Viper Truck

Viper Truck: V10-Powered Dodge Ram 1500

The Dodge Viper came with an absolutely insane V10. It’s not the most modern engine, nor the most powerful even though the engine displacement is massive. But its vulgarity and silliness make it one of the most charming engines ever. What happens if you put it in a truck? Well, you get the Viper truck.

Officially known as the Dodge Ram SRT-10, the recipe was straightforward: take a Dodge Ram 1500, dump a Viper V10, make some adjustments to the suspension, and voila! You have the Viper truck. This thing has recently fetched some silly prices in auctions, so we feel this is a good opportunity to talk about it.

Here’s everything you need to know about the Viper truck:

Dodge Viper Truck

Dodge produced the Ram SRT-10 from 2004 to 2006, and only around 10,000 of them were made. While not the rarest car in the world, it’s still pretty exclusive. Anyway, the project started at DaimlerChrysler’s (now Stellantis) Performance Vehicle Operations, or PVO for short. Surprisingly, this wasn’t the first time they put a Viper engine in a truck.

No, in 1996 Dodge showcased the Dodge Ram VTS Concept. It was a Ram pickup with the generation-2 Viper engine. But it never made it to production, and we had to wait until 2004 for the truck to go into production. This time the Viper truck uses the 8.3L third-generation Viper V10.

Ram SRT 10 HP

We’ll delve deeper into the Viper engine soon enough, let’s take a look at the headline specs first: this gen-3 Viper V10 engine makes 510 horsepower, and the transmission varies depending on cab configuration.

Yes, you can get it as a regular cab which comes with a Tremec 6-speed manual. But if you want your family and friends to experience the terror that the Viper truck offers, you can get it as a quad cab with a 4-speed automatic.

The regular cab is obviously the faster one, as it’s nearly 500lbs lighter. It can do 0 to 60mph in just 4.9 seconds. For context, that’s the same sort of acceleration as a Porsche Cayman/Boxster S with a PDK (Porsche’s name for dual-clutch) transmission, which is a little over 2,100lbs lighter than the Ram SRT-10.

If you want to take it drag racing, it’ll complete the quarter-mile in just 13.4 seconds at 106mph. Meanwhile, the quad cab is not far off at 13.7 seconds at 100mph. With a long enough stretch of tarmac, it’ll reach 154mph (regular cab) and 147mph (quad cab). Not the fastest car on the strip, but respectable for what it is.

Sounds amazing, doesn’t it? Let’s take a closer look at the inner workings of the Viper truck:

Viper Engine

We all like Ram trucks; they just have a certain appeal to them. But put a Viper V10 engine in them? Then you’ve got to love them. The Viper V10 engine originally started life as the Chrysler LA engine. These were the basis of many Chrysler V8s such as the 318, 340, and 360 that you’ll find in Dodge and Chrysler cars since the ’60s.

The engine evolved into the Magnum V8 and V10 engines, and eventually to the 8.0L V10 in the first-generation Viper. At this point, gone was the cast-iron block, and in with a new and lighter aluminum engine block.

 

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They also gave it new intakes and a new cylinder head, and it had a longer stroke than the Magnum V10. One of the reasons why the torque was so brutal as a longer stroke usually produces more torque. Fast forward to 2003, and you have the third-generation engine.

The displacement was larger at 8.3L (505 cubic inches), and a bore x stroke of 102.4mm x 100.6mm. All this meant it now makes 510 horsepower and 535lb-ft of torque. And peak power comes at 5,600rpm, while torque is at 4,200rpm.

Viper Truck Suspension

The suspension is nothing too special, it was simply a modified version of the independent suspension you’ll find in other Ram heavy-duty trucks. But modifications to the suspension and frame meant it was around one inch lower at the front, and 2.5 inches at the rear.

Of course, with great power comes a lot of lairiness. They had to do something to make sure the truck wasn’t completely out of control, and so they used a set of Bilstein shock absorbers. They also fitted it with a 5th shock on the rear axle to prevent wheel hop if the rear wheels spin. And owners probably did spin it quite a lot.

Along with the tuned suspension, Dodge gave it 22-inch wheels and a set of Pirelli Scorpion P305/40R-22 tires. It had modified Ram heavy-duty truck brakes, but the 2005 – 2006 model came with larger four-piston monoblock calipers at the front.

Don’t expect the Ram SRT-10 to handle like a Porsche Cayman though. This was still a huge and heavy truck, with a lot of power from an engine that was already known to make ludicrous amounts of torque. It’s pretty well known that the early Viper models don’t handle well, and neither did the Ram SRT-10.

Sure, it was still going to be better than any other trucks at the time. And thanks to the wide Pirelli tires there was plenty of grip. But it wasn’t exactly composed and there was still quite a lot of wobbling when cornering. Watch the video from MotorTrend we attached above and you’ll see just how wobbly it is.

Viper Truck Interior

The interior of the Viper truck is nothing special, although it does have some weird quirks. For the most part, it was just your typical early-2000s Dodge Ram interior. Basically another way of saying that it wasn’t particularly good and not a very enjoyable place to be in.

It did have all the basic amenities though, and there were options such as color LCD navigation, Bluetooth by U-Connect, and digital satellite radio. It also had a leather steering wheel and suede-trimmed leather seats as standard.

There are some weird quirks though. For example, the regular cab has bench seats that could seat three passengers. This means there was a middle seat that can fold down if you need an armrest. However, this seat was small and it was placed right behind the shifter. Making it awkward, considering it’s a manual and you’ll have to change gears a lot.

Even weirder, and perhaps a big—if not potentially dangerous—oversight is the placement of the parking brake. Dodge used a foot-operated parking brake, which is different but we’ve seen many cars use it.

However, the Ram SRT-10 came as a manual, which means the parking brake lever was right beside the clutch. Surely, we don’t need to explain how this setup is troublesome when you’re trying to climb up a hill and operate the clutch and the parking brake at the same time. Watch Doug DeMuro’s video to see more of the Viper truck’s quirks.

Viper Truck Ownership

After reading all that you’re probably tempted to own one of these Viper trucks. Why not? It looks cool, it will make quick work of German sports cars on the drag strip, and, well, it has a Viper engine. What more could you ask for from a fast truck?

Hang on though, it’s always a good idea to look at the reliability and overall ownership experience before you buy a car. We did the dirty work for you scoured through owner forums. And here are some comments from owners and their experience with the Viper truck:

  1. Fuel consumption obviously isn’t great. One user on the SRT10 forum stated that they get at most 8mpg in the city and 9mpg on the highway. With current fuel prices, probably not a good idea to make this your daily driver.
  2. The rear wing obstructs the rear view, albeit slightly. However, you can remove it which will make it easier to load and haul large items.
  3. Maneuvering isn’t easy thanks to its size, and the ride isn’t comfortable thanks to the performance-tuned suspension. While most trucks aren’t agile either, there are definitely more comfortable trucks out there.
  4. Definitely not a winter car since it’s rear-wheel drive and has way too much torque for its own good. Best have another car for the winter and avoid driving it on snow.

The “complaints” we saw are mostly about the fuel consumption, but with an 8.3L V10 engine that’s a given. And owners seem to be very positive about their Viper truck ownership. How about reliability then?

Viper Truck Reliability

Reliability is a bit more difficult to conclude. Mostly because there aren’t reliability rating surveys, probably because there are not a lot of these trucks so consumer survey institutions don’t even bother. However, here are some things you may want to keep in mind:

  1. The stock oil cooler lines are believed to be vulnerable to leaking.
  2. Stock power steering lines are also known to be vulnerable to leaking. If the power steering line leaks, you’ll lose power steering fluid and the power steering won’t work. It’ll make the steering very heavy to operate, and can lead to further damage if you ignore it.
  3. As mentioned, the 2005 – 2006 model years have larger brake calipers with four pistons. They have seizing issues which can cause the brakes to lock up and overheat.
  4. The 4-speed auto in the quad cab version is said to be prone to premature failure, often as early as 30,000 miles. For context, most transmissions will last at least 150,000 miles before needing major repairs or a rebuild.
  5. The blend doors are known to break off in these trucks and can damage the air-conditioning’s blower motor. Note that this is a common problem on all early-2000s Dodge Ram trucks, not just the SRT-10.

While there are a few problems to look out for, we think it’s not so bad. The cooler and power steering line issue is easily preventable by fitting it with a better aftermarket one. And while the others are still going to be inconvenient, there are certainly much less reliable cars out there.

The engine itself seems to be quite reliable. These Viper engines are beautifully simple, so it’s not surprising that there are not many complaints about them. It’s one of those weird engines that have ridiculous performance but is still reliable.

Fastest Dodge Truck

Hang on a second, we’re not done yet. If your goal is to buy the fastest Dodge truck possible, then the Ram SRT-10 is not the answer. It’s not a surprise considering how fast modern cars are today. But also a bit of a surprise since no Dodge truck has ever made such a stir since the Viper truck.

Anyway, if you want the fastest Dodge truck money can buy, then consider the Ram 1500 TRX which comes with a supercharged 6.2L Hemi V8.

It makes a silly 702 horsepower, and 650lb-ft of torque. Paired with 8-speed automatic transmission, this gets you from 0 to 60mph in just 3.7 seconds. For context, that’s about the same time as the BMW M2 gets to 60mph, and only very slightly slower than the faster BMW M4.

Viper Truck

Unfortunately, you won’t be going any more than 118mph in the TRX. This is due to the chunky 35-inch offroad tires with a T speed rating that it uses. Since the tires can’t go faster than 118mph, Ram electronically limits the top speed. So, a Viper Truck will still technically go faster.

However, unlike the Viper truck, the Ram TRX can go anywhere it likes. Thanks to the offroad tires and taller ride height, it’s certainly a much better truck off the road than the Ram SRT-10. That being said, you can replace the offroad tires with performance ones and remove the speed governor at a tuning shop if you’d like this to be an on-road monster.

This Ram goodness will set you back around $80,000 before options. And there are special edition versions with fancy accessories that will cost just a little over $100,000. This brings us to the sensitive subject of money…

Dodge Viper Truck Price

The Ram SRT-10’s original MSRP was about $50,000. If you watched the video from Doug DeMuro we attached earlier, you’ll notice that the base price of the truck is around $22,000. But with the SRT-10, included in the price is the “Customer Preferred Package 29S” which we believe is the internal package name for the SRT-10 and it adds another $22,000 to the sticker price.

Anyway, nowadays you can find them for around half the price. We saw a few examples on CarGurus and several 2005 models cost between $23,000 and $27,000, all having between 60,000 miles to 110,000 miles on the clock. This price range applies to both the regular and quad cab models.

However, we did spot a few specimens asking for over $40,000. They all had less than 30,000 miles on the clock, and one car with just 16,000 miles was asking for a whopping $54,950 for a 2004 regular cab model. That sounds a lot, but there’s more:

Get Them While You Can

If you want a Viper truck, then there’s no better time to buy it than now. We’ve seen a rise in popularity for older cars and future classics in recent years, and the Viper truck seems to be one of those cars that collectors and enthusiasts alike are targeting.

As mentioned, some low-mileage models are asking for over $40,000. Around $50,000 is also still a fairly reasonable price for such a unique truck. But we’re seeing these trucks fetching over $60,000 in auctions. And one particular unit on Bring A Trailer was sold for $69,500.

Granted, it only had 366 original miles on it. And a look at the listing clearly shows that it’s in pristine condition. But this suggests that there’s a rising interest in these trucks, and prices are likely to go up. After all, the Viper truck has all the criteria for a future classic: looks good, is unique, charming, and is relatively rare.

 

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Overpriced? A bargain? That’s up to you to decide. We can’t say for sure that it’s going to increase in value, although that seems to be the case. But look, never treat cars as an investment instrument. While they may increase in value, there are running costs, maintenance, and other costs to consider.

However, if you find yourself drooling over the Viper truck throughout this article, we think there’s no better time to buy than now. Just make sure you can stomach—and that your wallet can handle—that 8mpg in city figure.

Forgotten Rivals

The weirdest thing we’ve realized is that there are not a lot of sports trucks out there. Sure, there are plenty of ridiculously powerful trucks nowadays, such as the Ram 1500 TRX. But they focus on off-road performance, unlike the Ram SRT-10 which its sole purpose is just to create a needlessly fast truck with a sports car engine.

Of course, the Ram SRT-10 isn’t the only truck in its category (although we’re not certain what that category is either), but it’s certainly a lonely club. The only other two cars that are similar to the Viper truck are:

  1. 1991 GMC Syclone, has a 4.3L turbo V6 with 280 horsepower, a 4-speed auto, and rear-wheel drive. Less than 3,000 of these trucks exist. Good luck finding one.
  2. Ford F-150 SVT Lightning. The first generation wasn’t too impressive, but the 2nd-gen (1997) has a supercharged 5.4L V8 making 360 horsepower.

Of course, the idea of muscle trucks like these isn’t a terribly brilliant one. Mostly because trucks, by nature, aren’t very good at going fast. But then, you see a lot of needlessly fast SUVs these days, sometimes making up to 600 horsepower with on-road focus. Why can’t we have that with trucks?

Viper Truck FAQ

Got any more questions about the Viper truck and about Ram trucks in general? The answer you’re looking for might be below:

How Much Is A SRT

We’re assuming you’re talking about the Dodge Ram SRT-10, in which case it costs $50,000 when new. And now it’s for sale on the secondhand market for as low as $23,000, but some low-mileage specimens have fetched nearly $70,000 in auctions. If you’re talking about other SRT cars, they generally cost over $50,000 when new.

Are Dodge And Ram The Same Thing

Ram was originally the nameplate for Dodge’s truck lineup starting in the 1980s. However, Ram has since become its own company in 2010 but is still under one ownership with Dodge under Stellantis. Think of it as the separate truck division of Dodge.

Where Are Dodge Rams Made

As you’d expect, the original factory is in Motor City itself. Specifically, in Warren, Michigan, a suburb area in Detroit. But since 1995, Dodge also has a factory in Saltillo, Mexico and this was where they made the Ram SRT-10 trucks.

Whats An SRT

SRT stands for Street & Racing Technology, which is Dodge’s performance division dedicated to making high-performance versions of existing Dodge cars. Examples include the Dodge Challenger SRT, Charger SRT, and of course, the Dodge Ram SRT-10 truck. SRT is similar to what AMG is to Mercedes-Benz, or what the M division is to BMW.

How Many Dodge Vipers Were Made

Including the new ones that were made until 2014, it’s estimated there’s a total of 31,500 Dodge Vipers were ever made. About three times the Ram SRT-10’s production number. This includes the convertibles and special editions such as the ACR Viper. If you’re curious, Dodge made a total of about 8,100 third-generation Vipers. And the highest production number belongs to the second-generation Viper at around 10,400 units.

What’s The Fastest Truck In The World

At 154mph, the Dodge Ram SRT-10 is still the fastest truck in terms of top speed. While other trucks can accelerate faster, such as the Ram 1500 TRX and the Ford SVT Raptor, these trucks have more offroad capability and therefore can’t go as fast on the road. In the runner-up position, there’s the 2001 Ford F-150 SVT Lightning at 149mph. And in third place, it’s the new 2022 Ford Tremor at 130mph.

Viper Truck: Final Thoughts

The Viper truck is probably one of the weirdest cars in history. Trucks are not great at going fast. And even if you put a lot of power in it, you’d probably use that to get out of sticky situations when driving offroad. Not for lighting up the rear tires and racing them down the drag strip.

There are a plethora of options nowadays if you want a fast modern truck. While they’re plenty fast, none of them are quite like the Viper truck. It didn’t care about offroading, it was all about burnouts and top speed.

If you find yourself drooling over the Viper truck, then there’s no better time to buy it than now. Best buy it before collectors drive their prices up. But of course, don’t buy it as an investment; it’s a car, drive it! Just make sure you have enough gas money.

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