Standard Cab, Short Bed, V8: These Modern Pickups Are Muscle Cars in Disguise
Americans love pickup trucks. It’s true now more than ever, with full size, half ton pickup trucks routinely dominating the sales charts as people buy up everything from heavy duty work trucks to luxury-laden crew cabs to haul the family. Within that spectrum of modern truck choices, potential buyers can actually spec out brand new pickups that perform a lot like classic muscle cars, complete with comfy interiors, rear wheel drive, V8 power and low price tags. The only difference is they have beds.
After playing around the with the online configurators on various half ton pickups, we were able to spec out a few of these custom-ordered muscle trucks to demonstrate that when configured properly, these trucks can be quite impressive street machines.
Starting out with Chevy, the brand will be releasing a standard cab version of the new 2019 Silverado 1500 in the near future, but for the time being we went with the still available 2018 model. Optioning out a Silverado with the standard cab configuration will limit your trim choices to the lower end of the spectrum, but you can still option one with a 355hp 5.3L V8 mated to a six-speed automatic transmission, and don’t forget to opt for the locking rear end.
Depending on specific trim options, a standard cab, short bed V8 Silverado 1500 has an MSRP in the low to mid $30,000 range and that’s before any discounts—which should be plentiful on the previous model. In fact, an Auto Trader search revealed plenty of new trucks available in the mid to high $20Ks.
Moving over to the Ford side, the best-selling F-150 can also be had in a standard cab, short bed configuration and the base grade 3.0L V6 can be swapped out for either the 2.7L EcoBoost V6 or the proven 5.0L V8.
Either choice has its merits should you prefer the modern turbo power or traditional V8 rumble. Speaking of the V8 in F-150 guise, the 5.0 makes an impressive 395hp and 420 lb-ft of torque. Remember when the high performance, supercharged Ford Lightning made 380hp?
According to Ford’s site, a standard cab, 5.0-powered F-150 with a limited slip differential and a few other basic options will also put you into the mid to low $30Ks, which is likely to be knocked lower when dealer discounts and potential rebates are thrown in.
Dodge Ram 1500
Lastly we get to Ram, whose latest, all-new 2019 1500 model has been earning all sorts of praise. Unfortunately, they don’t currently offer the new truck in a standard cab configuration, but you can get the previous model, which is being sold as the Ram 1500 Classic.
The short bed standard cab Ram comes with the 3.6L V6 standard, but you’ll want to upgrade to the 5.7L Hemi V8 which makes 395hp and comes mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission.
Based on the configurator, a Ram 1500 Express with the Hemi V8 and other basic options will come in with an MSRP in the low $30Ks before any discounts. Like the rest of the models we’ve selected, these prices fall just under the current average vehicle price in the US and show that trucks don’t have to be ridiculously expensive.
Of course if there’s one downside to these stripped down, standard cab V8 pickups it’s that they won’t be too common in dealer inventories, as most pickup buyers choose the larger, more expensive four-door models. If anything though, that just makes these custom spec’d muscle trucks that much more unique. They might not have the branding of the high performance trucks of the ‘90s and 2000s, but they certainly have the performance.
If you want something with surprisingly good performance, a warranty and low price tag, while still having decent ability to haul and tow, one of these three muscle machines in disguise might just be the choice for you.