Numbers like maximum horsepower, torque and tow ratings are the heart and soul of the full-size heavy duty pickup truck segment. No shocker there. But how much reliance can consumers actually put on figures provided by the manufacturer? And, keeping in mind that the average test drive doesn't include hooking up a ten-ton trailer, how might we all get a proper frame of reference when judging one massive diesel beast with another?

Such questions may soon get an answer... other than this one, decided upon just a few weeks back. It seems that General Motors has issued a pretty straightforward challenge to Ford: a towing duel up mountain grades, followed by a comparison of factory-issued exhaust brakes on the way back down. (Sorry, Ram... guess you're not invited out to play.) Seems simple enough, no?

Here are some relevant statistics: Ford's (reflashed) 6.7-liter Power Stroke diesel V8 engine punishes the tarmac with an even 400 horsepower and 800 pound-feet of torque. That's class-leading, as GM's 6.6-liter Duramax pumps out 397 horses and 765 pound-feet. Looking at those numbers, Ford wins... right?

Not so fast, says Chevrolet Silverado Marketing Manager Tony Truelove, "Numbers on paper are fine," he said. "Let's go work these trucks in the mountains, and may the best truck win." To which Ford Trucks spokeswoman Anne Marie Gattari replied, "We challenge our trucks against the competition in grueling prove-out tests continually, and the customer gives us the results – sales leadership year after year."

That's right, The Blue Oval plainly and unsurprisingly declined Chevrolet's invitation. But the show must go on, and our friends at Pickuptrucks.com promise to be on hand in their very best black-and-white-striped shirts to serve as referees for the main event. Let's get ready to rumble!


Related GalleryPickupTrucks.com Heavy-Duty shootout 2010

[Source: PickupTrucks.com]