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Aqua Blur SSR Pit Crew
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This was on AOL home page today!! Puts our SSR's right up there with tons of good stuff to say!! Thought you might be interested. Jim O :thumbs :thumbs :thumbs :thumbs :thumbs :thumbs :thumbs

Manliest and Mightiest Trucks of 2005 By Eric Peters
Dodge Ram is one manly truck.Who makes the biggest, baddest flat-out meanest pickup you can buy? There are many contenders for the title -- and all of them pack a punch even Mike Tyson would fear. Check 'em out!

GMC Sierra 2500 HD (MSRP $30,130):
If size matters, you'll love the GMC 2500 HD crew cab pickup -- especially when it's got 8.1 liters of big block Chevy V-8 under the hood. Dodge and Ford can match that mighty displacement -- but only with another pair of cylinders (you'd have to order the optional V-10s in these trucks to equal the size of the 8.1 V-8). And there's nothing from Japan that comes close -- at least not when it comes to pistons the size of Maxwell House coffee cans thumping up and down in bores big enough to swallow up an entire Honda Civic. The GMC's 8.1 liter engine is pretty much the largest gas V-8 available in a full-size pickup --now or ever. The 8.1 "Vortec" V-8 displaces over 500 cubic inches and is a torque-monster -- with 450-lbs.-ft of net twist rolling off its crankshaft. Like a sumo wrestler charging a door, the 2500 HD can tow up to 12,000 lbs. when equipped with the titanic V-8 -- almost 2,000 lbs. more than the standard truck's puny-by-comparison 10,600 lb. max rating.

The Vortec 8.1 can be ordered with a heavy-truck Allison 1000 five-speed automatic that features helical-cut planetary gears for quiet operation and a torque converter clutch that engages in second, third and fourth gears -- not just fifth -- to virtually eliminate slippage and thus reduce the build up of heat as well as improve fuel economy.

If you lust for a truck that can lay rubber the length of an NFL football field, this one's the one you're gonna want.

Dodge Ram 2500 Power Wagon ($36,660):
This 4x4 ride of the Valkyries will plant you back in the seat with its 345-hp Hemi V-8 at full brawl -- and plant competitors into the ground, where they dare not rise again. Dodge designed the Power Wagon to be the ultimate dirt-scrabbling, mud-bog hurdling full-size pickup on the market. Among the severe-duty off-road equipment fitted to this behemoth: electric locking automatic front and rear differentials, a class-excusive electronic disconnecting sway bar, 12,000 lb. power winch, huge 33-inch BF Goodrich All-Terrain tires riding on 17-inch alloy rims, tubular steel three-inch-thick rock rails -- and full underbody protection with skidplates.

The truck looms large in the rearview mirror of lesser vehicles with an enormous chrome grille and towering stance -- fully 80.6 inches off the ground at the roofline. Buyers can choose either regular cab long box or Quad Cab short box body styles; the mighty 5.7 liter Hemi V-8 delivers its brute force to the pavement via a six-speed manual gearbox or a five-speed automatic. And you'll never got lost with the available GPS navigation system and UConnect hands-free cell phone communication system.

Nissan Frontier NISMO (MSRP $28,530):
It not only looks like a three-quarter sized Titan, it backs up the visual menace with brass knuckles under the hood -- the most powerful V-6 engine you can get in a mid-sized pickup, period. Based on the excellent 3.5 liter V-6 that's used in the Maxima and Altima sports sedans, the 4-liter, 265-hp V-6 boasts continuously variable valve timing (C-VTC) and variable induction control (NICS) to boost low end torque (284 lbs.-ft.) as well as top-end horsepower. It has the easy power off-idle and through the range that is the calling card of a large-displacement engine -- and which last year's smaller supercharged V-6 (210-hp) couldn't deliver -- even if it did sound cool when the blower spooled up the boost.

The Frontier's closest rival -- the 245-hp Toyota Tacoma -- comes up 20-hp short. The rest aren't even close. The burly Nissan absolutely kills the Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon, as well as the six cylinder Dodge Dakota. You'll need a V-8 (or a full-size pickup) to outgun the V-6 Frontier. This engine is also available with a six-speed manual transmission and either 2WD or 4WD -- with an electronically controlled, shift-on-the-fly transfer case. Properly equipped, it will tow more than 5,500 lbs. -- and like its big brother the Titan, it has a sprayed-in bedliner and highly useful configurable "Utili-track" tie-down system -- with optionally available bed dividers, sliding cargo trays, even bike racks.

Toyota Tacoma X-Runner ($23,675):
Dodge pretty much created the muscle truck back in 1978 with the Lil' Red Express -- and developed the concept through the years with models such as the Dakota R/T and Ram 1500 SRT-10. But the sport truck has been more a Japanese thing. Toyota's latest effort is the 2005 Tacoma X-Runner -- a lightning-quick middleweight that dances on the balls of its heels, coming in for a just-right rabbit punch -- where a traditional muscle truck lumbers heavily into the ring, meat-cleavers at the ready for an overpowering death blow. Instead of a gargantuan V-8, it relies on a 4-liter V-6. But don't be fooled by the displacement. This engine is ready for the Golden Gloves with a 245-hp jab -- which for those who recall is not only 25-hp more than the old Lil' Red Express's much larger 360 cube V-8 (220-hp) it's also got more power than the 4.6 liter V-8 used in the full-size Ford F-150 (231-hp) and the 4.7 liter V-8 used in the also full-sizeDodge Ram 1500 (230-hp).

Toyota also heavily modifes the chassis for handling, first dropping the X-Runner's suspension a full inch relative to regular Tacomas, then adds extra frame bracing (hence the "X" in X-Runner), Bilstein gas shocks (positioned outboard of the frame rails for improved stability) meaty front and rear stabilizer bars, firmer and shorter coil springs (for decreased suspension travel during aggressive driving), revised steering gear and steamroller 55-series Bridgestone Potenza high-performance tires on 18-inch rims.

The result of these mods is a pickup that corners as flat as the flight deck on a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier -- with almost no lean, even at the point when the tires begin to slip. The X-Runner can hold almost 1 full "g" of lateral acceleration on a skidpad -- and will stick like a Kerry-Edwards bumper sticker to to the tail end of many a city-boy sports car half as big.

2005 Chevy SSR (MSRP $43,180):
It's a little weird that the best muscle car you can buy happens to be a truck -- but there's just no getting around it: Chevy's 390-hp SSR "super Sport" retractable hardtop pickup is closest in configuration (beefy full-frame chassis, huge 6-liter V-8 engine, rear wheel drive) road feel (heavy; brutally powerful) and sheer outrageousness to a '60s-era big-block mauler of any new vehicle available today.

That's not how Chevy markets the '40s-themed, retro-styled SSR, of course -- but take a turn behind the wheel and see for yourself. Under the hood lies a blunderbuss of an engine, massive and gleefully overpowered -- with nearly 400 easy horsepower on tap and so much torque (405-lbs.-ft.) that heroic power slides from the curb and tire-barking 1-2 upshifts as you screech out of the Mickey Dee's parking lot are as easy as stomping on the gas pedal. Even with humungous 20-inch rear wheels and 40-Series Goodyear tires -- eons removed from an original muscle car's tenuous F60 bias-plys on 14-inch steelies -- it's still a simple matter of putting your left foot on the brake for just a moment while simultaneously standing on the accelerator and holding the engine against the converter, letting the revs build. In a moment, the huge V-8 overpowers the brakes, the tires break loose -- and off you go in an eye-watering haze of blue-white smoke and smoldering rubber.

The '05 SSR is capable of sizzling 5.4 second 0-60 times -- impressive by any standard but even more so when you reflect on the Pro Bowl linesman 5,000-lb. curb weight of this vehicle. It's roughly 1,500-lbs. heavier than a new Corvette yet it's still quicker than just about anything short of one. It will stay hard on the bumper of a Neon SRT-4 -- and is only 3-4 tenths of a second behind an '05 Mustang GT!

Nissan Titan (MSRP $23,470):
If bigness, badness -- and bang for the buck -- are the three things you want in your next full-size truck, there's really only one player to consider -- the very aptly named Nissan Titan. It's not merely the first truly full-size Japanese pickup -- the equal (or better) in terms of exterior/interior dimensions, capability and capacity of Ford's F-150, the Chevy Silverado and the Dodge Ram 1500 -- it's also the only full-size pickup on the market that comes standard with an engine mightier than most of its competitors' optional engines.

The Titan's 5.6 liter "Endurance" V-8 is second only to the Ram 1500's 5.7 liter, 345-hp Hemi in terms of absolute power. But you don't get the Hemi without paying for it. The Ram's standard engine is a measly little 3.7 liter, 215-hp V-6 -- and the step-up from there is still just a so-so 245-hp 4.7 liter V-8 that is totally outclassed by the Titan's powerplant. By the time you fit the Hemi to the 1500, you're way beyond the $22,400 MSRP of the base model Titan XE -- which already has the 305-hp engine, an extended cab body, AC, cruise control, four-wheel disc brakes with ABS (and Electronic Brakeforce Distribution), tire pressure monitoring system and a not-bad CD-playing stereo. Remember -- that's the base model Titan. No extra charge for any of this stuff. The standard model Ram 1500, meanwhile, costs only $2,500 less -- and doesn't even have a V-8. And the base model V-8 -- the $23,055 SLT 2WD with the 4.7 liter V-8 -- is already about $600 more than the base Titan XE before even thinking about ordering the extra-cost Hemi engine.

Other really impressive Titan features include an available factory-applied sprayed-in bed-liner (the industry's first) and an adjustable tie-down/load rack system that makes it a snap to cart almost anything, anywhere -- just like in the commercials. There are two tracks in the bed and two on the sides; in each you'll find heavy-duty tie-down fittings that slide back and forth and lock into place wherever you need them to be. This is a million times better than bunjee cords hooked into wherever you can find a hole -- a ******* ritual familiar to truck owners everywhere. If you order four-wheel-drive, you'll get another nice surprise, too -- an ultra low geared 4x4 Low range to pull the Titan out of even the deepest mudholes. With almost 400-lbs.-ft. of torque on hand, you'll soon become fearless; the Titan is capable of bullying its way through, over or around almost anything. Try it and see. This truck is "The Fridge" of pickups -- especially if you add the optional Rancho off-road shocks, skid plates and absolutely huge BFG All-Terrain tires that come with the optional Off-Road package.

Roush F-150 Tejon (MSRP: Est. $35,000):
If you want a full-size pickup that hauls something more than sheets of plywood, you'll want to know about the Roush F-150 Tejon -- aka, the "Big Texan." It's the 4x4 version of a Roush-modifed Mustang GT -- only bigger and meaner.

The F-150 Tejon, for instance, comes in three basic configurations -- the standard Tejon, Stage 1 and Stage 2. The Tejon begins with a stock F-150 (any bed or cab style) and adds a 20-inch chrome wheel/tire package, threatening-looking hood scoop, rumbly dual exhaust (worth 10-hp over stock, according to Roush) and high-visibility "Tejon" bed graphics. Billet gas and brake pedals, a modified instrument panel gauge cluster and special "signature series" Roush performance sport buckets are among the available add-ons.

Stage 1 takes the Tejon to the next level -- with a lowered, performance-tuned suspension package (in addition to the 20-inch rims that come on the Tejon) and an "in the weeds" body kit with revised front clip (painted body color), including recessed driving lights and chin spoiler. The truck is lowered 2-inches in the front and 3-inches in the rear -- which with the suspension mods and the aggressive wheel/tire package produce lateral acceleration capability as high as .89 gs -- not far off what a Corvette can deliver -- and absolutely kicking for a full-size truck.

Not enough? There's always Stage 2 -- designed for "extreme street appeal and optimum performance." Everything included with the Stage 1 package is part of the deal -- plus road-racy fender flares, dual side-mount exhaust -- and an available supercharger option to push the power output of the F-150's 5.4 liter V-8 beyond 400-hp.

Now that Ford has announced it will no longer produce the brutally powerful F-150 Lightning, Ford fans can turn to Roush to get their fix -- and then some!
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