Fans of off-roading and desert blasting might recall that Chrysler offers an aftermarket conversion that can turn a Ram 1500 into a road-legal desert racer, called the Ram Runner. The kit, sold through Mopar, includes some significant suspension upgrades, body tweaks and a brawnier cat-back exhaust for the truck's 5.7-liter V8.

Considering all of this, comparisons with the almighty Ford F-150 SVT Raptor are common. Among the off-road community, that makes these two a sort of Chevrolet Camaro and Ford Mustang for people that prefer driving on dirt. In the Race-Dezert forum, the discussion as to which truck was better was proceeding as normal - Ram fans said their piece and Ford fans said theirs. Then, a man named Kent Kroeker offered up his two cents.

See, Kroeker is a Baja racer, and the man that helped develop the Ram Runner. Despite his association with the truck, though, he had some less than kind words for Chrysler and the Ram Runner.

"The Ram is a great platform, but Chrysler would rather spend their government money jargoneering than invest in off road racing and vehicle development like Ford has done," Kroeker wrote.

Oh snap. Kroeker's opinion here is interesting for a pair of reasons. First, there wouldn't have been a Ram Runner for him to contribute on without said government money. Secondly, the Ram Runner project was announced two days after Chrysler announced that it paid back the government loans (yes, we know development was probably underway before the loans were paid off, but you get our meaning). But by all means, Mr. Kroeker, carry on.

"Encouraging Chrysler to butch up and do it right was like asking a group of mouth-breathing DMV employees to stay 30 seconds after coffee break starts," he wrote. Instead of doing what the racer wanted, he says that the Chrysler asked whether it, "could get away with a moderate shock and sticker package?"

Kroeker's opinion of Ford is considerably better, saying that its people "refused government money, released the expensive, gas-guzzling Raptor in a faltering economy and still hit it out of the park."

What do you think about Kroeker's statements? Is he out of line? Do you think Chrysler chickened out of offering a genuine Raptor challenger?


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  • 64 Comments
      Mitchell J. Mattice
      • 8 Months Ago
      Ford bet the farm and secured low interest financing while it was still available, putting everything up for collateral, AWOL-G5. I think Kent was frustrated by its lack of success and criticism from the public and media alike. I agree with Chris O. I dont think Chrysler wanted to invest heavily in such a niche market. Im sure its a great truck in its own right. But if I were in the market for a factory Baja racer, I wouldn't spend my hard earned money on anything less.
        Rick C.
        • 8 Months Ago
        @Mitchell J. Mattice
        Those anti government Teahadists always trying to rewrite history. Just the facts: Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing (ATVM) Loan Program is a $25 billion direct loan program funded by Congress in fall 2008 to provide debt capital to the U.S. automotive industry for the purpose of funding projects that help vehicles manufactured in the U.S. meet higher mileage requirements and lessen U.S. dependence on foreign oil. The loan program was authorized under section 136 of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.
        Rick C.
        • 8 Months Ago
        @Mitchell J. Mattice
        Oh yes, about those REPAID loans http://m.wardsauto.com/blog/dear-taxpayer-your-auto-bailout-loan-repaid-interest
      mitytitywhitey
      • 8 Months Ago
      Ok, so lets let bygones be... and Ram should continue improving their enthusiast truck (with or without the help of Kroeker, who doesn't seem too interested in maintaining the friendship) I hope the result of this is NOT that Ram abandons the enthusiast truck efforts, and that Ram takes more risks into this arena as their profit (from selling tons of trucks and SUVs this year) continues to grow. Personally, I'd like to see another SRT Ram built alongside this. Maybe go with the Hemi 392 / Tremec combination from the Challenger SRT8.
      Love Great Danes
      • 8 Months Ago
      Most Raptors around here are taken to grocery stores and may hop a bumper block. Wonder what the actual volume of Raptors and Ram Runners are actually used in Baja?? Don't get me wrong I like the Raptor, but wonder about its actual use.
      ImUrOBGYN
      • 8 Months Ago
      Well, first of all, we can stop all the speculation with a simple test between the two trucks... Oh wait, it's already been done by PickupTrucks.com. Oh, ****, here's a link to it on this blog, too! http://www.autoblog.com/2012/05/30/ram-runner-takes-on-raptor-in-duel-in-the-desert-w-video/ What the hell were we talking about?
      ken
      • 8 Months Ago
      He obviously forgot the fact that the raptor project is a stop gap project to keep svt functional in between Mustang development cycle, while he is just an outside contractor. It is sad that Chrysler isn't committed to a full performance RAM, but it is understandable when cash is needed for new engines, new transmissions, new RWD platforms, and Fiat's euro trouble.
      John
      • 8 Months Ago
      I dunno. I don't think any objective analysis could ever conclude that Chrysler intended to compete with the Raptor. They are in totally different leagues.
      11fiveoh
      • 8 Months Ago
      I agree, this is not a true competitor for the raptor. Imo, with the ram you'd be better off doing it yourself with actual aftermarket parts. Shame, because the ram's are great looking and have the best interior of the big 3.
      Autoblogist
      • 8 Months Ago
      Did he think they gave him chief engineer title because they asked for his input? Ungrateful, douche bag probably got paid his two cents. It did pan out his way, so now he sounds like a scorned lover. I'd take his opinion with a sand dune worth of salt.
      Kris O.
      • 8 Months Ago
      He is upset about Chryslers treatment of his ideas. He helped build an awesome kit that allows the Ram Runner to do circles in the desert around the Raptor at the expense of the everyday practicality, something the Raptor still has. (Not my opinion, see any of the Raptor vs Ram Runner comparisons on youtube) I would be upset too if my creation was better that the competition but relegated to aftermarket only. With the success of the Jeep Rubicon it is a wonder why Chrysler didn't ask him to dial it back a bit to something the assembly line could handle. Given this outburst it is possible that they asked him to make a more street-able Runner and he refused. Chrysler had too much invested and simply put is as an aftermarket program to try and recoup some of their effort. They end up with something great but not realistic from a production standpoint. Not because he didn't do a good enough job but rather that he did too good of a job and was not willing to compromise.
      Eggmania
      • 8 Months Ago
      so now people know nothing new, but companies know if you hire this guy, he'll air your dirty laundry while praising your competitors.
      Ryan Schneider
      • 8 Months Ago
      http://img3.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20121007165231/adventuretimewithfinnandjake/images/2/2b/Apply_cold_water_to_burned_area.jpeg
      SpikedLemon
      • 8 Months Ago
      True or not: that'll mark the last time Chrysler talks to him without a lawyer present.
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