Home Cars 30 Extreme Trucks That Changed The Auto Industry Forever

30 Extreme Trucks That Changed The Auto Industry Forever

Vukasin Herbez November 12, 2020

Pickup trucks are the world’s greatest automotive workhorses and the backbone of global economies around the world. However, they aren’t just made for working and towing. Some companies turned pickups into extremely capable vehicles that cannot only outrun muscle cars in a stoplight drag race but also climb mountains and go over many obstacles.

Today, we’ll showcase the 30 most extreme trucks that are extreme off-roaders and immensely capable on every terrain. They’re far from the muscle cars of this era gone by, but they deliver unique, extreme performance nonetheless. Check out the list below.

30. Tesla Cybertruck

One of the most anticipated and controversial trucks coming out in the next year or so is Tesla’s strange Cybertruck. With a design closer to a prop from a utopian sci-fi movie, the Cybertruck is one of the craziest vehicles we’ve seen. Initially, three models are planned, and the first one will single electric motor and rear-wheel-drive. The second will have dual electric motors and AWD. Last, the top-of-the-line model will have three motors and an all-wheel-drive system. Tesla announced that all vehicles will have bulletproof glass and other unique features.

In terms of performance and range, Tesla announced that the most expensive model would have an insanely quick 0 to 60 mph time in the 2.9-second range while lower trim levels will be slower. The range is expected to be from 250 to 500 miles, which is very optimistic.

29. Dodge D-Series High-Performance Package

Back in the early ’60s, the Dodge lineup of trucks fell behind Ford and Chevrolet. This was because their competitors offered newer models, more options, and wider engine choices. But Dodge didn’t give up. Instead, they introduced an interesting special edition from 1964 to 1966 that took the pickup world by storm.

They called it their High-Performance Package and it featured a lot of speed upgrades from Mopar. First, there was the mighty 426 Wedge V8 engine with 375 HP. At the moment it was the biggest, most powerful engine ever installed in a pickup truck. Also, it came with bucket seats in the interior, a 6,000 rpm tachometer, racing stripes, and a high-performance transmission.

28. Shelby F-150

Although Carroll Shelby never got a chance to see this truck, he would certainly approve of the insane 750 HP Shelby F-150. After all, his company and legacy inspired the Ford Motor Company to build it.

Under the hood is a 5.0-liter supercharged V8 producing 750 HP and delivering Raptor-beating performance. With its insane price tag and eye-catching appearance, this Shelby F-150 is the definitive continuation of the iconic Shelby legend.

27. GMC Hummer EV

The Tesla Cybertruck might be the first fully-operational prototype electric truck of the future, but GMC’s Hummer EV is newer, bigger, meaner-looking, and filled with several features that will make your head spin. It is designed to be released sometime next year hopefully. But before attempt to reserve one, you have to know that the top-of-the-line version will cost around $100,000.

However, the features of the GMC Hummer EV are insane. The base version will have a 625 hp engine, the next in line will have 800 hp engines, and the top-tier model will have an astonishing 1000 hp at the disposal. The torque figure, as with all-electric vehicles, is equally impressive, and the predicted range is 350 miles. But what really excites is the combination of the drive train and suspension, which allows the new-age Hummer to climb even the steepest obstacles and even go diagonally, bringing a new dimension to off-road driving.

26. Ford Ranchero GT

Ford conceived the Ranchero in the late ’50s as a reasonable proposition to the car-truck discussion. It sold reasonably well, becoming a practical vehicle for people who wanted the usability and payload of a light truck with the drivability and road manners of a car. However, in the late ’60s when the muscle car craze took the American automotive landscape by storm, Ford introduced its most potent muscle car engine ever, the mighty 429 Cobra Jet, to the Ranchero line.

So, if drivers opted for the GT package in 1970 and paid extra for the 429 motor, you could get one of the fastest trucks on the planet. Best of all, it came with optional wood grain sides, a hood scoop, and suspension upgrades. They rated the Cobra Jet engine at 335 HP, but in reality, it produced over 450 HP. As a result, performance was brutal but the Ranchero GT was a bit of a handful to drive.

25. Ram TRX

Although the car industry is inevitably going in the direction of electric and renewable energy sources, it’s good to know that the people at Dodge are still neck deep into gasoline oblivion. How else we can explain the newest and greatest addition to the extreme truck class – the 2021 Ram TRX. If you don’t know what the TRX is, let us put it this way – it’s a cross between the Ram Rebel and Dodge Challenger Hellcat. In other words, an all-terrain beast with a supercharged Hemi under the hood and a bad attitude.

With a starting price of $69,000, it isn’t cheap, but it is an extremely capable, fast, and durable vehicle whose sole aim is to beat Ford’s Raptor in every aspect. That’s why it has a 702 hp engine under the hood, specially tuned chassis, suspension, and gearbox, and it is designed to be the new king of the hill when it comes to extreme off-road trucks you can get from your local dealer.

24. Mercedes G-Class G63 AMG 6X6

The Mercedes G-Class is one of the longest-running models in the car world. First emerging in 1979 as a primarily military off-road SUV and truck, it’s still on the market today with the same basic design. During the course of almost 40 years, it survived many modifications and redesigns, but never changed its distinctive appearance and basic mechanical layout. Over the years, the G-Class evolved from a pure military truck without any luxury items to an overpriced, premium full-size SUV with a powerful engine, 20-inch chrome wheels, and leather in the interior.

Mercedes created one monster of a truck by power and torque ratings, and a monster with its sticker price too. Under the hood is the 5.5-liter twin turbo engine with 540 hp, which delivers power to all six wheels through a specially-built automatic transmission unit.

Inside the truck, it’s all about luxury with the finest materials and comforts. This 6×6 may not be so capable in the wild since it is such a heavy truck, but it looks like it can tackle the sand dunes well. And, of course, there is the matter of price. When it was new, this G63 had a sticker price of $450,000. Yet if you can find one today, expect to pay close to one million dollars for it.

23. Dodge Ram SRT-10

Dodge offered the SRT-10 between 2004 and 2006. The SRT-10 is one of the craziest, most powerful, and fastest pickups produced. That itself is a hard thing to say since Dodge has always had some wild special versions of their trucks. But look at the specs. The 8.2-liter V10 engine pumped out over 500 HP, with a 0 to 60 time of fewer than five seconds. Also, fuel economy was in the single digits.

Then they topped it off with a crazy bright red or yellow paint job and two white racing stripes. With its big, shiny chrome wheels, you get an idea of what the SRT-10 is all about. It was something you couldn’t miss when you saw it on the street. Of course, with a price tag of over $45,000, the SRT-10 wasn’t exactly a sales hit. However, they produced a decent number of them in a three-year production run.

22. Ford F-150 SVT Raptor

Ford presented the SVT Raptor in 2010 and soon it took the pickup world by storm. Never was there a fully prepared off-road truck available that was capable of doing crazy stunts like jumping dunes and running through the desert at high speeds. Although Ford conceived it as an off-road beast, the SVT Raptor also had muscle car credentials thanks to its 6.2-liter V8 producing a whopping 411 HP.

A 0 to 60 mph sprint took 6.9 seconds. And that is not bad considering they designed the Raptor to run through the jungle, not drag race on urban streets.

21. Chevrolet 454 SS

The basic idea behind this model was to offer the biggest available engine in the lightest full-size truck. It was a muscle car philosophy in truck form. That’s why the Chevrolet engineers took an ordinary 1990 Chevy 1500 pickup truck with the short bed option and added a massive 454 V8 engine. The enormous 7.2-liter V8 was good for 230 to 255 HP, a diminutive number.

But it also had 385 lb-ft of torque, which made it fly down the road. Chevy borrowed the big-block engine from their heavy-duty truck lineup. The 454 SS was a durable but thirsty machine. And on the outside, the 454 SS was low key without any wild graphics or color choices.

20. Lamborghini LM002

To be honest, LM002 is somewhere between a truck and an off-road SUV/truck since it has four doors, a double cab, and a truck bed behind it. This crazy creation debuted in the mid-’80s as Lamborghini’s attempt of entering the world of luxury SUVs and widening its appeal. The LM002 uses a special chassid, suspension, and Lamborghini’s famous V12 engine.

The 5.2-liter engine with 400 hp was the same one you’d find in a legendary Countach. For buyers who thought 400 hp was not enough, the factory could supply the LM002 with a 7.3-liter monster V12 engine from a racing boat. Nicknamed “The Rambo Lambo,” this truck was a rugged and desert-going version of the supercar Lamborghini is well-known for making.

Despite the enormous power and tough looks, LM002 was a failure since it was hard to drive on the road. It had an enormous thirst for fuel and problems with off-road stability. It was extremely expensive. Just to have your tires changed on your Lambo LM002, you will need $20,000. As you could imagine, production for this strange vehicle was not high. Only 301 models left the Lamborghini factory, still a considerable number knowing all the facts.

19. Dodge Lil’ Express Truck

The secret of the Lil’ Express Truck and its importance lies in the strict rules of the late ’70s that robbed V8 engines of their power and vehicles of their performance. But Dodge found an interesting loophole in the regulations that declared pickup trucks didn’t have to have catalytic converters. This meant Dodge could install a more powerful engine and have it breathe easier to deliver more punch than previous models or competitors.

And that’s how the Lil’ Express Truck came to be. Dodge took a standard D Series short bed truck and added a 360 V8 engine. Next, they added big truck-like stacked exhaust pipes right behind the doors. They also installed a durable automatic transmission with a red color scheme.

Their final touches included some signature decals and details, as well as lots of chrome trim. This wild-looking special model delivered 225 HP, which was considered a lot in those days. And thanks to its revised drive train, it was the fastest accelerating domestic vehicle in 1978.

18. Legacy Power Wagon

Located in rural Wyoming, Legacy Classic Trucks specializes in restoring and restomoding legendary pieces of American car history. Legacy Classic Trucks introduced a series of restomod models that amaze truck fans with the quality of craftsmanship, engineering, and original ideas. There are several classic trucks on offer, but the most interesting is the Legacy Power Wagon.

Legacy based it on the legendary Dodge Power Wagon. But Legacy’s interpretation keeps the original design, durability, and usability. They also add a ton of modern features and encasements. This transformed this rugged truck from 1930s into one of the best off-road vehicles of the 2010s.

The prices start at just below $200,000 for a basic model powered by a 6.2-liter Chevrolet LS3 V8 engine with 430 HP. If you want, you can get a modern V8 diesel engine in your Legacy Power Wagon, as well as an extended cab or double cab configuration. Best of all, the latest state-of-the-art electronics, suspensions, and comforts are part of the package.

17. Ford F-150 Lightning

The Ford F-150 Lightning is a legendary truck. It wasn’t the first muscle truck, but it was one of the best and extremely well-executed. That made the first generation, which Ford sold from 1993 to 1995, a true automotive icon. The basic idea was to make a muscle truck using a regular F-150, similar to the Chevrolet 454 SS.

However, Ford did it with more care and better engineering. Also, they gave the Lightning a lighter, smaller, but equally as powerful engine. Under the hood was a 5.8-liter V8 with 240 HP and 340 lb-ft of torque, giving the classic F-150 Lightning very respectable performance.

16. Chevrolet El Camino 454 SS

The Chevrolet El Camino was conceived as a half-car, half-truck vehicle for carrying light loads. It could handle delivery duty and was a useful tool for small business owners. In fact, most of them lived their lives exactly like that. But in 1970, Chevrolet introduced the wildest El Camino of all in the form of the El Camino SS 454. The mighty 454 V8 LS6 was a 7.4-liter Chevrolet big-block engine with an official power rating of 450 HP.

The engine delivered around 500 HP in real life, making it a fire-breathing beast. And it had one of the best engines of the muscle car era. In the El Camino SS, this engine provided significant performance figures close to the best regular muscle cars of the day.

15. Toyota Tundra TRD Supercharged

The Tundra TRD Supercharged is the only non-factory model on this list but it belongs here because it is truly a hot road truck. The TRD Supercharger package was available from Toyota dealers for the hefty price tag of over $20,000. For that kind of cash, buyers got numerous upgrades including an Eaton supercharger that upgraded the power to a staggering 504 HP.

The Tundra TRD with its newfound power got some quick acceleration times. In fact, many reports state this big truck could see 60 mph in less than five seconds, which is essentially mind-boggling.

14. Chevrolet Colorado ZR2

If Ford has cornered the market in full-size trucks with the amazing new F-150, Chevrolet is leading the pack in mid-size trucks with its new Colorado. But its ZR2 version is the most influential because it’s a perfectly-designed off-road pickup. Better yet, it has the economy of a diesel engine and the usability of a regular truck.

Its diesel engine delivers just 181 HP but 365 lb-ft of torque. That makes the Colorado ZR2 an astonishingly capable off-road machine with great fuel economy and towing capacity.

13. Ford F-150 Raptor

If the first Raptor lacked acceleration, the second generation managed to earn the crown back for Ford. The latest Ford Raptor includes a 3.5-liter turbocharged V6 with 450 HP and 510 lb-ft. It also has a 10-speed automatic transmission with sub-five-second acceleration times. Although that suggests it’s an exotic supercar, it’s also a full-size pickup truck with room for five people and a regular truck bed.

The Ford Raptor is the closest thing to a full Baja 1000 racing vehicle drivers can buy today. The truck-buying public didn’t expect such a move, but they were fascinated by the truck’s looks, performance, and capabilities. The idea behind the Raptor was to construct the fastest off-road truck money could buy.

Ford did just that, installing numerous chassis and suspension upgrades as well as a powerful engine. The best thing about the Raptor is that Ford prepared an extreme off-road truck with a warranty for customers. With multiple driving modes, a 10-speed automatic gearbox, and an adaptive suspension, you can take this truck rock crawling or mud dipping. Ford did a great job of combining the toughness of an extreme off-road truck with the usability of a regular pickup.

12. Chevrolet Silverado SS

Introduced in 2003, the Silverado SS was basically the spiritual successor to the legendary 454 SS model from the early ‘90s. However, it was somewhat more refined and came with more power and options.

Under the hood was a 6.0-liter V8 that pumped out 365 HP and provided a sub-seven-second 0 to 60 mph time. The Silverado SS was on the market from 2003 to 2005 and came in four colors, which makes them easy to recognize on the street.

11. Ford F-150 Lightning

In 1999 along with the new, totally redesigned generation of F-150 trucks came the new Lightning. This time it was much meaner-looking, aggressive, and packed much more firepower. Ford installed its 5.4-liter V8 with a supercharger, which was good for 360 HP at first and 380 HP later. This was much more than the previous model as well as much more than any truck on the market at that moment.

Also, performance numbers were sublime because the Lightning could accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in five seconds and top 140 mph. Those figures were more suited to a Porsche 911 than to a regular pickup truck that could carry stuff just like any F-150.

10. GMC Syclone

Back in the 1980s, GM experimented a lot with turbocharged engines, which was in sync with industry trends at the time. So, GM took an ordinary S10 bodyshell and installed a 4.3-liter V6 with a turbocharger good for 280 HP. Next, they added a special four-speed automatic from a Corvette and performance-based all-wheel drive.

Although the power figures may not sound like much these days, the Syclone was able to sprint to 60 mph in just 5.3 seconds. And that made it faster than contemporary Ferraris. OVerall, it will go down in auto history as one of the most unique trucks ever built.

9. Pontiac El Catalina

Before you say that the ill-fated Pontiac pickup truck is not a part of muscle car history, we would remind you that if this car had been built, the performance-crazed team of Pontiac engineers would have presented it with the Super Duty or Ram Air IV engine at some point just to compete with the El Camino SS or Ranchero GT.

In 1960, Pontiac wanted to expand their portfolio and even thought of producing some sort of light delivery vehicle or truck. The closest thing GM had at that point was a popular and usable Chevrolet El Camino, which was based on the full-size Chevy car platform. Pontiac’s R&D department took the El Camino and mounted its own 1960 Catalina body, chopped and reshaped with the El Camino rear glass and truck bed. The finished concept was called El Catalina and it was arguably more beautiful and elegant than the El Camino.

8. Toyota Tacoma X-Runner

Behind this strange name lies quite an interesting vehicle. Not only does it provide more power than a regular truck, but it also has better handling and driving dynamics. The idea behind the Tacoma X-Runner is to make a sports car with a truck bed. And it looks like Toyota has succeeded with its goal.

Under the hood is a 4.0-liter V6 with 236 HP, which isn’t much. But you could order a supercharger and get 305 HP, which is a significant increase. However, the most interesting features are the lowered suspension, sway bars, bigger brakes, and modified steering. These are the improvements that made the X-Runner drive like a nimble coupe and not a truck.

7. Chevrolet Big 10 1976-79

In the late ’70s, only Dodge optioned for presenting muscle trucks and sold them as such. Chevrolet, on the other hand, had the same idea but cleverly disguised it as a special version of its main pickup line. Back in the day, Chevrolet sold many special versions which were mostly trim and color choices and the Big 10 started as one of them. However, if you ticked the right boxes when you ordered your new Chevy truck, you could end up with a machine almost as fast as a 1979 Corvette.

The trick was in the engine choice. If you paid extra for 454 big-block V8 and four-speed transmission, you could get a 245 HP beast which was more powerful than any other muscle car from the period. Of course, the pickup truck construction put obvious limits on this, but still, the muscle truck could accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in the eight-second range.

6. Ford F-150 Tremor

This interesting muscle truck is the spiritual successor to the early 1990s Lightning. When the new Raptor came out, everyone forgot about this model. The F-150 Tremor was a hot rod F-150 with 365 HP from its 3.5-litre EcoBoost engine. It came with suspension tweaks, unique graphics, and visual improvements.

The F-150 Tremor was available as a two or four-wheel drive version. Although performance wasn’t that good, the Tremor was fast. In fact, it could accelerate from 0 to 60 in around six seconds.

5. Shelby Dakota

The Dakota was a compact pickup truck from Dodge sold between 1987 and 1996. It was dependable, tough-looking, and came with a wide arrange of engines and trim levels. But Dodge wanted more, so in the late ‘80s, they decided to build a performance version. They wanted to have the legendary Carroll Shelby create it, who was working with Chrysler at the moment.

Shelby took a regular production Dakota and installed a 5.2-liter V8 engine with 175 HP. Although power output was relatively small, the Dakota was light and had lots of torque. All that meant this compact truck had a convincing performance. Shelby also dressed up the Dakota with a special paint job and trim. They then added a roll bar and wheels which made this little truck stand out on the streets.

4. Chevrolet SSR

Chevy built the SSR on an SUV platform with a Corvette V8 engine. It had a fold-down hard top and a tight cabin for only two passengers, making the SSR more like a modern hot rod. Its appearance was good and it had a glorious soundtrack from its small-block V8. The engine delivered around 400 HP and Chevy added dual exhaust pipes.

The performance wasn’t overly impressive and a sprint to 60 mph took around six seconds, so it wasn’t slow, either. With the retro design, big wheels and strange silhouette, it was something different on the streets. The SSR was not your typical muscle truck, but it had a V8 and a truck bed, so you could consider it one.

3. Hennessey Raptor 6×6

When there is something that the manufacturer cannot or don’t have the courage to do, Hennessey was usually the company to make it a reality. Offered for a whopping $350,000, it is one of the most extreme trucks ever produced. So what is it exactly?

It’s essentially a F-150 Raptor but enhanced in almost every way. First, it has one additional axle, making this a proper 6×6 vehicle and one of the most extreme trucks. Second, it has upgraded shocks, suspension, and a totally modified drive train. Third, it has a 600 hp engine, quite an improvement over factory specifications.

2. Ford F650 Supertruck

When it comes to extreme trucks, nothing is as big and dominant as the iconic Ford 650. If you think that F-350 is a big truck, think again. Ford has an even bigger chassis on offer.

The idea behind F-650 is to make the ultimate pickup truck with four and even six-door bodies with durability. Yes, the F-650 is expensive, and it probably will not fit in your garage, but some like driving semis with a pickup body.

1. International XT-Series

Even though the International produced a successful line of SUV models back in the day, after the discontinuation of the Scout, it left the passenger vehicle market and concentrated on industrial users. However, in 2004, the company briefly returned to designing trucks with the enormous International XT model.

The lineup consisted of three models CXT (commercial extreme truck), RTX (recreational extreme truck), and MTX, which was a military-spec version. Under the hood was a diesel six-cylinder or a V8, and the chassis was straight from International’s medium-duty truck lineup.

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