You will never find a truck more suited for the cattle-roppin', Merle Haggard singing, boot-wearing crowd than what Ford has done with its top trim level F-350 truck.
There's less leather at a Harley-Davidson convention than in the King Ranch. And that's only half the story.
The F-350 can tow a house (or about 19,000 pounds). Haul a city block. And intimidate even the heftiest of vehicles.
For city folk, it's too much. (At 10 to 12 miles per gallon, you'd be lucky to get it out of your garage without needing to fill up.)
For the real cowboys, I'm sure the King Ranch will fit just right.
What does King Ranch mean? It's Ford's way of super-sizing its truck lineup with a special touch. The Super Duty F-350 4x4 Crew Cab, our tester, is a six-passenger monster that will leave you feeling like you own the road (if you don't push everyone off it first).
The exterior is enormous (20 feet long, 8 feet wide and almost 7 feet high). The interior is special.
From the center console to the grab handles, everything in the King Ranch is swathed with a supple leather surface. It will make your neighbors jealous, and it will make your truck buddies envious.
Ford calls it Castano leather. I call it out of this world.
And there's more.
There are enough gadgets in the King Ranch to start a missile launch - everything from climate control to a power rear window to a factory-installed, optional trailer-brake controller ($425) that makes stopping power a breeze.
And, despite its size, the King Ranch is actually very drivable.
With a new coil-spring front suspension, the F-350 doesn't wallow its way around corners or roll around corners. The turning radius is actually fairly tight (for a truck this size) and the ride is quite, well, comfortable.
Even with a few extra pounds on board in the cabin and a full payload in the back and a small boat on the rear, the F-350 didn't miss a beat.
Nearly 7,000 pounds of curb weight puts this vehicle into the commercial category, but it's amazingly mobile - a true tip of the cap to Ford's engineers.
On the highway, the F-350 was even better. It eats up the miles, churning down the interstate with all of the creature comforts of home.
Of course, a 6.0-liter "Power Stroke" V-8 turbodiesel (with a 19,200-pound tow rating) helps out. It's an engine that roars to life at the turn of a key and springs into action when the pedal is pushed.
Negatives: There aren't many. If you get past the sheer size, there's a lot to like here.
OK, so who buys this?
That's the $50,000 question, especially for a truck that rolls in at $51,255 (or $37,305 before all of the options).
At that price, I'm guessing Ford is looking for the horse trainer who wants to head to the Kentucky Derby in style. Or the city guy who wants a luxury truck for the extra farm.
For the urban cowboys or the rural cowboys, the option is out there.
It's called the King Ranch. There's a reason why. 2005 Ford F-350 King Ranch
Vehicle type: All-wheel-drive, front-engine, four-door, six-passenger truck
Key competition: Chevrolet Silverado, Toyota Tundra, Nissan Titan, Dodge Ram
Base engine (King Ranch): 6.0-liter V-8 turbodiesel
Transmission: Five-speed automatic
Standard safety equipment: Four-wheel ABS; dual front air bags
MPG rating (estimated): 10 city/12 highway
Manufactured: United States
Warranty: Basic warranty is three years/36,000 miles.
Base price (F-350): $37,305
Price as tested (including destination and delivery): $51,255