Ram Rebel TRX Concept Preview


It's not easy keeping secrets, especially when nosy auto writers are constantly asking questions. But that's exactly what Ram did at the 2016 State Fair of Texas. Hiding under a billowy tarp while Jim Morrison, the head of Ram, delivered some sales and marketing highlights at a press conference before the opening of the fair, an all-new concept pickup truck made its debut.

It's called the Ram Rebel TRX concept, but it should be called the coolest desert-racing pickup we've seen in a long time. Clearly meant as an exercise to create a legitimate competitor to the Ford Raptor, the concept truck was built using existing Fiat Chrysler Automobiles' parts (mostly from Dodge and Jeep) as well as some specialty parts needed for running through desert terrain at 100-plus mph.

You can see from the photos that the truck looks great, so we we'll just say it has bulging muscles everywhere with an intimidating and growly face.

Here are some of the highlights:

  • A supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 pumps out 575 horsepower
  • Eighteen-layer-thick Candy Apple Red paint job with anodized red accents
  • Six 37-inch Toyo Open Country M/T tires (two spares in the bed)
  • Four inches of suspension lift provide 13 inches of travel at each wheel
  • A heavy-duty eight-speed transmission with paddle shifters and a console stick
  • Unique front and rear fenders give the Rebel TRX 6 more inches of width
  • Custom bed grab handles around the perimeter and a distinctive light bar
  • Rear axle is a heavy-duty Dynatrac Pro 60 with a locking differential
  • The front axle is from a standard Ram 1500 but has stronger constant-velocity-joint half shafts
  • Heavy-duty 15-inch rotors and six-piston brakes in front; 14-inch rotors in back
  • An upgraded BorgWarner transfer case with Normal, Wet/Snow, Off-Road and Baja modes that changes throttle, steering and traction sensitivities

There's no question that this 575-hp alpha-male off-road machine is meant to get us questioning whether Ram could make something like this for the real world. And even though there are plenty of custom and fun details on this truck that are never likely to make it into production, it's also pretty obvious that much of the underpinnings and interior details are relatively stock.

Yes, there would need to be some suspension work. Yes, there would need to be some driveline changes to accommodate a power plant like this. And yes, there would need to be some stamping issues figured out at the plant. But all those issues seem pretty small when you consider how many engineering points this "concept" shares with a standard Ram 1500 crew-cab 4×4.

Clearly the folks at Ram and Mopar have been playing with this idea for quite a while. In that time, we've seen multistage kits designed for serious off-roading Remember the Ram Runner multistage aftermarket kit? We even tested the previous-gen Raptor with a fully built Ram Runner in the desert and found them both to be amazingly capable, with the winning by a nose. From where we stand, it also looks like the current Ram Rebel might have been a small hint of things to come.

When asked about the feasibility of turning this concept into a production vehicle, the response was familiar. Ram reps said they're going to show this vehicle is several venues during the next several months to gauge customer reaction to determine whether this might be a viable trim package in a future Ram 1500.

Well, please allow us to save you some time and survey expense: You need to build this truck! Clear enough?

Although the Ram Rebel half-ton does a nice job of providing truck customers improved feel both on and off-road, producing this type of specialty package would add to Ram's credibility and give it a chance to show off some of its best powertrains. Can you say Ram Rebel Hellcat?

Look for more announcements and details about this truck, assuming it gets the green light, in the near future. photos by Angela Connors




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