Because workhorses can be special.
At their core, pickup trucks aren't inherently glamorous. They are built for work. Trucks are what keep society greased, whether it's gardeners and their smaller workhorses, construction workers hauling materials around, or farmers lugging machinery from place to place. In America, the truck became a symbol of non-nonsense hard work. From there, it has expanded into mainstream culture as everything from a useful tool to an off-road status symbol.
The special edition truck has become big business, and there's a whole slew of them on sale right now catering to different niches and types of enthusiasts. But, over the years, there's been some that are particularly special. This isn't a comprehensive list, or a best of, but a collection of the special editions that have a special place in our hearts.
The Ford F-150 Harley-Davidson Edition is being revived for the new decade, but first showed up in 2000. It's an excellent way for diehard fans of the motorcycle brand to show their allegiance to Harley Davidson, but it's also a cool looking truck in general. It comes with a unique color scheme and decals, a body kit, and a unique grille. Used truck aficionados favor the 2002-2004 Harley-Davidson Editions for their supercharged 5.4-liter V8 engines pushing out 340 horsepower and 425 lb-ft of torque.
The GMC Syclone was one hell of a truck. It was, and has been made again, a high-performance compact truck featuring a turbocharged V6 sending 280 hp to a rear-biased all-wheel-drive system. Back in 1991, you could still advertise tobacco products, and Marlboro was plastered all over Ayrton Senna's Mclaren F1 car. Marlboro targetted the same demographics as truck makers, resulting in a synergy we'll never see again.
As well as the color scheme, the Marlboro GMC Syclone has Simpson 5-point harnesses and black Boyd Coddington wheels, but the highlight is an ASC Targa-top conversion. They're incredibly rare, but the one below showed up for auction with Mecum in 2018.
The Dodge Ram SRT10 is the truck nobody asked for, nobody needed, but that everyone adores.
On the basis that someone at Dodge wanted to, the automaker shoehorned the 500-hp 8.3-liter V10 engine from the Dodge Viper into a Ram. If that wasn't insane enough for something tall and weighing 5,100 lbs, they went to work on the chassis and suspension to make sure it could pull 0.86 g of grip in the corners.
Back in 2008, Ford linked with the hot rod scene via Chip Foose to build something sleek and powerful. We're not fans of Foose's TV show cars, but he can pull something special out of his hat from time to time. The Ford F-150 Foose Edition was low and mean, and along with an ultra-clean and flared look, it featured a supercharged 5.8-liter V8 Triton engine making 450 hp and 500 lb-ft of twist. That made it the most powerful half-ton truck on the market, and, along with the custom interior, gave it a boulevard-cruiser feel.
Mossy Oak is a much loved Mississippi–based branded camouflage and outdoor lifestyle company, and the perfect partner for a truck. The Ram 1500 Mossy Oak Edition first appeared in 2011. Later models featured Break-Up Infinity camouflage-patterned highlights that can be optioned over either Black, Black Gold Pearl, or Prairie Pearl paint. Cloth upholstery was standard, but customers could opt for Katzkin Espresso Tuscany Leather seats with Mossy Oak embroidery.
Also standard was the camouflage pattern on the dash center and door panel inserts. The only thing missing is a gun rack and a special storage area for duck whistles.
The Jeep Wrangler and Gladiator special editions were shown off at the Miami auto show in late 2019. Referring to the Miami area code, only 305 units of each were available exclusively through Miami dealerships. They feature edition-specific hood graphics and fender decals as well as aftermarket parts from Mopar. The Jeep Gladiator Three O Five is based on the Sport S model with the all-terrain tire package. Tube doors, a lift, LED off-road light kits, Katzkin leather seats, steel front bumpers, and rock rails that will never be used complete the glorious poser look.
Discretely hidden amongst the phalanx of road warrior trucks from over the years, the Chevrolet Silverado Intimidator SS is more extreme than most. That's because as well as having 345 hp and 380 lb-ft of torque to play with, the Intimidator SS also has a locking rear diff, ensuring plenty of sideways fun. Only 1,333 units were built to honor the late and great Nascar driver, Dale Earnhardt. While the outside doesn't scream special edition, the inside is littered with Dale Earnhardt Legacy logos.
The Saleen S331 goes beyond a slick body kit and wheels, offering a wealth of extra power and handling ability. At its heart, the Saleen S331 is the third-generation F-150 Lightning that Ford never got round to building itself. Saleen lowered the 2007 F-150 and tweaked the shocks and springs to make the truck corner better using its new-found lower center of gravity.
Then, the engineers went to town on power. Two versions were offered, one was naturally aspirated, but the S331 Supercharged featured a trick twin-screw supercharger mounted in the V of Ford's 5.4-liter V8. If you can find one, it'll make an aggressive 450 hp and 500 lb-ft of torque. Saleen has just revived its Sport Truck, and the new supercharged version makes 700 hp.
Yenko is a name that harks back to the muscle car era and has enjoyed a long relationship with Chevrolet. The Chevrolet Yenko/SC Silverado is famous for delivering insane amounts of power but it's also a bit of a sleeper, as underneath that calm exterior lurks a 6.8 liter V8 that cranks out 800 hp and 750 lb-ft of torque. Stopping power comes from six-piston Brembo brakes, and helping the engine breathe is a custom stainless steel exhaust system. Only 25 were made, so it's a rare beast indeed.
Blacked out vehicles have been done to death, but somehow Chevy has kept it cool with the Midnight Edition. The Chevrolet Colorado is a midsize truck, and, with the Z71 package added, it becomes a go-anywhere truck. The Midnight Edition is simply an appearance package that highlights the Colorado's aggression. It comes with black exterior trim, a black grille, black 17-inch wheels, and our favorite touch: Black Chevy bowtie badges. Its cool without going over the top, while keeping the truck as useful and useable as ever.