A week ago, we published our newest spy photos of the upcoming Ram Rebel TRX. From what we can tell, it seems that FCA wants to build a Raptor killer. In fact, the details that we just received make that crystal clear.
Our day started out with a phone call from an anonymous source, who, after reading our previous story, reached out to let us know that they had spent some time with a Rebel TRX test mule. To say we were shocked is an understatement.
The source mentioned that the test mules were built by a Detroit company whose website boasts vehicle prototyping & testing capabilities among its numerous engineering services. Farming out prototype and testing work to outside suppliers like this is actually fairly common, especially for low-volume, high-performance projects like the Ram Rebel TRX. It's an interesting Detroit cottage industry that's so "inside baseball" that hardly anyone talks about it.
Out of respect for the employees and their livelihood, we will not reveal that company's name here. Our source, by his own admission, is not related to either FCA or this outside engineering firm.
According to the source, 40 Ram Rebel TRX prototypes have been built, 30 in black and 10 in white. They were based on production Ram 1500 pickups, pulled off of the assembly line and sent to the conversion company. One is said to have been fitted with a Demon engine.
Gallery: Ram Rebel TRX Concept
The remaining 39 were built with Hellcat engines backed up by 10 speed automatics. Inside the cab, the dial shifter remains, but it's non-functional. The production truck will allegedly use a more traditional slap shifter, currently hidden under the sliding cover in the center console of the test mules.
Under the hood, the engine is more or less a stock Hellcat mill, fed by what our source called a "Viper-style" ram-air induction system.
While we already knew that the chassis was beefed up, we were still in the dark about the suspension – we wanted to know what was behind the black plastic inner wheel well covers in our spy photos. To combat the Ford Raptor's Fox Racing suspension, the Ram Rebel TRX will have dual Bilstein shocks at each corner, according to our source.
Gallery: Ram Rebel TRX Spy Shots
The source also revealed that the truck would have ARB Air Lockers installed at both front and rear axles. ARB's Air Locker system uses pressurized air to lock the axles for superior traction. Pointing out a detail that we had missed in our own spy photos, the source stated that the truck had 8 lug wheels in the rear, and 6 lug wheels up front.
Our source tells us that, during the short time they spent behind the wheel, the truck was more than capable of going sideways when they stomped on the throttle at 25 miles per hour.
We will update this story with more information – and photos, if we can coax them out of our source. Of course we have no way of being sure our source is 100% legitimate, but our level of confidence is very high.