The Top 10 Performance Pickups of All Time

Dodge 67 by David Stallings owner II                                     1967 Custom Sport Special with 383 provided by owner David Stallings

By Andrius Mikonis

Pickup trucks are not often associated with speed, but truckmakers have definitely produced some memorable pavement burners. So we've picked the top 10 performance trucks you can take to work or to the drag strip.

All of these trucks were available in a dealer showroom or at least could have been ordered in one. Only one is still on sale. Most of them were limited releases, but made a big splash when they arrived in showrooms and continue to have cult followings.

With the increasing popularity of pickups, it's surprising we don't see more models of this ilk today. With all the great high-performance technology going into autos right now we would sure welcome more new-truck efforts reminiscent of our picks.

Without further ado, here are our 10 favorite hot-rod trucks that haul more than cargo. Tell us what performance pickups are on your list or in your garage.


1. 2004-2006 Dodge Ram SRT10 (photo courtesy manufacturer)

Dodge Ram SRT10 II

While a V-10 engine in a work truck was not unheard of, Dodge created the ultimate performance pickup by adding the 505-cubic-inch, 500-horsepower V-10 straight out of the Viper. Initially offered only as a regular cab with a Hurst-shifted six-speed manual transmission, Pirelli tires on 22-inch rims and a lowered suspension with Bilstein shocks kept it planted. Zero-to-60 times in the 5-second range were enhanced by a 4.56:1 axle ratio, but aerodynamic enhancements helped the Ram SRT10 set a Guinness World Record for the fastest production pickup truck at 154.587 mph. For those who actually wanted to use it for work, a Quad Cab model followed with a heavy-duty automatic rated for towing 8,150 pounds.


2. 2010-2014 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor (photo courtesy manufacturer)

  2012 Raptor II

Though the rest of our selections are decidedly tarmac-purposed machines, the list would not be complete without the radical F-150 SVT Raptor. Powered today by a 6.2-liter V-8 with 411 hp and 434 pounds-feet of torque, this go-anywhere-as-fast-as-you-want off-road machine has 11.2 inches of wheel travel in the front and 12.1 inches in the rear. Maximum traction is delivered by an electronic locking rear differential complemented by a Torsen differential in the front. Unique bodywork necessitated by an almost 7-inch increase in track width over a standard F-150 gives the Raptor its distinctive look, complemented by meaty skid plates and decal packages geared for the extreme off-road crowd.


3. 1963-1966 Dodge D100/200 High Performance Package (photo courtesy Chrysler Museum)

1964_Dg_Custom_Sport_pickup_lft_frnt II

In the mid-1960s Dodge went for a sporty look with the Custom Sport Special, an appearance package that added racing stripes, chrome bumpers, buckets and a console to the pickup of their choice. That included the slant six or 318 V-8 engine, but a handful of buyers between 1963 and 1966 checked another box for the High Performance Package. The truck was then fitted with the 365-hp 426 Street Wedge engine complete with the same chrome engine accessories the 426 cars received. The original muscle truck received other go-fast modifications such as dual exhaust, an upgraded gauge cluster with a Sun tachometer and torque rods, a traction-bar-like arrangement sourced from Imperial. Reportedly, approximately 50 were produced; and maybe that's not surprising given the package raised the truck's price by nearly half.


4. 2007-2008 Saleen S331 Supercharged (photo courtesy Saleen)

Saleen_331_Front II

After the second-generation SVT Lightning faded into obscurity, famous Ford modifier Saleen picked up the pieces and created the S331 built on the foundation of the two-wheel-drive F-150 SuperCab. Saleen tweaked the base naturally aspirated 5.4-liter V-8 to 325 horses, but also offered its own supercharger for an upgraded model with 450 hp. Unmistakable with its unique body treatment and interior touches, the S331 sat on 23-inch wheels on a 2-inch-lowered Saleen-stiffened suspension. Best of all, not only did it represent a 70-hp increase over the also supercharged 5.4-liter second-gen Lightning, it retained a 9,500-pound towing capacity compared to 5,000 pounds for its SVT predecessor.


5. 1991 GMC Syclone (photo courtesy manufacturer)

GMC Syclone II

GMC engineers saw their Chevrolet cousins make a big truck go fast, so they made a small truck go faster. They succeeded in making the GMC Syclone the quickest production pickup truck of the time. Based on the compact Sonoma, the Syclone employed a turbocharged 4.3-liter V-6. A four-speed automatic transmission sent power to an all-wheel-drive system with a rearward bias. Available only in the obligatory 1990s fast-truck black, the Syclone struck a distinctive pose with its lower sport suspension. The Syclone was notably the first pickup truck with four-wheel anti-lock brakes. While production ended suddenly, a sister product with shared mechanicals, the GMC Typhoon SUV, continued on two more years.


6. 1993-1995 Ford F-150 Lightning (photo courtesy manufacturer)

1993 Ford F-150 Lightning pickup truck neg CN304007-287 II

With a 5.8-liter 351 Windsor V-8 borrowing parts from the Mustang Cobra, the Lightning captured the horsepower crown in the new pickup truck arms race of the 1990s. At 240 hp, it had 10 more horses than the 7.4-liter Chevrolet 454SS, which was about to step aside. Dual exhaust and a 4.10 axle ratio with limited slip helped the Lightning clock zero-to-60 in the 7-second range. Even though the Lightning name was reapplied to a more potent, supercharged truck in 1999, we chose the menacing original Lightning since it was the inspiration for the later version and a subsequent string of hot production and concept pickups from Ford's Special Vehicle Team.


7. 1990-1993 Chevrolet 454SS (photo courtesy manufacturer)

Chevy 454 SS II

During a time that looked like the sunset of V-8 performance, the 1990 Chevrolet 454SS reignited interest in high-performance pickups, and perhaps muscle cars in general. Two hundred and thirty horses from a huge V-8 sounds laughable now, but this was a lot in the dark days when big-blocks themselves faced extinction. Though subsequent years offered more power and colors, the 1990 premiere issue's only choice — the striking Onyx Black with red bucket seats and prominent 454SS decals on the bed sides — made the biggest impression on power-starved V-8 enthusiasts and sold the bulk of the four-year run.


8. 1989 Dodge Shelby Dakota (photo courtesy Chrysler Museum)

Redtruck_Crop_300 II

Looking at what seemed like a bleak future for rear-wheel-drive performance with a Mopar label (little did we know Viper development was about to start), Carroll Shelby must have seen the pickup as the last shot to make something memorable out of his licensing agreement with Dodge. After tweaking a series of front drivers, the legendary racer-turned-tuner took the relatively new midsize Dakota and shoehorned the venerable 318-cubic-inch small-block V-8 into its V-6 hole. Having to lose the fan to make it fit even boosted horsepower to 175. Still, it was the hottest performing truck of the day, if not for very long. Flashy stripes and numbered dash plaques make these quite the period piece.


9. 1968-1969 Chevrolet CST 10 396 (photo courtesy manufacturer archives)

69 CST 10 II

What would possess the Chevrolet truck team in 1968 to make available a big-block engine that originally debuted in the Corvette and Chevelle? It could have been the increasing popularity of recreational use and trailer towing, but limiting it to a two-wheel-drive half-ton configuration ruled it out for many campers. Choosing the optional Custom Sport Truck model gave buyers a two-tone vinyl interior with color-keyed carpet, extra badging, chrome bumpers and bright trim inside and out. At the height of the muscle-car era, the Chevrolet CST 10 with a 396 gave truck lovers a piece of the action.


10. 2005-2008 Toyota Tacoma X-Runner (photo courtesy manufacturer)

2005_Tacoma_X-Runner II

Think Toyota Racing Development's truck efforts and most will recall the off-road variety. An often-overlooked model tuned for pavement performance was the Tacoma X-Runner. Start with a longer, lower and wider truck. Longer and wider from next-generation model bloat and an extended cab, lower by an inch via special suspension with stiffer springs and anti-roll bars. The namesake rear X-brace added to platform rigidity. Add in its 18-inch 45-series tires, and the X-Runner reportedly pulled .90 Gs on the skid pad. A 4.0-liter V-6 gave it respectable truck acceleration, but essential equipment is a dealer-sourced TRD supercharger and optional TRD brake upgrade to haul it down.



"Though the rest of our selections are decidedly tarmac-purposed machines, the list would not be complete without the radical F-150 SVT Raptor."

Ummm... Why is the SVT Raptor even on this list? Sure the 6.2l is a powerful engine, however, if someone really had their Raptor setup for off-roading, they wouldn't even think of seeing how well it would perform on the street.

Hemi, Stop being an idiot. It's not a street performance list. It's performance pick-ups.

@Mark Williams

Really? You make a list like this and leave out the 78-79 Dodge Ram Little Red Express? Really? It was the fastest American produced vehicle when it was produced. It was crowned by many to be the first true muscle truck. Wow, shaking my head at you right now Mark.

@Hemi Monster

The SVT Raptor is still a performance pick up truck even though its high speed performance is suited for off road. If the was just a list of the best performance trucks on road then I would agree with you.

@ ALL1

Man, you beat me to it!

Where is the Silverado Super Sport?

What about the 1970-1971 Dodge Dude?

All1, Mark Williams did not create the list.

The author is Andrius Mikonis.

I would have put the Raptor at #1.

Don't forget Chevrolet Silverado Z71. The legend in off-roading.

Obviously it's a tough truck and I think that's what people are looking for but you know you can get tough wtih good looking and comfortable and you can take it through the woods which is kind of the total package. - Howie Long

The Dodge Boys were promised the fastest pickup, but soon wanted a refund!

$50,000 was a lot of cash in '04. No rebates on SRTs. Most expensive pickup, they did get!

Lightnings were faster with a 5 minute swap of the compressor pulley. In stock form, the lightnings were only down 75 lb/ft. But were also 500 lbs lighter...
And Lightnings were $12,000 less!

Of course they cried foul!

Supercharged power comes on sooner and stays longer. That's what the Dodge Boys didn't account for. Simple specs tell you everything.

I'm not sure they were ready for the SRT-10's 11 mpg either.

But it's mathematically impossible to hit 155 MPH with 4.56 gears.

This is just the sort of pickup my father would love. He would hot rod them out even further and never tow or haul anything.

RAM has done it again. The trophy case is filling up. Keep the awards coming!

1. 2004-2006 Dodge Ram


Second generation Dodge Dakota R/T

Yeah, this list is not what I would have chosen. I agree with some but:

--Raptor absolutely doesn't belong on this list
--The Lil' Red Truck is missing for sure
--While Saleen may be a "manufacturer" it doesn't belong
--supercharged Tundra
--I would choose the 5.9L Dakota over the one above
--some version of a hi-po El Camino

Where is the 2014 Power Wagon?

It's the most off-road capable truck on the market.

The list title should have read the "Fastest Amercian Performance Pickups of all Times".


I've had this debate one this site previously.

The current fastest production pickup globally (including the USA) is the HSV Maloo.

The latest ute out of GM Australia will be a GTS ute. It will be driven by a supercharged 6.2.

I'm waiting to see how that performs. It will be a damn site quicker than the Maloo.

Also, Ford has a Falcon pickup with a supercharged 5 litre Miami V8.

But, alas, the world is a small place.

@Big Al, the title does not say anything about them being the fastest. The Maloo and Pursuit utes are useless. They are just unbalanced sports cars. I would take the Ranger 3.2 I5 over one of those any day of the week.

@BAFO, This may be hard for you to grasp, but and is a site for US truck shoppers. It has nothing to do with Australia. Stop trolling and stay on topic. We don't really want to hear your opinions and thoughts of Australia, so please only comment about the specified topic in the blog post.

I agreed that there were omissions on this list like the "Little Red Express".

Saleen is an aftermarket truck and therefore shouldn't be on the list. . How about adding Foose and Roush to the list?

It isn't what you think that is considered.

In actual fact this article is misleading. The if you go to the Guinness Book of Records you will see that the Maloo is the vehicle listed as the worlds quickest production pickup.

The Dodge does get a mention, but that is history.

It seems to many dwell on history and not on the future.

All of these pickups in this article are fantastic. But, if the author of this article wants to have some credence, then maybe he should open the Guinness Book of Records to verify his story.

I write technical and engineering reports for a living, in essence this is what this is. Whenever you attempt to disseminate information as 'truthful' then it should be accurate.

But, it's written subjectively, which means it loses some of it's credibility.1104

Big Al, I never said it was about what I think. You are substituting the word "performance" for "fastest." The two words are related, but not synonymous, as performance can mean off-road too. The utes you mentioned have zero off-road performance. They really are useless for everything except for Summernats. And if you're just feeling like a proud Aussie and want Australia to be mentioned in every article, you should consider that both the Maloo and Pursuit utes have American powertrains and are built by American companies. I once read that if you attempt to disseminate information as "truthful," then it should be accurate.

Where does it state this is a 'merican' pickup site?

It's has only been some of you guys that have made mention of this.

The reality is my friend, pickups are a global vehicle and believe this or not a pickup boom is occurring not in the US but outside of the US right now.

I don't mind reading the articles on US pickups, but I would love to see this site expand to include more variety in the light commercial vehicle sector.

You remind me of the 'World Series' competitions. In what world? Just like pickups, the Guiness Books of records doesn't state or even give a handicap advantage to US pickups.

A pickup is a pickup, irrespective of where it's made. Look at how many Mexican pickups you get and yet you are going to tell me it's 'merican.

Get on you bike.

The '91 GMC Syclone with a 0-60 in 4.3sec, AWD, 280hp/350tq would SPANK the SRT10 in a road course and be on par with it on the 1/4 mile. And it was available 13 years before Dodge came out with the overprice SRT10. Stick that in your Glory hole RAM Fan.

Big Al, I'm sick of everything having to be about Australia vs. America. Obviously I like both countries, but you're making us look bad by trying to over-promote Australia in the comments of every single article. I can tell some of these other guys are getting sick of it too. We just want to come and enjoy this site without having to inflate somebody's ego. I'm not trolling, I am just being completely honest.

Raptor is not fast and not offroader.

I didn't start this. Then if you are sick of it don't respond with some half baked argument.

As I've mentioned if you actually read my comment I do think these trucks, all of them are fantastic.

But, I also pointed out an error in the authors story.

I mean what's the difference in the other debate in this article regarding what constitutes a performance vehicle.

There is no difference. My argument is very similar.

I do think it's not me that created this, US vs Australia.

It seems there are some who don't want to have knowledge of what occurs outside of the US.

Why? I do think they fear, or they have a misguided belief system.

The fact remains, the Maloo is the fasted production pickup according to the source that the author used.

The author is incorrect, simple.

America isn't the only place with high performance vehicles, or at times the best of them. This might be hard for some to swallow.

@Lou, Saleen is OEM.

Saleen is an automotive original equipment manufacturer (OEM) and is the last American small car manufacturer bearing OEM status. As an OEM automaker, Saleen is subject to the same federal regulations governing design and testing of their automotive products as larger vehicle manufacturers such as Ford, General Motors, Chrysler, and/or Toyota. As part of its manufacturing process, Saleen historically uses existing muscle car platforms such as the Ford Mustang as a component to produce a Saleen vehicle.

"you're making us look bad by trying to over-promote Australia in the comments of every single article."

@Alex, I agree. He tries too hard and overpromotes Australia in every article and turns it into US vs Australia.

It is true that is for US shoppers.

Yep, whatever floats your boat.

The reality is this. The US represents only 19% of global activity. That leaves 81% occurring outside of the US.

I do think this site could do better if it removed itself from it's reliance on a very limited theme, ie, pickups.

This narrow slice of the automotive world that is covered at PUTC is the very reason why we have such a limited breath of talent from the commenters.

Combine this with fanboi'ism and a lack of moderation you end up with PUTC as it is.

It isn't hard to work that one out.

Pickups aren't just US, they are global. I do think the sooner many of the fanboi's on this site realise this with the fact that not one manufacturer is better than the other would stop much of the bull$h!t.

Alex, who professes to be a shrink should realise the disruption his comments are causing, or maybe he does;)

Isn't that correct Alex?

He's feeding the debate. Nice work Alex.

Big Al, you were just lecturing me on trolling. I never professed to be a shrink, and I am not one. I did my undergrad in psychology, so I understand it, including when somebody like you is projecting. Nobody is forcing you to come here Big Al, so if you hate the fact that your one-man crusade is not winning you over any friends, then seriously, piss off! Really, go start your own multiple interest website. I'm sure it will be very popular.

You are the one who went on the attack.

I mentioned an error by the author. I will stand by my comment, as it can be verified.

I also mentioned that I do think they are all fantastic pickups.

Did you ask me which of the trucks I do like?

No. You started the US vs Australia debate with a few others.

Why did you not ask me which of the trucks in the article I like best. You didn't, you went in for the troll.

So, really pull your head in.

I do feel my comments are valid considering the direction of this discussion.

I do think you are attempting to generate an issue out of a none issue. Sort of the ways the boys from Ramistan operate.

So, sad but true Alex. You've done this in the past.

So who's got the fastest 0-60 now?

That would be the Chevy 6.2 with 460 ftlb on regular gas yielding 5.4 seconds.

But haven't seen such a challenge test.

Wow, left out the Dodge Little Red Express, 1979 GMC 'Street Coupe' 454, and the Comanche Eliminator.

@Big Al - chill out.

@Danny - then why not list Roush and Foose? They had their handiwork on Ford Mustangs and trucks.

The comments on this site appear to be more on the scale of a school yard fight. I do agree that the omission of the Dodge Little Red Wagon is a significant omission from this article. Doesn't Jay Leno own a Syclone? I would love to see Jay's entire collection of cars, trucks, and motorcycles. I have seen some of the internet clips of his collection. I would also think that some of the 454 El Caminos would be significant as well.

"You started it!" (Big Al)

What are you, five?

@Big Al from Oz Go back to sucking off kangaroos and hugging crocodiles(mostly you're grandma taking you're computer time away again). I'd say this site is more for more Americas/North America then other parts of the world, as they only give prices in US Dollars! 95% of the news on this site is trucks you can but in America/North America. The funny part is you talking about this site getting moderations, but the truth is you probably be one of the first to get kicked off the site, as you start 90% of the problems to being with.

America isn't the only place with high performance vehicles, or at times the best of them. This might be hard for some to swallow.

You are right about that.

We have a fast trucks with balcony, you have a fast truck with bathtub.

Article should have been "Best US Performance Pickups" 0-60 times and fastest speeds

Big Al is correct that if you look at the Guinness book of records "HSV, Holden’s official tuner, holds the Guinness World Record for the fastest production pickup. Its Maloo R8 – a two-door Commodore with a tray at the back – hit a top speed of 168.66 mph back in 2006, snatching the title from the Dodge Ram SRT-10 that clocked 154.59 mph in 2004."

Even if this discussion is confined to what was/is available in the USA, there are some trucks missing from the list.

Let's argue about the fastest, best, or nationality of trucks instead of having an intelligent discussion. I find all these trucks worth being on this list but I would add the Dodge Little Red Wagon and not because I am a Ram fan, but because of its significance. I would maybe add one of those yellow special Super Bee trucks. What would really top this list is if Ram made a Hellcat version of the Ram just like the Challenger and Charger--that would be a truck that would get everyone's attention.

@Jeff S - a Hellcat 1500. That would be a nasty ride.

how bout the little red express

silverado SS

Supercharged Tundra thats faster than the dodge?

Come on mark get with it........... less people in this country have even seen the stupid saleen truck.....

The 1991 or 1992 (first year Magnum 5.2 Dakota) was faster then a Shelby truck. The magnum heads made the difference.

The R/T 5.9 were faster yet.

Its an interesting list.

I would have thought some iteration of the Power Wagon would have made it somewhere on it. Somewhere around the 454SS's rating.

I agree with #s 1 and 2 and would even consider them interchangle to some degree as far as how cool and the level of performance both deliver.

I wouldnt have the Saleen F150 on there as thats aftermarket.

I would have also moved the Lightening and the Typhoon further up on the list and the 63-66 Dodge lower.

I thought the 07 to 13 4x2 short box regular cab Toyota tundra with full factory warrantied trd supercharged 5.7 liter I force v8 was the fastest factory truck of all time with 504 hp and 551 ftlbs of torque?

you tube ford ranger 5.0 vs dodge ram viper v 10 rams gets smoked. ford and dodge are the best

I get totally turned off by any articles that talk about trucks not available in America, and I'm sure many other readers do too. I will not click on an article about a truck that is not or will not be available here because I don't care. Why would I care about the "maloo"? This "maloo" is something most readers on this site have probably never seen, never heard of, and just don't care about. That is probably why it's not on this list. I also will not even read BAFO comments most of the time. He's totally out of touch with what Americans need and want out of their trucks and always seems to be arguing with somebody about it.

As for the performance pickups, the raptor is the only one I care for because it is the absolute best at what it is intended for and actually has a unique purpose. In my mind I think "why get one of these 2wd high-performance pickups when I could choose from a wide variety of CARS that are much faster, look better, handle better, more fuel efficient, and cost less?" I just think it's kind of dumb to take a truck, whose main purpose involves hauling stuff in the bed for work or play, and then sacrifice its effectiveness for completing that purpose (2wd, street tires/wheels, special paint that you don't want scratched, tonneau cover etc.) in order to make it better at something it will never do as well as something else that was built for that specific purpose (a sports car or muscle car).

I haven't stated that anyone is required to read information regarding other vehicles.

I don't force you to eat eggs for breakfast, do I?

The same way I don't necessarily read everything regarding Australian vehicles.

This site is about pickups and I have this discussion before. A pickup is a pickup and I don't even care if it's made in China or Argentina.

I don't find it odd that you don't want to learn about 'alien' views.

So, why your comment if you don't give a damn about what I write?

You do give a damn or you would not have made any statement. You and others' seem to have expended much energy commenting on something you don't care much about.

I'm right when I'm right.

The best lightning, 99-03 didn't make the list, but the 93-95 version did? Huh???

Ditch the Saleen, remove the original lightning and put the *real* one in (supercharger) and include the H-D version of that truck with it. Lil' Red Express and its variants *have* to be on this list! C'mon man!

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