To many buyers, pick-ups mean one thing and one thing only: practicality. They are common-sense commercial vehicles designed to carry heavy loads and cope with potentially unwelcoming terrain, and have little in the way of genuine kerb appeal. While that might be true of some of the more mundane models on the market, it’s not the whole story. Indeed, there have been some eye-poppingly outlandish pick-ups over the years, particularly in America where, to many, the truck is a true icon of the road. Here’s our selection of seven larger-than-life pick-ups guaranteed to be the centre of attention wherever they go.
The world of big, bad trucks is a bit like heavyweight boxing – there are some pretenders and a handful of contenders. But the current undisputed champion is this beast – Texas tuner Hennessey’s take on the already ridiculous Ram 1500 TRX. The Ram comes with a supercharged 6.2-litre Hellcat V8 that offers a whopping 702bhp. Pretty healthy, huh? But Hennessey decided this was insufficient for the knockout punch it wanted to deliver and so has squeezed an astonishing 1,012bhp and 969 lb ft of torque out of the engine, meaning a 0-60mph time of 3.2 seconds and 11.4 seconds for a quarter-mile dash, if you’re so inclined. Only 200 are being made and US customers will pay the equivalent of £100,000 for the privilege – but then unbridled excess like this rarely comes cheap.
If owning an in-yer-face pick-up is all about making a statement, then this outrageous six-wheeler is for you – although what specific statement that might be is up for debate. A six-wheel version of the G-Wagen was originally developed for the Australian military in 2011, but it was based on the more modestly powered G320 CDI. Once a production version was given the green light, all bets were off, so it was fitted with AMG’s mighty 5.5-litre V8, standard 37-inch wheels and five differential locks. What resulted was unquestionably the most extreme Merc ever, with extreme power (536bhp) extreme dimensions (5875mm long) and an extreme price (£370,000). There’s nothing better, though, if being stared at is important to you.
In 1986, way before the Urus became a fixture in the car parks of Premier League football clubs, Lamborghini offered an off-roader of a very different type. The LM002, which became known as the Rambo Lambo, was a double cab sport utility truck that was a radical departure for the famed Italian firm. What it lacked in practicality – the bed, if you can call it that, was tiny – it made up for in power, with a 5.2-litre 444bhp V12 engine sourced from the Countach. Strange as it may seem now, in an era where exhibitionism and conspicuous consumption are readily celebrated, back in the 80s the world wasn’t ready for the other-worldly LM002, and it struggled for sales before being killed off in 1993. But few cars of any type have the capability to make such a massive impact even today.
Ok, ok… we know you can’t get your hands on a Cybertruck just yet. Latest reports suggest that it will be 2023 before the Tesla pick-up makes production. And yes, we’re equally aware that what was unveiled in 2019 – to the general astonishment of the automotive world – offers no cast-iron guarantees about what might eventually appear. But it’s impossible to compile a list of extrovert pick-ups without referencing the mind-boggling Tesla. Whether it’s a flight of fantasy from the ultimate car industry showman, Elon Musk, or genuinely is the shape of things to come, one thing is for sure – no pick-up, whether real or imagined, has ever stoked up as much debate or interest as the outrageous Cybertruck, a brutalist groundbreaker that looks like it’s come straight from a sci-fi film.
The Super Snake should also slither its way into contention for those after a megatruck. Although not as powerful as the Hennessey Mammoth – the Snake delivers a ‘mere’ 775bhp from its supercharged 5.0-litre V8 – it arguably packs a greater visual punch courtesy of the racing stripes on its bonnet, which have become a trademark over the years for legendary manufacturer and tuner Shelby. Based on Ford’s famous F-150, the Super Snake is no slouch either when it comes to putting your foot down – 0-60mph is dispatched in 3.4 seconds, and 0-100 in 8.3. But this is another truck that is being built in limited numbers, with only 600 slated for production.
While the Cybertruck still only exists in the dreams of Tesla fanboys, there is another electric pick-up that is already available and making an impression. Granted, the Rivian R1T isn’t quite as extreme as the Tesla – is anything? – but it’s strikingly futuristic in its own right, and more importantly, at this stage anyway, it’s real. While it certainly looks different, it’s under the skin where the really interesting advances have been made, thanks to the electric powertrain. It comes with four electric motors – two at the front and two at the rear – that produce around 835bhp and more than 900 lb ft of torque, enough for 0-60mph in three seconds. The R1T is not on sale in the UK yet – US customers can buy one for less than £50k, believe it or not – but it’s hoped Rivian will be a presence in the British market before too long.
If you’re being kind, you might say Hummer was a brand that split opinion. The taste police, certainly, had a field day with its oversized and over-the-top creations, particularly the H1. As you might have deduced from the styling, it started life as a military vehicle, the M998 Humvee, which gained quite a profile in the Gulf War of 1990-91. This led to ‘civilian’ versions being offered and marketed as Hummer H1s available in various bodystyles, including a four-door truck, a convertible and a wagon. Rarer, and arguably even more outlandish looking, was the two-door pick-up pictured here, which like all H1s was accomplished in its element – off road, essentially – but somewhat compromised elsewhere. It was, however, guaranteed to make you the king of the road wherever you ventured.