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Full size pickup trucks are primarily American phenomena. And heavy duty, ¾- and 1-ton pickups are pure Americana. The best-selling vehicles for all three American car manufacturers are their full size pickup trucks. We love Mopar’s new Challengers, Chargers, 300s and Darts. But the big seller and profit center for Chrysler is the RAM brand’s trucks. One of the smarter things that the new Fiat management did when they acquired Chrysler was to spin RAM off as its own brand. Prior management to some degree siphoned off profits from RAM sales to support other lines and products. But once turned loose, RAM wisely invested its newly kept profit in serious research and development that has led to what is clearly the best pickup truck ever made.
We took delivery of our 2014 RAM 3500 Cummins Laramie crew cab long bed dually (whew, that’s a mouthful) in June of this year. We had waited for six months to get a truck with the announced and heavily promoted air-adjustable rear suspension. After many months of waiting, many promised and missed delivery dates our dealer informed us that RAM had canceled the air suspension option for model year 2014. No manufacturer has ever offered a factory air suspension of any kind on heavy duty pickup trucks and our sources tell us that real world testing had convinced RAM that a design change was in the best interest of future owners. The reality of making a design change on something as revolutionary as the first ever heavy duty truck air suspension is a time consuming undertaking. Engineering has to make design changes, parts suppliers have to make new parts and test them, and then the manufacturer has to put those new parts into test mule trucks and do extensive durability testing. While disappointed that we couldn’t get the new suspension on our truck, we were happy to take delivery in early July of our Blue Streak Pearl truck.
As per the sidebar for the naming contest, our new project “Hardworking Hauler” RAM truck immediately got put through her paces. In the first 12 weeks we had the truck we put over 15,000 miles on her, most of them towing up to 15,000 pounds worth of trailer. In those three months we traveled through 15 of the 50 states (many of them two and even four times), and literally went from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic; from the Rocky Mountains to the border of Mexico. The following review is therefore based on virtually living in this truck for weeks in a row on the road.
The core of a 2014 RAM heavy duty pickup truck. Two hydroformed frame rails, eight crossmembers and upgraded front and rear suspension.
Let’s start with the exterior, appearances are important—cars and trucks are for a great part emotional purchases and most buyers want to feel good about driving their vehicle. In our opinion, RAM has knocked it out of the park in the design department. Flowing from the big rig-esque front end, with its clearly delineated hood and front fenders to its sensuous, curving rear dual wheel fenders, there isn’t a miscue anywhere in its lines. Layer on the deep, rich Blue Streak Pearl paint and we can tell you that we received compliments on the truck’s looks everywhere we went in America.
Those great looks are backed up with what’s really important in a heavy duty truck, seriously tough working competence. Our truck is not going to be a garage or dyno queen, she’s going to work hard, really hard, just about every day of her life. The Team MoparMax race trailer is a 40’ gooseneck that is ten feet tall and weighs in at 15,000 pounds when loaded up with the Maulin’ Magnum drag race car, tools, spare parts, our vendor booth, product, and with all of the water and generator fuel tanks topped off. And living in the southwest there’s almost nowhere we travel that doesn’t involve mountains and steep grades.