Insane as it sounds, pickup trucks with power figures similar to the Ferraris and Lamborghinis of a few years ago are now available in the United States. Even more incredible, something that no one would have believed a decade ago, is that the most powerful pickup today, the Rivian R1T, is completely electric. Haggerty Classic Car Insurer compared on track to the RT1 with 835 horsepower with the Ram 1500 TRX with 702 horsepower and the Ford F-150 Raptor with 450 horsepower.
This race, basically a quarter-mile drag test, was a bumpy test with an easy-to-predict outcome. The Rivian showed its tailgate to the Ram TRX and F-150 Raptor without a hitch, with all three trucks completing the quarter mile in the same order their horsepower numbers suggest. The R1T did it in 11.6 seconds at 111 mph, 165 feet (50.2 mt) ahead of the TRX which completed the race in 12.2 seconds at 110 mph. The F-150 Raptor finished a distant third in 14.2 seconds at 94 miles per hour.
Despite the obvious drawbacks and predictable ending, the competition was nothing short of amazing, not only because of the sight of these three huge machines competing against each other, but also because of the comparisons, all favorable to pickups, that the host of the video Jason Camisa does hypercars from the not-too-distant past including the McLaren F1, the Nissan GT-R, and the Bugatti Chiron.
Before the end of the test, the organizers decided to include a General Motors product, but instead of selecting the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 with the 6.2-liter V8 engine that produces 420 horsepower, they included a 1991 GMC Syclone, the Pickup that is credited with starting the power war in the pickup world 31 years ago.
The explanation is that being a pickup equipped with a 4.3-liter twin-turbo V6 engine, it was more comparable to the F-150 Raptor, which is also equipped with a twin-turbo V6, although 3.5 liters. The power of the Syclone is 280 horsepower, a real wonder in 1991 when it was compared favorably by Car and Driver with the Ferrari 348ts, but nothing special nowadays, unless they power a very light vehicle.
The preparations did not end there. Rather than race the Syclone in a heads-up with the other three pickups, which frankly would have been a waste of time, they loaded it onto a trailer that was towed onto the track by the R1T during the race. This time the TRX came through clearly and easily, with the R1T still carrying the Syclone’s weight beating the F-150 Raptor, though not by much.
Finally, what everyone wanted to see: a heads up between the F-150 Raptor and the Syclone. The 32-year-old Syclone with a 170-horsepower deficit is more than 2,000 pounds lighter than the Raptor, allowing it to beat the Ford, finishing the quarter mile in 13.3 seconds at 97 miles per hour against Ford. Raptor’s 14.2 seconds at 94 mph.
Don’t feel bad about the Raptor being built for off-roading and not drag testing. Also as Camisa reminds us, the Ford F-150 Raptor R with the same 5.2-liter supercharged V8 engine from the Mustang Shelby GT-500 with probably more than 700 horsepower, will arrive at Ford dealerships during the second half of this year.
But with all due respect to the mega Raptor R that’s on the way, the comparison we want to see is the Rivian R1T against the upcoming F-150 Lighting, the electric version of the F-150, and hopefully we won’t have long to wait. For that.