From BMW’s M3 ute to the Dodge Ram SRT-10, here are Earth's maddest trucks
The Honda Civic Type R pickup is pretty much the gift we never knew we always wanted. And that got us thinking: where does it sit in the pantheon of perfectly potty pickups? And how much alliteration is too much?
So here, in a neither exhaustive nor comprehensive list, are 12 of the lairiest pick-ups ever built.
A few years back, BMW sent out an amusing April’s Fool press release. The joke? That the kerrazy Germans had produced a V8-powered M3 Ute. A pick-up truck… from an M3!
Well, introduce some sunny-side-up eggs to our face; it turns out that BMW actually built an M3 ute. For real. One actually exists. Inquisitive, we dispatched an Australian to the Nürburgring to go flat out in it.
Yes, it’s exactly what you think it is – a bunch of essentially insane Australians, punting around a race track in something designed to tackle a goat track. And don’t think for a second that there are lovely V8 Maloos and straight-six Typhoons duking it out at the front – neither Ford nor Holden make a proper Australian car-based ute any more. So, we’re talking about four-door pick-up trucks like the Toyota Hilux and its ilk, imbued with 340bhp diesel engines and converted to rear-wheel drive.
Some among you might question the logic (or the sanity) of giving an 1,800kg, ladder-framed pick-up nearly 350bhp and sending it out on a circuit to try and put in something resembling a decent lap time. And we’d have to agree with you. Even though there’s a fair bit of bracing going on underneath to ensure the wobbly ladder frame has even a hope of being driven in anger, believe us when we say that these things, driven at top whack on a dry circuit, redefine tyre squeal.
The VelociRaptor is all kinds of excellent. Bright yellow, big, bad, brash and immensely powerful.
This could very well be your perfect next car, if top of your list of requirements from your next car is ‘survive zombie apocalypse’.
Bow your head for the dearly departed Maloo and its supercharged 6.2-litre V8, which was essentially shared with the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, tuned to produce a prodigious 528bhp, and a mighty 675Nm of torque to go with it.
The result was a 4.6sec sprint to 100km/h, helped along by a launch control system.
Why? Why did you have to go and leave us?
Do you think that top-tier track racing makes for pretty dull TV these days? You’re not alone; not by a long shot. The exceptional mechanical grip and downforce add up to truly heroic speeds and g forces, but there’s nothing there to really indicate just how grievous the assault on physics really is. Everything is so locked down and squared away that the cars don’t pitch, squirm or lean in anything approaching a visually appealing spectacle unless something is about to go catastrophically wrong. Which leaves Martin Brundle with nothing to talk about except for tyre compounds.
Well, consider Stadium Super Trucks a perfect antithesis. Regardless of what’s going on with these massive, 600bhp-V8-powered bruisers, you’ll be able to see it on even the poxiest screen. Thanks to the long-travel shocks and springs needed to survive the jumps (oh yes, there are compulsory jumps set up on the circuit – take that, F1), these things pitch and wallow and demonstrate exactly what’s going on. Compared to modern circuit racing, it does all look a bit clown shoes, these huge lumbering things diving and flopping and rolling all over the place, but you have to admit that it’s much more of a spectacle.
And if on-road racing isn’t up your… er, street, can we suggest a sojourn up a Mexican mountain?
The most astonishing G-Class also happens to be the most bonkers one: yep, it’s the monster 6x6 AMG.
That’s right, six wheels, all driven by AMG’s lovely twin-turbo, 5.5-litre V8, here producing 540bhp and 561lb ft, meaning this near four-tonne monster will hit 100km/h in seven seconds, and run on to a 160km/h top speed.
But it’s not speed, it’s off-roadability. The mega-G will wade through 1m of water as well as offering 460mm of ground clearance, tyre pressures controllable from the cabin and enough traction to turn the world upside down.
Whatever you think you can throw at it, this’ll handle more. Oh, and if that’s not nearly unsubtle enough, Brabus has also built one… and we drove it.
Unless you’re Australian (and a hearty g’day to you, you bonza apples) or a hard-core ute-spotter, you might not be familiar with this particular gem. And before you skip past to the next slide, we should let you know that its real name is the TYPHOON. Go on, find us a more apt, and awesome, name for this 420bhp turbocharged beast.
Because it’s Australian, we should start with the most important part: the engine. It’s a 4.0-litre straight-six, turbocharged for the right reasons – more power. So there’s a great slog of regular torque down low, thanks to the large engine, then the turbo girds its loins and before you know it, the middle distance is suddenly exceptionally close.
And, being the charitable sorts they are, FPV (or Ford Performance Vehicles) decided that even those who needed to carry loads should be able to experience this whooshing assaults on the horizon.
If you’re familiar with the Lexus ISF, you’ll remember that its finest feature was its bellowing 5.0-litre V8. We’re assuming that you’re familiar with the Toyota Hilux. And also that you see where we’re going with this one. Or rather, where Toyota South Africa went, building a one-off, 450bhp V8 Hilux “to celebrate selling one million Hiluxes in South Africa.” It’s one hell of a way to pat yourself on the back, that’s for sure.
Seems Dodge missed the worldwide memo on fitting fast pick-up trucks with V8s, the American manufacturer deeming it prudent to whack a socking great 8.3-litre V10 into its Ram SRT-10. Welcome to the End Of The World.
The Ram, created back in 2004, borrowed its V10 from the Viper, here producing 500bhp and 712Nm of torque, good enough to hit 60mph in less than five seconds, and on to a top speed of, well, a lot.
In February 2004, NASCAR driver Brendan Gaughan set a Guinness World Record for the world’s fastest production pick-up, taking a standard SRT-10 (if you can call it ‘standard’), and maxing it to a 248.783km/h average. Yes, it’s been thoroughly beaten by the Australians but it’s still plenty brisk in a Yank tank of the highest order.
Poor spelling, mad car. This square-jawed chunk of early Nineties American muscle was the world’s fastest production truck back in its heyday, and is still capable of embarrassing some serious sports cars. In a straight line at least.
The GMC Syclone featured a 4.3-litre V6 bolstered by a turbo, with a resulting 280bhp. Not much by modern standards, but with all-wheel-drive and much witchcraft, the Syclone still managed to get from 0-100km/h in a reported 4.3 seconds and run the quarter-mile in 13.6 seconds. That’s… lairy.
The best thing about it though? It’d only come in black. We’ll take three, if anyone’s got a few lying around…
Who likes headline figures? You? OK, how about 1,000bhp at 8,500rpm, delivered from a supercharged 6.2-litre Chevy V8?
Yes, it’s an insane amount of power to put into what is essentially a commercial vehicle, but let’s remember that the Holden ute is car-based, and therefore benefits from a proper unitary construction and actual rear suspension that isn’t based on cart springs. To introduce some lunacy back into the mix, however, there’s the small matter that every body panel is hand-made from carbon fibre, lightweight suspension and driveshaft. And it is very good.
If, for some reason, this doesn’t tickle your fancy, this drift Hilux might be more your speed…
We have a seriously unhealthy level of desire for this truck. How unhealthy, you ask? Well, think Lolita. Yeah. That unhealthy.
It’s from restomodding maestro Jonathan Ward, whose other creations include the exceptionally excellent Icon Bronco, the lovely custom Defender and this behemoth, and is based on the 1950 Chevrolet half-ton pickup truck.
From there, however, the 1950s end rather abruptly. The 6.2-litre Chevy V8 is California-approved for emissions and still pumps out 430bhp and 575Nm, which should be tantamount to suicide in a 1950s American work truck. However, custom independent front suspension, a four-link solid-beam set-up in the back and all-round disc brakes mean that your first drive isn’t necessarily your last.
Still hankering for more utes? Well, you’ll have to step back in time… and 10,000 miles overseas.