Sources: Mopar Plans Surprise Long Travel Ram 1500 for Easter Jeep Safari

Desert-ram-560

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.

Comments

Vehicles with good fuel economy and reliability are critical to a manufacturer's future success. Traditionally pickups have been the big money makers for the Detroit 3. Look at how pickup sales have dropped, and look at how long people are keeping pickups. When fuel prices climb again we will see further hits to the pickup side of the industry. I am surprised by the lack of R&D put into smaller trucks. When (not if) fuel prices climb again we will see the auto industry in trouble again. There should be proactive not retroactive pickup development when it comes to compact trucks. Australia has had high fuel prices for decades and full size trucks are almost non-existant.
No doubt that Chrysler will release new econoboxes, and midsize cars with help from Fiat. Dodge cannot afford further drops in truck sales. 22% drop in sales for the last few months has to hurt bad. Some exciting concept rigs may generate the needed excitement. I think that Dodge's PR department should be fired. Look at the "I Am Ram" fiasco. Dodge Ram needs to push exciting products and "bread and butter" products with the message that they get the job done.

Dodge building a long travel Ram? - it seems that any one leaving the car lot is a long travel;)

No doubt refreshed in not redesigned. But as a person who has read Chryslers 5 year plan, and listened to the new CEO talk about the newly refreshed projects. The newly refreshed products, while receiving exterior changes and major interior upgrades, will have suspensions heavily re-tuned, not to mention new power trains . Also to help sales for the new vehicles, Chrysler will be adding a lot of features, which were once options, to base and midlevel models.

As for the redesigned vehicles. The new 300/Chargers are 100% Chrysler designed. The new Grand Cherokee is 100% Chrysler (Both of which are redesigned Mercedes platforms). Yes a lot the new mid size cars, midsize SUVs, and small cars, will on Fiat's C-Evo platform. But the chassis, of the C-Evo, is the only thing that is given to Chrysler. Chrysler will be designing all of the suspension, exterior, and interiors.

Yes, Chrysler has a big hill to climb. But, right now they are heading in the right direction and just need to start climbing.

I think Fiat will be good for Chrysler cars, but I don’t think they’ll be good for the Ram. Fiat quality is only OK. Everyone has heard the phrase that FIAT stands for Fix It Again Tony, a joke that was common back when Fiat sold low-quality cars in the USA in the 1970’s. According to one Consumer Reports author, the old Fiats “rotted away,” and “fell apart as you drove down the freeway”. The fact is Fiat’s quality and reliability is average at best, so there’s no reason to expect any big quality or reliability improvements for the Ram in the near future. Fiat is good at making fast sports cars. Ferrari. Maserati. But how will that translate to a truck? All the PR in the world isn't going to help the Ram if they don't have the truck to back it up. And the Mopar Long Travel Ram isn't it. Ram is who we thought they were, a niche truck. A niche truck for those who are brand loyalists, usually those who had a father who owned a Dodge are the last of the Dodge Ram diehards. They may pass this loyalty down to the younger generation. But the fact of the matter is Dodge came out with an all NEW model Ram and lost! 28% in sales last year, and they are already losing another 25% on top of that this year. Even if the Fiat Italian owned Ram does not improve in sales, we are hoping Fiat will build some better cars so they can pay back those bailout loans from the federal government. We are keeping our fingers crossed. No more bailouts. Thank you.

Lou D.

Ever heard of IVECO?

Raptor Killer? That's cute...haha. Time will tell.

Would be nice to see an American named company buld a truck in the U.S.A. that has off-road thoughts. No question, today, tough looking trucks are in. Street trucks are wagon wheels, today.

Hey Lou D Michael - I agree that Dodge pickups are niche trucks. The are also collectors items = small numbers made, and soon to be discontinued.

This truck has been built and its sitting in Kent's shop waiting to go to Moab. It looks great! And for those interested in the off-road capability, it will leave the Raptor in the dust.



The comments to this entry are closed.