• Old-School Shootout - The Big Three’s Heavy Haulers From 1996: Video

In 1996, trucks were just becoming acceptable daily drivers for those who didn’t report to the job site every morning, but were still made to work. That’s especially true for these three heavy-duty duallies from Ford, Chevy, and Dodge.

This awesome episode of MotorWeek from nearly 20 years ago shows just what the U.S. truck market was up to. And though it looks pretty familiar against what Ford, Chevy, and now Ram are currently doing, all the numbers have grown.

What numbers? Prices and towing capacity

Just listen to those tow ratings. The Single Cab Ram 3500 has the guts to pull 13,300 pounds on its hitch with its big, honkin’, Viper-derived 8.0-liter V-10. The Ford F-350 comes in behind, lugging a maximum of 12,500 pounds thanks to its then-new 7.3-liter V-8 PowerStroke turbodiesel made by International. The Crew Cab Chevy pulls up the rear with its tried and true 454 cubic inch V-8. The very under-tuned big-block only cranked out 230 horsepower and 385 pound-feet of torque for 1995, likely leading to its sub-par 10,000-pound maximum tow rating.

Speaking of sub-par, the Chevy continues the trend here, as both the Ford and Dodge surpass its horsepower and torque ratings. The Ford’s PowerStroke lays out 210 horsepower and 425 pound-feet of torque while the big Dodge pushes 300 horses and an impressive 450 pound-feet from its V-10.

In comparison, these three heavy-duties’ grandchildren are towing a lot more. The Dodge turned Ram 3500, for example, can lug around 30,000 pounds on a fifth-wheel trailer while the F-350 comes in at 24,700 doing the same. Prices have equally skyrocketed. The price for a similarly equipped F-350 in XLT trim is $48,000. The Ram, thanks to its single cab setup, costs much less at around $37,000.

Mark McNabb
Mark McNabb was a contributor at TopSpeed from 2013 to 2018. Growing up, Mark always had a mind for tinkering on random items throughout his home and dad’s garage, including a 1953 Ford Mainline and 1971 Corvette Stingray.  Read full bio
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