Supersize my truck, Dodge!

By Time of article published May 3, 2011

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Call it Cowboy Couture - they don’t come much bigger, bolder or more muscular than this. It’s the Dodge Ram “Long-Hauler” Concept truck - and everything about it is Super-sized.

Chrysler says it’s designed to suit the needs of anybody that tows multiple or heavy trailers, drives long distances or small business owners looking for a “work horse” at the job site, and will be displaying it at truck gatherings, rodeos and agricultural shows across the US over the next eight months to “gauge public opinion” for a possible production run.

They started with a Ram 5500 double-cab, stretched the wheelbase to more than five metres (that’s longer than an Mercedes-Benz E-Class from bumper to bumper!), extended the cabin so that even Texans in Stetsons and two-inch heels can stretch out in the rear seats, added a 2.44m load box with a built-in fifth wheel for heavy-duty towing and upped the range between refueling stops with a mid-mounted fuel tank. Combined with a second frame-mounted tank and a third, optional, bed-mounted auxiliary tank, total fuel capacity is 640 litres!

This monster is 7.3m long, two metres high and weighs about 4200kg empty. Theoretical maximum gross vehicle weight is 17 000kg (that’s right, Cyril, seventeen tons) but there’s some doubt as to whether six 19’5” truck tyres (the rear axle has double wheels, a signature Ram feature) could cope with that much weight.

The powertrain is just as OTT: motivation is provided by an inline, six-cylinder, 6.7-litre Cummins turbodiesel engine rated at 1087Nm, driving through a six-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel-drive transfer case. It rides on self-levelling air suspension all round (with a kneel feature so you can get in wouth using mounting blocks!) and 19.5” Alcoa aluminium rims.

The gloss black finish is accented by white gold metallic trim, including body side moldings and wide wheel flares front and rear. A bull bar extends across the entire front and the spare wheel is slung under the load box. A separate back-up camera provides a full view of the bed to make hitching up easier and a special tailgate allows easy hook-ups opening or remove the entire tailgate.

The cabin has four individual leather-trimmed and saddle-stitched seats; rear passengers get power-adjustable footrests and a centre console with a refrigerator, cup holders and tray tables.

In-cabin power includes 115V and 12V outlets front and rear and the cabin has permanent Wi-Fi so passengers can work online during long drives. There’s also a DVD player with overhead screen for rear-seat passengers, a laptop storage area, an inductive charger (just park any gizmo with a rechargeable battery on the shelf and it’ll charge up without being connected), a tyre pressure monitoring system, rear axle temperature gauge and exhaust gas temperature and boost gauges.

The rear seats and console also fold flat for additional storage or as a double bed.

Dodge’s Ram Truck division says it has identified a potential market for the Long Hauler, including racing teams, ranchers, rodeo competitors, powerboat racers and adventure expedition outfits. Just remember, you’ll need a truck licence to drive it.

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