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30 Extreme Trucks That Changed The Auto Industry Forever

Vukasin HerbezNovember 12, 2020

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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