While we have had a love affair with pickups for a few decades now, their purpose has changed over time. Back in the day, it was so that the farmers and tradesmen could do their jobs properly. It aided them and made their lives a lot easier. However, that changed over time. We became greedier and thought if we didn’t have a pickup, we were missing out on something. On the one hand, if you had a normal job and didn't really do much with your vehicle off the road, a pickup didn’t do much for you. And of course, if your everyday activities required a pickup, then you certainly used it well. Either way, there was a boom in the pickup market.
But much like with other things in life, there comes a point when the public wants a little more. The grass starts becoming greener on the other side. And that’s when the manufacturers go ahead and do special-edition pickup. It’s an attempt to bring something more, something new to the market. Sometimes these special editions arise out of the context of the environment. For instance, the early 2000s saw a decline in sports cars. The Camaro was discontinued, and the Mustang wasn’t powerful enough at 260 HP. Seeing the market’s need for power, Dodge, Chevy and Ford went ahead and produced sports pickups to appease the public. Other times it was the Olympics, NASCAR and other similar occasions.
So let’s check out 10 special-edition pickups from Ford and 10 from the rest of the world.
20 FORD SVT RAPTOR (FIRST GENERATION)
With the SVT Raptor introduced in 2010, Ford started offering some serious power. It was the second high-performance truck offered by Ford, and people were going bananas over it.
This truck was geared more toward being an off-road vehicle. Among the features it offered, there was the neat suspension system which came only with the Raptor.
Compared to the standard F-150, it had larger tires and wider front fenders, hood and pickup bed. A respectable 310 horses came from a 5.4L V8, although a 411-HP, 6.2L V8 did become available after a year.
19 F-150 Harley-Davidson EDITION
This was the solution for H-D (Harley-Davidson) bikers who wanted a pickup, but had the hardest time letting go of their motorbikes. While I might have exaggerated things above, it’s not unreasonable to state that those H-D fans who wanted a pickup, but couldn’t decide on one, were definitely lured by this.
It had a supercharged 5.4L V8, which produced a good number of horses and turning power. And then there was the option package that had some goodies made from legitimate biker stuff. If you check out the picture closely, you’ll notice it has a unique grille and some hints of sportiness.
18 F-150 NITE
Here’s another nice little truck from Ford. This was Ford’s first legitimate special-edition endeavor. It came in a black paint trim with multicolor accent stripe.
It seemed like Ford was uncertain as to what buyers wanted, or, it could be that Ford didn’t know how much and what to put, so it went ahead and put better suspension and nicer wheels. Initially, it was available in only the regular-cab, but after a year, the Nite was expanded to the all F-150 body and even the Bronco. The powertrain was a 5.0L V8, although a larger displacement was also possible with a 5.8L.
17 FORD F-150 FOOSE EDITION
This car was courtesy of Chip Foose, a TV star. Whatever his goal may have been, the result was astounding: A truck that produced a record-breaking power at 450 horses and 500 lb-ft of torque. It was the fastest half-ton production truck at that time, which is just impressive.
I was thinking that the Dodge Ram SRT10 would have beaten this car, but that had been discontinued by the time this bad boy came out. The body was low-slung and close to the ground, the wheels were big, and the power was immense and real. The exterior paint scheme was daunting too.
16 FORD F-150 NASCAR EDITION
Ford essentially signed a contract with NASCAR, becoming its official truck for a few years. And when that deal was done, Ford thought, why not give the public a little taste of something different, something better and also pocket a nice little change?
And so Ford made this NASCAR-edition truck. It was painted all black and had some NASCAR graphics to show off the association.
If rumors could be believed, this bad boy didn’t get the coveted 5.4L V8 as the supply for Ford’s standard trucks would have diminished (f150hub.com).
15 FORD F-150 SALEEN S331 SUPERCHARGED
While this isn’t a factory model, the Saleen 331 Supercharged was one beast of a truck. The supercharged 5.4L V8 gave a whopping 450 horses, which was just intense. It was available in only the extended cab-body in two-wheel drive. This deal was available thanks to Steve Saleen, the founder of Saleen Automotive, Inc. That guy was pretty interesting. He studied business in college and then got interested in cars after his father bought a Porsche. He started getting into cars, and started competing in races. Eventually, he combined his business background with the racing experience to create Saleen Automotive, Inc.!
14 FORD SVT LIGHTNING
While it was based on the F-150, the Lightning had substantial modifications to make it a special car. It had improved handling and also had significant mods to the suspension systems.
In the first iteration, power—240 horses—was produced by the 5.8L V8.
While the beast was a little slower in acceleration than the Ferrari-beating GMC Syclone, it was responsible and near-fully capable of carrying out its pickup duties. After a brief pause, Ford reintroduced these pickups, coming out with increased power and looking a tad bit sharper. It’s not difficult to see why everyone likes these trucks.
13 FORD TREMOR
Compared to the others on this Ford side of the list, this one wasn’t exactly built from the ground up thus it was a little less-thorough affair.
Ford went ahead and offered the highly appreciated EcoBoost 3.5L twin-turbo V6 in only the Tremor. And that EcoBoost was quite powerful. It offered 420 lb-ft of turning power and 365 of accelerating power (HP). It could do 0-60 in just 5.8 seconds.
Another aspect on the performance side was the electronic-locking differential. And then there were a couple of little “show” items here and there, which made the truck a little more handsome.
12 FORD F-150 TONKA
Here's another one of those toys from Ford. The yellow paint job looks handsome, especially with everything—the wheels, the door handles, front grille and some decors—contrasting in black. As you can see from the height, there’s a 6’’ suspension lift; it also has heavy-duty performance shocks. The interior looks nice too with some unique Tonka accents, although it’s not as brilliant as the exterior. While it didn’t have many engine mods, this probably appeals to our inner child the most.
11 FORD F-150 RAPTOR (CURRENT GENERATION)
And here we are with current Raptor. It’s much better, much sturdier and much, much more powerful. If you think this is the best vehicle out there, you’re absolutely right. It’s the truck of our time. However, and perhaps, unfortunately, Ford also knows that too, so it keeps raising the price of these things without providing anything more.
Ford has already raised the price twice this year (autoblog.com). And while each increase has been in only hundreds of dollars—so it’s not that much—it comes out to be significant overall, considering the already high price of the Raptor. Power output is 450 HP.
10 GMC SIERRA INDY 500
While GMC was dancing around in the Indy races, it actually got the chance to be official car for Indy in 1977. Just like Ford took advantage of its connection with NASCAR, GMC did with Indy. It built an Indy 500 Pace Truck edition, available in both 2WD and 4WD and fleetside and stepside. The exterior was all decorated with white and black paint, in addition to red pinstripes. However, there was nothing extraordinary about the engine under the hood, but considering the decade in which this truck was born, it’s likely it was equipped with a V8.
9 CHEVY SILVERADO INTIMIDATOR SS
This truck was meant to pay homage to the late Dale Earnhardt. Consequently, it was licensed under Dale Earnhardt Inc. in 2006, which is roughly the same year when tension was building high between Dale Jr. and the board members of his father’s company.
The truck had some minor changes to the exterior. There was a rear spoiler, “Intimidator SS” emblem, and it was available in only Black Onyx paint job. The interior could be had in either cloth or leather, but both options provided embroidered headrest. The engine wasn’t any better than what the standard SS provided: 345-HP, 6L Vortec V8.
8 GMC SIERRA GRANDE OLYMPIC EDITION
Back when the Summer Olympic was held in Canada in 1976, GMC Canada decided to celebrate right then and there (so these trucks were not available in the US). It was clad in red and white, which I think looks neat and a bit better than what we are usually dealt with. On top, everything else was chrome: grille, mirrors, and front bumper.
Only 630 of these were ever made.
The power output was 165 HP, courtesy of a V8. They look pretty solid, and 165 horses back then was pretty decent too. One neat thing to notice is the square gas door.
7 DODGE RAM 1500 HEMI GTX
This bad boy came out in 2004 for purposes of celebrating the golden Mopar years. The whole idea was the invention of Dodge, but the specific customizations took place at a third-party shop.
A total of about 900 of these were made in two years of the production run. It had 20-inch chrome wheels, blacked-out cowl hood and “honey stick” stripe on the sides.
There were some goodies inside the car too. The engine? None other than the very best 5.7L Magnum V8. The color scheme of these things was very Mopar like. It ranged from Hemi Orange, Banana Yellow and Sublime Green to the Plum Crazy Purple.
6 DODGE RAM ROD HALL SIGNATURE EDITION
Spending an entire adult life around four-wheel drives does something to your brain. It changes you, and you start thinking of the world in car terms. That’s a good thing, as one day if you keep up with that world doing something, you’ll be able to create something of your own. That’s what Rod Hall, the famous off-road racer, did.
While early attempts had been rejected by NHTSA over safety concerns, he took a gander again four years later in 1990 and made about 33 units of this bad boy. The picture speaks for itself. The powerplant was a 170-HP V8.
5 DODGE LI’L RED EXPRESS TRUCK
The Li’l Red Express pickup was an eye candy. It looks pretty dashing. Just check out the picture. I bet if those who are into rolling coal have this, don’t have to modify the exhaust system to do the silly task of blowing fume. It’s already placed vertically.
Anyway, this was meant to be a performance truck, and thanks to the loophole found in the system, Dodge managed to do with not having catalytic converters and achieved the fastest acceleration time of its time in a US-made vehicle.
4 DODGE DUDE
While the name might sound a bit odd nowadays, the truck would definitely be liked by all. This was essentially the standard D100 that Dodge was churning out back then, but had some added goodies.
It had some more stripes, different color scheme, differently styled hubcaps, etc. The tailgate was unique; instead of having the typical embossed logo, it had just a decal.
While the roof was available in a textured-paint option and matched the rest of the exterior color, Dodge managed to get people into believing it was a vinyl roof. It was equipped with a moderately powerful V8.
3 GMC SYCLONE
Of course this truck was going to be here. GM had started experimenting with turbos back in the ‘80s. One thing led to another and the turbo found a perfect body, the Buick Grand National. While Buicks were good at terrorizing drag strips and stop lights, they were gone by the ‘90s.
GM was looking to find another body to insert the turbos into. And that’s how the compact, sporty GMC Syclone came about.
The body was made of lightweight material, the tires were sports-focused, and you already know about the engine. So it wasn’t a surprise the car beat contemporary Ferraris.
2 DODGE RAM SRT-10
Talking about crazy trucks, here’s another one. It was one of the most powerful and fastest pickups in the history of pickups and the most powerful and fastest pickup in the history of Dodge. It’s a daunting truck and, when on the road, it’s even more aggressive.
And it should be, considering the beast is equipped with an 8.2L V10 (wow!) that produces over 500 horses.
The bad part was that the fuel economy was in the single digits, but I guess that wouldn’t be of a major concern if you were buying a 500-HP truck. It looks quite good, too.
1 CHEVROLET 454 SS
Jalopnik did a piece on this car a few months ago reminiscing how no carmaker has the guts to create something similar to the Chevy 454 SS. GM essentially put a 7.4L V8 into a 1500 chassis and created this legend. The exterior was not that flamboyant with black paint and a red logo.
However, there was no need to. That 7.4L V8 roared loudly enough to speak of the exterior too. This is quite in contrast with how some of today’s pickups behave, especially the special-edition ones, as they have a loud exterior. A solid truck—that’s what it is.
Sources: motor-junkie.com, autobytel.com