Are These Shots of the Ram Hellcat?
Please say yes, please say yes, please say yes…
Fair warning: we admit that we have no concrete idea what these two Ram prototype trucks are. But let’s also admit right now that we would really like them to be test beds for Hellcat-powered 2500 Heavy Duty pickups. The black bombers themselves give nothing away, but we know that Jeep has installed the supercharged 6.2-liter, 707-horsepower, 650-pound-foot Hemi V8 in a Grand Cherokee Trackhawk meant for production next year, and in the Jeep Wrangler Trailcat concept to be shown during the Easter Jeep Safari. If Ram has applied itself to this Stygian union, it would be a gleefully felicitous progression of the Hellcat brand.
When asked in October 2014 about any intention to build this very unicorn, Ram Trucks CEO Bob Hegbloom said, “At this time, I would say no.” But that was 17 months ago—a long time in the world of new vehicle development—and it’s quite possible things have changed. There is zero conventional reason for a Heavy Duty Ram Hellcat; some suggest it could be competition for the Ford Raptor due later this year, but these prototypes (one of them a Mega Cab) are monstrous; they’d each weigh as much as a pyramid and be just about as useful at high-speed desert running, unless Ram put loopy amounts of R&D into the effort. And, truth be told, that's not really Ram's thing.
Ram has forsaken conventional reason before, though: the 2005 Dodge Ram SRT-10 Quad Cab used the Dodge Viper's 8.3-liter V-10, which packed 500 hp and 525 lb-ft. And the Hellcat engine continues to defy all sorts of logic. The most powerful motor ever offered in a stock production vehicle was one of 2015’s big surprises, causing such a backlog of orders and so much ruckus at dealerships that Dodge canceled hundreds of orders so it could revamp its entire procuring and production system.
Trucks are huge business nowadays, with automakers seemingly unable to make them too outrageous or too expensive for the buying public to demur. Cheap gas makes Horsepower > Reason the default car-buying equation, and a Ram Hellcat would be too awesome to ever have to explain itself. Quoting the wisdom of a colleague, “it's time for Chrysler to prove they've completely lost their shit and stuff that engine into a pickup truck.”