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Hot Rod Trucks: 17 of the Best Muscle Pickups They Ever Made

Vukasin HerbezMarch 8, 2019

  1. Ford F-150 Lightning

In 1999 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, the 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 other F-150.

  1. 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 body shell 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 its contemporary Ferraris.

  1. 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 succeeded.

Under the hood is a 4.0-liter V6 with 236 HP, which is not 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 like a truck.

  1. Ford F-150 Tremor

This interesting muscle truck is the spiritual successor to the early ‘90s Lightning. But, when the latest Raptor came out, everybody 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 two or four-wheel drive version. Although the performance wasn’t that good, the Tremor was fast. In fact, it could accelerate from 0 to 60 in around six seconds.

  1. Shelby Dakota

The Dakota was a compact pickup truck from Dodge they 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, the company decided to build a performance version. They wanted to have the legendary Carroll Shelby create it, who was working with Chrysler Corporation at the moment.

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

  1. 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. It looked cool and it had a glorious soundtrack from its small block V8. The engine delivered around 400 HP and they 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.

This list included the top hot rod trucks. They are the best muscle pickups they ever made. Did you find your favorite one on this list? They provide the utility of a truck and the performance of a hot rod, which is the best of both worlds. So, if you decide to get one, it’s a win-win.

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