Trucks, like cars and SUVs, are going electric. At the compact end off the scale Ford’s hybrid unibody Maverick has proved so hot that Ford had to close orders early for the year, while in the big truck segment, it’s all about full EVs like the Rivian R1T, the Ford F-150 Lightning, and its upcoming zero emissions Ram rival.
But go back 20 years and trucks were making headlines by making huge amounts of old fashioned ICE horsepower. Ford’s Lightning truck of that era wasn’t a whale-conscious EV but a tire-smoking factory hot rod with supercharged V8 from Ford’s SVT skunkworks, and its opposite number from Ram packed a Viper’s V10 under its garden shed-sized front end.
The muscle trucks briefly crossed paths when new, the Lightning ending its five-year production run in 2004 just as the SRT-10 was starting its brief three-year stint in Chrysler showrooms. But by chance, an example of each is currently up for grabs on the Bring-a-Trailer auction site, the listings close within two minutes of each other on Tuesday night, and both are sitting above $20,000 with two days to go. So which would you bid on?
If it’s sheer brute force you’re after, you’ll probably want to side with the SRT-10. The Viper-derived 8.3-liter naturally aspirated V10 behind that enormous grille belts out 500 hp (507 PS) and a stout 525 lb-ft (712 Nm) of torque, plus you get maximum control of how it’s applied to the ground thanks to the six-speed manual transmission.
The Lightning probably feels a little thunderstruck hearing those numbers. Early cars made 360 hp (365 PS) and 440 lb-ft (597 Nm), but by the time the truck offered here was built that had been bolstered to 380 hp (385 PS) and 450 lb-ft (610 Nm), in both cases sent to the wheels via a four-speed automatic. Those stats suggest the SRT should smoke the SVT in a straight line, but contemporary tests showed that they weren’t that far apart: Car & Driver scored 4.9 seconds to 60 mph (96 km/h) in the Ram and 5.2 seconds in the 380-horse version of the Ford.
Both trucks have received a handful of light upgrades over the years, each gaining a performance exhaust, while the SVT rides on Hotchkis suspension parts. The SVT also shows 80k miles, whereas the SRT has done 95k miles, but perhaps bidders will appreciate the Ram’s rarity. Chrysler built just 10,046 over a three-year run, whereas Ford built almost three times as many Lightnings. With five days left to go the SRT-10 (listing here) had been bid up to $15,000, while the SVT Lightning (listing here) was sitting at $18,888.
Which of these throbbing red monsters would get your money and why? Leave a comment and let us know.