In addition to the ground-pounding Mopar Ram Power Wagon that will debut at this year's Easter Jeep Safari in Moab, Utah, sources tell PickupTrucks.com that another truck is planned: a secret long travel suspension version of the Ram 1500 half-ton.
We're told that Chrysler has teamed up with veteran Baja racer Kent Kroeker to build the truck. It's described as more than a project truck but not production intent. Call it a serious research effort.
Kroeker is a Baja legend. In 2004, he built and raced a 2003 Dodge Ram 2500 4x4 in the SCORE "Stock Full" class to a top three finish in the Baja 1000 and drove the same truck home the next day. Since then, Kroeker has built his company, KORE, into a well-known provider of aftermarket lift kits and suspensions for Dodge trucks. If anyone knows the ins and outs of building a race-ready Ram for the desert, it’s Kroeker.
What can we expect with the Hemi-powered project Ram? Many will automatically compare it to the Ford F-150 SVT Raptor but it will have a few significant differences.
The Ram 1500's unique four-link coil-spring rear suspension, instead of leaf springs, should help give the truck extra stability off-road. We may also see more rear suspension travel in the Ram than the Raptor. Wheel travel is your friend for high-speed trail running. It will be interesting to see the changes planned for the light-duty Ram's independent front suspension. We're also wondering if the truck will use Fox or Bilstein shocks - Kroeker has worked with both damper suppliers.
How does this half-ton effort differ from the Power Wagon? The Power Wagon is a heavy-duty three-quarter-ton rock crawler built for maximum traction and articulation using front and rear solid axles. The Mopar Ram 1500 will emphasize suspension travel that responds quickly at high speeds to soak up brutal ruts and washboards and can keep cool mile after mile.
Will the end result in Moab reach production or become a bolt-on set of Mopar-certified parts? We don't know, but we'll be paying very close attention in a few weeks when we see it unveiled and running fast through the Utah outback.