Home Cars 30 Extreme Trucks That Changed The Auto Industry Forever

30 Extreme Trucks That Changed The Auto Industry Forever

Vukasin HerbezNovember 12, 2020

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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