Hauls like a truck; claws like a Hellcat.
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All-season rubber and more than 700 horsepower do not make good bedfellows, and the Ram 1500 Haulcat is our latest reminder. With all but the smallest prods of the accelerator pedal, the Ram 1500 Haulcat spins its 20-inch Goodyear Wrangler SR-A tires with reckless abandon.
The Haulcat is a one-off super truck commissioned by Dream Giveaway, which is a sponsor of Motor1.com. This truck was one of Dream Giveaway’s many sweepstakes prize packages, and the company gave us the chance to drive it before handing the keys to its new owner. Dream Giveaway offers a number of prize packages (you can check out them all here), which can be yours for the price of one $3 sweepstakes ticket. You can also make a tax-deductible donation at DreamGiveaway.com that benefits the sweepstake’s sponsor New Beginnings Children’s Homes, which provides unrestricted grants to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the National Guard Education Fund, and more.
Back to the truck, though. It’s the realization of a concept Fiat Chrysler Automobiles never brought to fruition (at least, not yet): blending the pickup truck body style of the previous generation Ram 1500 with the heart of a Hellcat.
Gallery: Ram 1500 Haulcat: First Drive
In place of the Ram’s stock 395-hp 5.7-liter V8 engine, the Haulcat relies on the supercharged 6.2-liter V8 from the 707-hp Dodge Charger and Challenger Hellcat twins and the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk for motivation. With ample space underhood, the burly bent-eight and its associated eight-speed automatic transmission fit in the engine bay with room to spare. If not for the handful of aftermarket parts decorating the powertrain, such as the air intake, you’d swear the Haulcat is a stock, factory-made vehicle.
It certainly doesn’t feel like a science project from behind the wheel, either. Power comes on strong and predictably, and there are no uncouth clunks or creaks to indicate the skunkworks nature of the project.
Maintain a light right foot, and the Haulcat drives like your run-of-the-mill Ram 1500. Coil springs at the rear axle help the truck maintain a comfortable and composed ride, while its brake pedal is soft but predictable in its motions and its slow and overboosted steering is direct with no on-center slop. In short, it drives like a classic Mopar muscle car. Albeit with a lot more power and supercharger whine.
Get the Haulcat to bear its claws and the four-wheel-drive truck pulls forward with the ferocity of a lion protecting its pride. While we didn’t get to take it to the track, the Haulcat will reportedly cross the quarter mile in 10.7 seconds. Of course, to manage that feat you’ll need to ditch the all-season tires. Dream Giveaway mounted stickier rubber to a set of 22-inch wheels for the purpose of putting down the best time at the local drag strip.
Accompanying the Haulcat’s devilish powertrain are a number of special design details, which include bright green contrasting graphics, a tonneau cover and rear wing, and “Haulcat” badging on the grille and tailgate. The theme carries over to the black interior, too, which includes headrests embossed with Haulcat graphics and a pair of bucket seats with contrasting bright green stitching.
Until we drove the Ram Haulcat we were blissfully ignorant to the thrill of driving a Hellcat-powered Ram 1500. Now, however, we know better, and our experience with this truck has us clamoring for FCA to put the Hellcat engine in the redesigned 2019 Ram 1500.