The Viper Pickup's Fate > Death By Lightning

By JOE KOVACH (autoweek.com) http://www.autoweek.com/cat_content.mv?port_code=autoweek&cat_code=coverstory&loc_code=index&content_code 809213
With added comments by NoOption5L. Numbers play a big role in the new Dodge Ram SRT-10. We'll start with 500, which the truck's engineers reached or exceeded four times: in hp (500 at 5600 rpm), torque (525 lb-ft at 4200 rpm), engine displacement (505 cid) and in its stereo (505-watt Infinity sound system).
NoOp comment: Sounds great, so far!
With help from Chrysler Group's Performance Vehicle Operations, the changes from the '03 Ram made to the new SRT-10 number 165. Some of those changes resulted in an even meaner-looking exterior, while others transformed the SRT-10's interior and handling from trucky to sporty—bordering even on sports car. More than one engineer said the project was "like building a Viper with a truck body." With 500 horses under the hood of the SRT-10, we understand what they're talking about.
2004 DODGE RAM SRT-10 ON SALE: Late December BASE PRICE: $45,795
NoOp comment: Ouch! An '04 Lightning can be had for about $32K.
POWERTRAIN: 8.3-liter, 500-hp, 525-lb-ft V10; rwd, six-speed manual CURB WEIGHT: 5150 pounds
NoOp comment: The '03 Lightning only (?) weighs 4,700. Expect the next generation to be closer to 5,000.
0-60 MPH: 5.3 seconds (est.)
NoOp comment: The _current_ Lightning is only few ticks slower. I expect the the next generation Lightning to be at a few ticks quicker.
Dodge senior manager of design Dennis Myles said designing trucks is the best assignment you can get, and not just because trucks have taken over as the big moneymakers for automakers.
"I love the challenge that while everything we do here design-wise needs to look good, there's a rationale behind it," Myles said. "It's all about functionality throughout the vehicle."
Designing trucks differs from doing a typical coupe or sedan, in which most buyers seek attractive looks, a comfortable interior and a decent price. Today's truck guy demands more talents from his vehicle, for daily driving as well as for play and work duty.
Myles declares the new Ram SRT-10, with its '04 Durango sibling, to be the most rewarding project of his career, more so even than his work with Lamborghini, back when Chrysler owned the Italian company.
To fit the truck, Dodge changed the oil pan and the engine and transmission mounts of the Viper 8.3-liter V10. It installed the strongest cooling system from the Dodge parts bin, the turbodiesel Ram's, the largest that can fit.
The SRT-10's high-flow exhaust manifold system connects to 2.5-inch dual exhaust pipes running into a large muffler resonator and dumping out the back through 3.5-inch tail pieces. Also helping cooling is a big power dome and hood scoop (with "Viper Powered" badges on the sides) and the large horse-collar grille. "It has a ‘Get out of my way' front end," Myles noted.
NoOp comment: The Viper Truck does look sharp!
The SRT-10 spent a lot of time in Chrysler Group's new wind tunnel. If the front splitter reminds you of a NASCAR truck, that's because the same engineer who worked on it came from the Craftsman Series, Myles says. "The splitter works in unison with the rear wing," he adds. "The wing reduces lift, but it's rare in that the wing also reduces drag."
NoOp comment: The wing looks dorky, but at least it works... unlike many that adorn vehicles these days.
That wing can be removed to improve access to the six-foot, three-inch box. Dodge doesn't recommend towing, but as a company executive noted, some owners will still probably tow small loads such as jet skis. The payload of the SRT-10 is about 1000 pounds.
NoOp comment: Okay, these trucks are about another typing of hauling; however, the current Lightning has a payload capacity of 1350 and can tow 5,000.
As for the aurally pleasing exhaust note, one engineer said, "Start this baby up in the morning and people will know what you're driving." A couple of journalists wished the note were louder. We wouldn't argue with that.
NoOp comment: That's an easy fix.
The Ram SRT-10's six-speed manual transmission is the T56 Tremec unit found in the Viper and in Corvettes, with Hurst linkage and a tall shifter topped by a Viper shift knob. It's easy to reach, like a car's would be, and the throws aren't typical truck-long. (No automatic is offered.)
NoOp comment: Ford, time to offer a manual trans in a Lightning.
Adding to the SRT-10's rugged looks are 22-inch 305/40 Pirelli PZero Scorpion Asimmetricos riding on aluminum, Viper-style Speedline wheels from Italy. Pirelli engineers redesigned the tire tread pattern to better suit the truck.
The attractive, user-friendly black interior offers inclusive, silver-rimmed gauges with an A-pillar-mounted oil temp gauge about eye-high to the driver. The Ram retains the Viper's red start button, the center console still can hold a laptop, and it folds up for a third seat.
Behind the driver's arm is a 10-inch Crutchfield sub-woofer for the eight-speaker, six-CD-player/ AM/FM stereo.
The heavily bolstered seats with textured suede inserts are designed to keep you from sliding, as Dodge engineer James Fink points out the SRT-10 can corner at nearly 1 g and decelerate at 1 g plus.
NoOp comment: 5,000 pounds and it can corner at nearly 1G. Freakin' amazing!
With 90 percent of the V10's torque available from 1500 rpm to 5600 rpm, engineers gave the truck a Dana 60 rear end. To prevent wheel hop, it is underslung from the longitudinal leaf springs (wearing rubber snubbers to soak up bounce), and further aided by a Bilstein gas-pressure shock absorber used as a power-hop damper, attached to the axle and the frame. The axle has a 4:10 gear ratio and a limited-slip differential. The back is lowered 2.5 inches from the stock Ram, and PVO adds a 0.9-inch antiroll bar.
NoOp comment: Sweet!
The front suspension, lowered by one inch, is a short/long-arm configuration with stiffer coil springs and Bilstein monotube shocks. It uses a larger solid antiroll bar than is found in the standard Ram, 1.3 inches. Brakes are all discs, 15-inch rotors in front, 14-inch in back, from the Ram Heavy Duty model, with red calipers. Four-wheel ABS is standard, but traction control is the driver's job.
NoOp comment: "Traction control is the driver's job." That would be a nice job to have!
The SRT-10 stayed well planted in our test drives, except when we wanted to kick out the rear with power, which was easy to do and controllable. We got to drive the Ram on curvy, hilly, fast country roads, and on a parking-lot autocross course. For a truck that looks beastly, it's a surprisingly sweet handler.
NoOp comment: Gotta love technology... a 5,000 pickup that corners like a sports car.
The engine and transmission are obliging no matter what gear, it seems, and passing is a cinch. Through the leather-wrapped steering wheel, the modified rack-and-pinion gear from the Ram Heavy Duty felt fine.
Looking further at the Ram SRT-10's numbers, the steering ratio is 18.4:1 with a 45.75-foot turning circle. Dodge projects a fuel economy rating of 9.5/14.5 mpg city/highway.
NoOp comment: That's a bunch of big hungry horses.
Drag coefficient is estimated at 0.43.
NoOp comment: Note: The average new car probably has a CD of about .34
The only options are side airbag curtains ($495), and a bedliner and nav/radio setup that aren't priced yet. Red, black and silver are the exterior colors. About 2500 of the trucks will be built annually, Dodge says.
We compared some of SRT-10's numbers with its high-performance pickup rival, the Ford F-150 Lightning. The Ram's pow-er-to-weight ratio of 1 hp to 10.3 pounds is impressive, beating the Lightning, which moves 12.28 pounds with each unit of horsepower. The Lightning is 480 pounds lighter, and its 5.4-liter supercharged V8 makes 380 hp (along with 450 lb-ft of torque). But the Lightning can haul 1400 pounds or tow 5000 pounds.
We don't think less payload capacity will keep Dodge guys from buying the Hemi Ram. For one thing, its top speed is rated at 150 mph, and we expect it to beat the Lightning's production-pickup world speed record of 147 mph set in August.
Besides its more provocative looks, the fun factor of the Ram SRT-10 makes it feel like a larger version of a sport compact. We would have never dreamed that the Ram would provide the most fun we've experienced while fooling around on an autocross, storming and drifting around the cones. But it did. No lie.
NoOp comment: As good as it is, I expect the Viper Truck to get creamed by the next generation Lightning on the track and in sales. The Lightning is going to be packing at least 550 horsepower, and if Ford can keep it's price down under around $35K, the Viper pickup is going to be in a world of hurt.
Next geeration Lightning details: http://www.supercars.net/cars/2003 @$Ford@$Lightning%20SVT%20Conceptg.html
Patrick '93 Cobra '83 LTD
Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Once again, very good Patrick =). Very interesting!
-Mike

Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@aol.com (Patrick) wrote in

Quicker, actually: the '03-'04 Lightning does 0-60 in 5.2 seconds. When the current generation L came out in 1999, it was a tad slower, but Ford added more HP and torque a couple years later.
Otherwise, an excellent post! Thanks! -- Jim
Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Patrick wrote:

http://www.autoweek.com/cat_content.mv?port_code=autoweek&cat_code=coverstory&loc_code=index&content_code 809213
[...]
Why? The Lightning seems to be pretty well-targeted by Ford at the 0-60, 1/4 mile crowd, and a strong automatic is ideal for that. Sounds like Chrysler is attempting to differentiate the SRT-10 as more of a sports-car in truck clothing. The Lighting is more of a dragster in truck clothing ;-).
Dana
Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
A standard is so much more fun than an automatic IMHO.
-Mike

http://www.autoweek.com/cat_content.mv?port_code=autoweek&cat_code=coverstory&loc_code=index&content_code 809213
Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@recorddeal.com wrote:

Oh, I prefer a manual for a road car. Absolutely.

But an automatic is way better for drag racing. The more consistent your shifts, the more consistent your time is and the bigger advantage you have in bracket racing.
Dana
Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
No argument with that... just saying I think it's more "fun".. not "better" for drag racing ;). I suppose if one wants a manual badly enough that he/she will get one.
-Mike

Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
There is a guy in OKC that is running a 6 speed behind his '03 Lightning. He paid dearly for it though.
Don Manning
wrote:

Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
2.3Sleeper wrote:

That just goes to show you that if someone wants something bad enough, they are going to get it. Erik D. '94 white lightning
Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snippage

I agree, except for the hood and the wing.
more snippage

While it would be fun to drive, try getting a manual to hook up with 500+ horses on 22 inch rims in a pickup truck, which has a light rear. I expect to see quite a few of these SRT10's in ditches if people drive them like sports cars with manuals.
Snip

I agree. My truck was rated at .89 G's and it weighs in at about 4500. I love loosing people through the twisties, they are usually surprised that the truck handles so much better than their sprots cars :). I would imagine that the SRT10 will handle considerably better than my ol' '94 lightning.

Agreed, but like I said, traction control will be tough with a 500 horse pickup truck and a manual transmission, this is why I think the gen2 lightnings will be able to beat them on the streets.

Yep.
I don't think John Colletti is going to let the lightning slip from its #1 status. When the lightning comes back in 2006, I know it will be the King once again.
Erik D. '94 white lightning
Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
20Conceptg

Erik, wait until DC offers the SRT-10 with a blower. Colletti will be whimpering and whining all the way home with his tail between his legs. ;)
Joe Calypso Green '93 5.0 LX AOD hatch with a few goodies Black '03 Dakota 5.9 R/T CC
Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

No, he won't do that, he's not that type of guy. IF DC offers the SRT10 with a blower, which they won't do, colletti WILL come out with something to top it. I must admit though, the SRT-10 with a blower would be INSANE. The horsepower wars are in full swing right now, and I must admit that I love it! Erik D. '94 white lightning
Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Erik D. wrote:

Ford has a V-10 to up the ante. If fact, Kenne Bell already makes a twin screw blower kit for it. A friend of mine had one on the V-10 in his customized dual wheel Ford truck. It was impressive to see him light up ALL FOUR rear tires with ease. :)
Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Now that would be outstanding to see - a dually burnout!
OK, Michael. So let's say Ford puts the V-10 in the Lightning. By the time that happens, DC will have a Hemi-V10 Viper engine putting out 700 N/A hp. ;)
Joe Calypso Green '93 5.0 LX AOD hatch with a few goodies Black '03 Dakota 5.9 R/T CC
Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Joe wrote:

It was strange to see. I can say Ford didn't design the dual wheel pickups for burnouts.

It is getting quite insane watching these new horsepower wars between the big three. To think someone will be able to buy a TRUCK off the show room floor with 500+ hp and very good handling was unthinkable just five years ago. Hell, the next generation Cobra will probably be nipping at 500 hp and with a $1,000 worth of bolt-on parts who knows what it will do. Screw the muscle cars of the 60's. A Neon SRT could put most of them to shame nowdays. We are living at the pennicle of automotive perfomance right now. Funny thing is that it doesn't look like the horsepower wars will slow down any time soon.

Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload


Have you seen the custom dually wheels yet? I see all 3 American makes sporting these things - they look like they're at least 24" or so. Polished, too. Most trucks I've seen with them have lift kits. Looks as though they need them for the size of the wheel/tire combo.

This is a good thing. :) You're absolutely right - the power/handling level of factory vehicles these days is outrageous. But, as usual, everything comes at a price. $45,000 for a truck or SUV is just ridiculous. But it's cool as shit watching all this happen.
My son is just drooling reading all these fabulous reviews about all these hi-po vehicles. The good thing is that all these vehicles are a great incentive for him to get a good education and job so he can afford to buy one of them. ;)
Joe Calypso Green '93 5.0 LX AOD hatch with a few goodies Black '03 Dakota 5.9 R/T CC
Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Joe wrote:

Trucks have so much aftermarket stuff available now it's impossible to keep up with it. From what I've seen though, modding a truck takes some big bucks.

The good news is that in several years there will be allot of used cars with serious potential to be had for cheap. IMO, it's the insurance rates now that keep kids from buying performance cars more than the price of the car.

Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
How is this for a fast truck?
http://www.olypen.com/bulldog/movies.html/F350Run.wmv
WOW!!!
Erik D. '94 white lightning
Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
That was damn impressive... I'm just curious as to why all of the smoke. Was it a diesel, or was it just tuned extremely badly? You'd have to wonder how much faster it could be if tuning was the problem... dumping that kind of gas out the tailpipes...
JS

Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
That was impressive! I assume it was a desiel with the trail of black smoke behind it. I bet it has some tremendous torque.
Erik D. wrote:

Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Motorsforum.com is a website by car enthusiasts for car enthusiasts. It is not affiliated with any of the car or spare part manufacturers or car dealers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.