Back in February, we briefly about the growing occupation of expediting or “hot shot trucking”. While there are several different options now available to the commercial trucking world, not many people realize that RAM was actually working on building a truck for those who haul heavy loads across the country.
Enter the 2011 Ram 5500 “Long-Hauler” Concept. Based on the Class 5 Ram 5500 Crew Cab Chassis-Cab which was designed to suit the needs of anyone that tows multiple or heavy trailers, drives long distances, or small business owners looking for a “workhorse” at the job site, RAM designers ditched the Crew Cab configuration for the much larger Mega Cab passenger compartment.
The next step was to add an 8-foot box to the chassis. To fill out the gap between the Cab and box with the extended length chassis, RAM then fitted a mid-ship fuel tank to extend the range between refueling stops. Combined with a second frame-mounted tank and a third, optional, bed-mounted auxiliary tank, the total fuel capacity equaled 170 gallons.
Under the hood of the Long-Hauler Concept was the legendary 6.7-liter H.O. Cummins Turbo Diesel inline six-cylinder rated at 800 lb.-ft. of torque. The Cummins was mated to a 6-speed Aisin AS68RC automatic transmission with a four-wheel-drive (4×4) transfer case coupled to a 4.88 Dana 110 axle with dual rear wheels.
The Long-Hauler Concept rode on a 197.4-inch wheelbase and 37,500 Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR). It was the perfect combination for those wanting to step up from the traditional Class 3 (1-ton) and Class 4 trucks. The overall length of the Ram Long-Hauler Concept was a massive 24 feet, with a height of 79.1 inches, and a curb weight of about 9,300 lbs.
Riding on a full Kelderman Air Suspension front and rear and 19.5-inch Alcoa aluminum wheels, on-road driving dynamics was civilized and even the toughest road surfaces were easily absorbed providing the driver and passengers with a smooth, comfortable ride. In fact, the Ram Long-Hauler Concept’s ride qualities were more in line with those of a 3/4-ton truck. The suspension package was also self-leveling with a kneel feature.
On the exterior, the Long-Hauler was painted with a Brillant Black exterior paint accented by White Gold Metallic color two-tone on the body side moldings and wide wheel flares at the front and rear. The scheme mimicked that of the production Laramie Longhorn paint scheme.
Upfront, a bull bar extended the entire width of the vehicle. For full use of the bed, a spare tire was located under the floor of the pickup box. To help make the trailer line-up easier was a camera showing the full-new of the pickup box. This would make production with the Center High-Mount Stop Lamp with Cargo View Camera now part of the Towing Technology Group.
A custom hitch-access tailgate allowed for easy hook-ups without the need to open or remove the entire tailgate.
Inside, interior noise levels were heavily dampened with an upgraded NVH package that ensured a quiet cabin environment. The Long-Hauler Concept included 2+2 leather seating with a specific, high-comfort driver seat. Rear passenger comfort was assured with power-adjustable footrests and a rear center console that includes a refrigerator, cup holders, and tray tables. With the interior Wi-Fi enabled, passengers could easily work on laptop computers connected to the Internet during long drives.
Additional cabin features also included a laptop storage area and a safe for valuables. Interior items designed to keep the driver monitoring of vehicle performance included a tire pressure monitoring system, rear axle temperature gauge and exhaust gas temperature, and boost gauges. Convenience features included an inductive charger and DVD player with an overhead screen for rear-seat passengers could enjoy their favorite programs and entertainment. The rear seats and console also folded flat for additional storage or as a berth for resting.
RAM used the Long-Hauler Concept for customer feedback to see if such a vehicle was wanted by its customer base. RAM identified a potential market for a Class 5 pickup, including race car teams, car haulers, RV owners, ranchers and rodeo competitors, boaters, and commercial expediting operations. The Long-Hauler Concept went on a tour of 8 truck shows across the midwest during the summer and fall of 2011.
While RAM didn’t end up producing the Long-Hauler Concept, it now offers a luxury Chassis-Cab on its Ram 3500, 4500, and 5500 Chassis-Cab lineups. We are sure there is plenty of people looking for such a truck to come to market in today’s world.
What do you think? Should RAM build a production version of the Long-Hauler Concept? Let us know in the comments below or on the HDRams.com forums.