a special Baja bumper with integral skid plate protects the undercarriage. A special off road LED and HID light system turns night into day when the need arises.
You can expect a full review of this awesome Chrysler concept truck in the August issue of Four Wheeler magazine.
We remind you that this prototype is still in its initial concept phase, so don't expect to see it in dealer showrooms any time soon. However, for the time being, you will be able to purchase every single part, sans roll cage, to build this truck directly from your local Mopar dealer! Expect the entire kit - from shocks to A-arms to body panels to be available later this Summer.