Ram Rebel TRX Concept debuts at Texas State Fair: Can this be real?

Ram Rebel TRX concept at Texas State Fair

Jim Morrison, Head of Ram Brand, FCA North America, reveals the Ram Rebel TRX concept at the 2016 State Fair of Texas

Remember pressing your nose up against the department store window to gaze in wonder at the model train layouts displayed there every Christmas? It was real…but still a fantasy, something no kid could in his wildest wishes ever own. Ram has created a similar object of desire, the Ram Rebel TRX concept, an off-road pickup truck that’s real, yet unattainable.

At his point at least, the Rebel TRX is a concept, done as an “engineering, design and consumer-interest study.” And, we’ll bet, to give the engineers and designers something fun to do, because they’re the ones who got create this off-road truck version of a Christmas train layout to begin with.

Ram Rebel TRX Concept

Concept shares front end similarties with the production Ram Rebel. (click to enlarge)

So what are we talking about? The Ram Rebel TRX is how you say Hellcat in pickup truck speak. Ram engineers started with a Ram 1500 half-ton pickup with a frame “virtually unchanged” from stock and went on from there.

Nestled at the front of the Ram Rebel TRX is a supercharged 6.2-liter Hemi V-8. That’s smaller than the supercharged 6.4-liter Hemi of the Dodge Charger SRT 392 and Challenger SRT 392, rated at 475 horsepower and 470 horsepower respectively. The Hemi in the Rebel TRX pumps out a dirt-thumping 575 horsepower, however, with Ram calling it “the most powerful factory-engineered half-ton pickup ever.”

Ram Rebel TRX Concept interior

The Ram Rebel TRX Concept interior combines style with functionality. (click to enlarge)

The Ram Rebel TRX uses the Torqueflite 8HP70 eight-speed automatic—it’s tough enough that Ram engineers didn’t go for the 8HP90 eight-speed used in the Charger/Challenger Hellcats—but specifies Ram’s 4×4 Performance Control System with a BorgWarner 44-45 transfer case. The system has four traction modes, Normal, Wet/Snow, Off-road and the ominously named Baja, though one wonders what Normal would be for a truck like this.

The Rebel TRX has a standard Ram 1500 front axle and an open differential up front. At the rear, a Dynatrac Pro 60 axle directs power through an electric, selectable locker to 35-spline, 1.5-inch axle shafts. The locker is available in all modes.

Because the truck is designed for speeds off road in excess of 100 miles per hour, a lot of work went into the suspension, starting with the 37-inch tires favored by off-road racers. Ram then increased wheel travel by 40 percent, over a dirt bike-like 13 inches at front and rear, compared to 9.5 inches on the standard Ram 1500.

Ram Rebel TRX Concept profile

The Ram Rebel TRX Concept has an aggressive side profile. (click to enlarge)

Front shocks are adjustable coil-over bypass shocks that allow dual rate damping for small and large bumps, with custom-built upper and lower A-arms. Ram claims the basic coil spring rear suspension “shares basic architecture with the fastest off-road trucks in desert racing.” Custom performance springs are equipped with new 2.5-inch bypass shocks hooked to factory upper and lower shock mounts.

The 37-inch tall tires are 13.5 inches wide with ten-ply construction an open dirt-worthy tread design.  Beadlock wheel design, which pinches the tire bead to the wheel, keep the tires on the 18-inch wheels in rugged off-road use at lower tire pressures used on dirt, rock and sand.

The suspension has a six-inch wider track than standard, and it takes larger fenders to cover the massive tires. Ram says that from a “drone’s-eye view”—what happened to birds?—the truck has an hourglass shape, thanks to the wider fenders front and rear.

More bulging: The hood on the Rebel TRX is based on the taller profile of the Ram Heavy Duty, necessary to cover the supercharger on top of the Hemi.

Ram Rebel TRX Concept

Where you don’t want to stand when the supercharged Ram Rebel TRX Concept start flinging rocks and sand. (click to enlarge)

Ram punches five-inch exhaust out the sides of the truck because, well, they can, and it also helps with ground clearance.

The Ram Rebel TRX concept adds special seats inside with bolstering, butt-grabbing suede and six-point seat belts to keep driver and passenger in place at high speed on the dirt.

The face of the Rebel TRX shares a lot from the standard Ram Rebel, there’s the special paint that always comes on a concept, and there’s a “sports bar”—read “it’s not a roll bar” that also holds down a pair of the giant spare tires.

Will you be able to reach through the window glass on the department store window to get to the model train layout? You never did. But the Ram Rebel TRX, though a concept, is to gauge consumer interest. Well, consumer, are you interested?

All photos by FCA.

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