There are as probably as many definitions of "Sport Truck" as there are truck enthusiasts. Even a four-cylinder S-10 can be a proper Sport Truck if built the right way. But what I'm talking about here are OE offerings that raise the bar right out of the box. An elevated platform that saves you thousands of dollars and hours in upgrades by being pretty bad-@$$ right off the showroom floor.
Granted, you can go crazier still with trucks of this caliber. But where have they gone, and where are they going? Word on the street is it's getting close to the end of the line for the Ram SRT-10, even in Quad Cab, automatic-only form. The original 2-door, 6-speed Ram SRT10 was the very definition of bad-@$$ factory sport truck. Suprisingly, it's still around, but definitely rare. Once this full-size bad boy disappears, what's going to take its place? Yeah, you've still got the Rumble Bee dealer decal special, but it ain't got nowhere near the cojones of the SRT10.
Ford Lightning? AWOL in the new bodystyle. To their credit, Ford did build a prototype 500-horse Lightning on the new chassis, but for now-obvious reasons, it fell to the red pen of the bean counters. Ford is promising some sort of truck product out of SVT (or what's left of it) soon. Could it be in for an encore performance? We can hope, although the porky new F-150 could stand to go on a diet before it becomes a legit performance machine.
GMC Syclone. Man, what a bad-@$$ little truck. Did I mention I like saying bad-@$$? This little turbo terror could hang with Ferraris of the day, at least from 0-60, and obliterated most 5.0 Mustangs on the road. What do we have now? Just a lame 5-cylinder mid-sizer.
Okay, we do have the Silverado SS. But the current-gen model with the 345-horse engine is merely "sporty" in my book, and not a definitive "sport" truck. Ironically, the TrailBlazer SS, with the 395-horse LS2, probably comes closest to the spirit of a Sport Truck, even if it does have a welded-on camper shell. Not a "truck" in the strictest sense, but plenty fun, and relatively affordable.
It's high time the OEs cook up some tasty truck treats for us. Here are my candidates:
Colorado SS: Stiffen up that wet-noodle chassis, and slip in the LS2. Offer it in std. cab, ext. cab, and crew cab for leadfoots with families. Six-speed stick would be nice, but if you have to do auto-only, make it a modern, well-spaced six-speed.
Dakota SRT8: Why they haven't done this one yet is a stumper. They've got the wild child 6.1 H.O. Hemi just waiting to get bolted in. Yeah, the new Dak is a little on the heavy side, but nothing that 425 ponies can't take care of.
Tacoma V-Runner: Okay, they gave us the X-Runner. Not bad. And the 4.0L V-6 is no slouch. But imagine one of these bad-boys with Toyota's 4.7L V-8.
Nissan Frontier Type-R: How 'bout the 5.6 Endurance V-8 shoehorned into a Frontier? That would be one fun little ride.
So, you with me on this? What do you think?