When creating an extreme use vehicle, certain aspects of a vehicle’s exterior and interior design must give way to a functional goal. The Ram Rebel TRX Concept is an example of molding design around a chassis engineered to take on rough terrain at speeds greater than 100 miles per hour (mph).
“The Rebel TRX Concept gave us the opportunity to examine what a Ram 1500 would look like in the high-speed off-road world,” said Joe Dehner, Head of Ram Exterior Design — FCA North America. “The tolerances are extreme and features are far different from what most customers expect from their pickup, but that’s what makes it rousing and fun.”
The Rebel TRX’s mug shot is not a friendly face welcomed in the rearview mirror. Although it is clear the line and color combinations are borrowed from the popular Rebel and Power Wagon models, the Rebel TRX has a much more chiseled look.
Header Red paint rules the exterior skin. Select locations on the hood roof and lower body are covered in black. Three letters burst clear of a Power Wagon-inspired grille spelling “RAM” in body-matching black and red. Out of necessity, the bold, scooped grille allows a fire-breathing supercharged engine to cool with additional air flow. Oversized tow hooks reach through huge red-painted openings in the black powder-coated steel front bumper. Composite flares help compensate for a six-inch increase in track width and gave designers another location to mark their signature. A lower brush guard is forged in steel and up to the “rock knock” test. New LED fog lamps provide additional light to help the TRX navigate in reduced visibility conditions.
In order to clear the roots-style blower mounted atop the HEMI® engine, the Rebel TRX uses a hood based on the taller Ram Heavy Duty design, using two exhaust vents to assist in heat removal. The raised fender height matches shoulders to chest. This aggressive, “no-neck” appearance is an example of building around necessity. A profile view reveals wide-open fender wells lined with unique flares, allowing 37-inch tires to fill the gap at full jounce. Compensating for a six-inch overall increase in track width, the fenders reach out like wings to prevent material caught in traction from reaching the side of the truck. A drone’s-eye view exposes bright LED clearance lighting and the acute hour-glass body lines as they dive back into the doors only to pop back out in the back, enabling rear tires to firmly tuck into the wells.
The side of the TRX leads your eye to enormous five-inch, side-exit exhaust ports integrated within a full-length rock rail for added body/sill protection. The 37-inch tires are wrapped around custom Mopar 18-inch bead-lock wheels with body color-matched rings bolted in place.
The bed becomes partially dedicated to self-preservation while traveling in the desert abyss. New bed rails equipped with tie-downs outline two matched spare tire and wheel combinations mounted vertically in the bed on a custom rack. Utilizing the built-in storage capacity of the Ram 1500, a lockable unit between the wheel wells packs a jack, tow strap and makes room for larger tool storage.
Closing out the rear of the truck, a large “Ram” badge in Matte Black is borrowed from the Rebel and covers the tailgate. A custom rear bumper with integrated skid plate and tow hooks matches capability features on the front of the truck.
Not all of the TRX’s features are functional. Some are deserved. Bodyside and tailgate graphics adorn both sides and unique badging located on the rear fenders identify Ram’s newest concept.
When traversing rough terrain at ludicrous speeds, seating is important. Sliding around like a towel across a freshly waxed hood is not ideal. The interior design team chose materials to help the occupants stay planted and in control. Suede with accent mesh cloth inserts cover the rear bench and front buckets. The suede inserts provide tremendous grip to clothing. The front seats integrate sport-sanctioned lateral support upper bolsters with embroidered logos. All four seats are strapped with six-point harnesses, further fixing occupants to their proper locations.
The TRX’s black anodized steering wheel is trimmed with black suede and Header Red accent stitching. New paddle shifters stretch above and below the steering wheel centerline and allow the driver to maintain transmission control with fingertips. Ram’s 4×4 Performance Control System is engaged with a cog-shaped rotary dial for different modes of operation, indicated by a Rebel TRX pictogram for different environments: Normal, Wet/Snow, Off-road and Baja.
In an effort to remove hard points inside the cockpit, the TRX instrument panel (IP) is padded and features Header Red accent stitching. An open upper glove box with elastic straps holds a sturdy TRX-labeled bag with color matched tools. When limit driving, the operator’s front cluster can often provide a lifeline to the truck’s situation. A seven-inch thin-film transistor (TFT) cluster borrowed from the Rebel features muddy tracks and TRX badge graphics with reconfigurable gauges. The same graphics fill the screen on an 8.4 Uconnect. Center stack detail includes carbon fiber and red metal inlays with anodized parts replacing knobs and controls. To record TRX’s accomplishments, a custom camera mount is located at the rearview mirror.
The center console matches efforts on the IP and includes a concept polystable shifter trimmed in black suede and Header Red stitching. The soft console lid features Header Red accent stitching and elastic straps, creating additional secured storage.
Designers re-trimmed the Rebel armrests with solid Header Red accent stitching and wrapped the upper bolster in suede to keep arms in place. Trim rings are covered in black anodized paint and red metal-inlayed carbon fiber spears point to nylon strap door pulls embroidered with ”Release.”
A sport bar covered in black anodized paint provides anchor points dedicated to the six-point harnesses and spans from B-pillar to B-pillar, formed to allow maximum possible seat travel. Suede-wrapped headliner and visors give a premium feel, but not overzealous. A- and B-pillar grab handles are covered in vinyl with Header Red stitching.
The Rebel TRX interior floor trades carpet for black rubberized coating. Black all-weather mats from Mopar reduce foot slip when foot-to-pedal placement is crucial.
A lot of the design of the TRX Concept made it into the design of the all-new 2019 Ram 1500.
The rapidly beating heart of the Ram Rebel TRX Concept is a powertrain marvel. A 6.2-liter supercharged HEMI with 575 horsepower, the most powerful Ram 1500 the company has ever built, lays the groundwork of expectation.
Mated to the TorqueFlite 8HP70 eight-speed automatic transmission, new calibrations were used for the engine, transmission and drivetrain to optimize the expected high-speed off-road driving cycle.
The Ram Rebel TRX Concept uses Ram’s 4×4 Performance Control System with a BorgWarner 44-45 transfer case. The system employs different modes of operation: Normal, Wet/Snow, Off-road and Baja.
The Ram Rebel TRX Concept uses a standard Ram 1500 front axle with an open differential and custom CV half-shafts to handle the wider track dimension. The spindles are moved forward to make room within the fender wells for the aggressive 37-inch tires.
In the rear, a Dynatrac Pro 60 axle spools power through an electric, selectable locker to 35-spline, 1.5-inch axle shafts. The locker is available in all modes and commits both rear wheels to traction at the same speed, spreads the torque load and maximizes the tractive effort (power put to the ground) in full-throttle maneuvers.
The Ram Rebel TRX has an exterior design that radiates focused aggression, which is only trumped by what lies under its skin. The concept was built around suspension and frame prerequisites. Equally important was adapting as many systems from the standard Ram 1500 as possible to ensure durability and proper function.
The high-strength steel frame structure of the Ram Rebel TRX is virtually unchanged when compared to a standard Ram 1500. The frame uses low-torsion attributes that increase durability, stability and handling precision.
A 40 percent increase in suspension travel and 37-inch tires contribute to incredible ground clearance. This combination allows the TRX Concept to overcome surface obstacles at high speed.
The front suspension incorporates custom-built upper and lower A-arms with special attention to caster and camber angles during suspension cycling. Overall, front- and rear-wheel travel is increased to more than 13 inches from the standard 9 inches. The front load is managed by a state-of-the-art, adjustable, performance coil-over shock with internal bypass. The result is a smooth ride over smaller bumps, and when the bumps become mounds, the reaction speed and heat dissipation is unbeatable, softening the impact on occupants and maintaining the tire-to-ground contact.
The Ram 1500 uses an exclusive, best-in-class link coil rear suspension system that shares basic architecture with the fastest off-road trucks in desert racing. The frame’s hard points for the five-link suspension system are unchanged and allow the rear axle travel to span up to 13 inches, while standard rear-wheel travel on the Ram 1500 is 9.25 inches. New 2.5-inch bypass shocks use factory upper and lower shock mounts. The standard rear coils are swapped for performance springs located in the factory-spec positions.
To provide incredible stopping power, the factory hydraulic-boost compensation unit enhances brake pedal feel and performance during emergency stop events. Baer brakes six-piston monoblock calipers mounted to 15-inch rotors equip the front. The rear uses six-piston calipers with 14-inch rotors.
High-speed off-road truck racing teams commonly use a 37-inch tire for its height and durability. Tires with 37 inches of height, 13.5 inches of width, aggressive treads and 10-ply design are assigned the task for Rebel TRX. The Rebel TRX Concept also features custom beadlock wheels from Mopar. Beadlock wheels provide additional tire-holding strength by pinching the outside of the tire to the rim. The Rebel TRX carries two complete spare tire and wheel packages. Tools and jack are located in custom, lockable storage between the wheels in the bed.