Alert readers will recall your humble author’s fleet currently includes a bright red, eight-year-old Ram 1500 Sport 4×4. There is nothing wrong with this truck. It has an acceptable level of technology, hauls our 8,600lb RV trailer without complaint, has never once left me stranded, and is mechanically similar to a new Ram 1500. Plus, despite such luxuries as heated and ventilated leather seats, it is agricultural enough to be fixed with a hammer.
So why does the never-ending parade of Ram special editions make me want to head to my local dealer and investigate financing options? Because FCA knows their customers, that’s why — and with this Hydro Blue Sport, it proves they know them well.
Ram owners are generally not a bunch of wallflowers (that goes for most truck owners, I think). One does not sign the note on a machine purposefully styled to look like a Freightliner if they intend to blend into the crowd. Ram knows this.
With the new Ram 1500 still a couple of months from dropping its camouflage at the Detroit show in January, and Ford’s turbocharged aluminium wonder dominating the sales charts, FCA knows it needs to keep fans interested in the current model. Slathering its most aggro models with high-impact paint colors is a cheap way to do the trick.
You’ll probably remember the Sublime Ram from a few months ago, along with the Copper Sport and Ignition Orange specials. The Hydro Blue Sport shown here sings from the same hymnbook: bold paint, gonzo rims, color-matched interior frippery. There is one new verse this time around, in the form of a new grille snatched from the high-lux Rams and covered with the outrageous blue paint. I think this detail is fabulous.
See what I mean? They hooked me again. Ram knows there are plenty of customers out there just like me – someone who’s enjoying their existing truck and kinda-sorta-maybe interested in a new one but not wanting to pull the trigger on a machine that’s fundamentally identical to the one they already have. Then, BAM, a buzz model appears with a bright color and a unique grille and suddenly we find ourselves unable to wait for the upcoming 2019 model.
It’s a smart play. It’s also a smart play to keep the machine churning after the new-style Ram debuts in January. If the spy shots are any indication, more than a few existing owners will pick up a new copy of the old one before it is gone for good, although I do think Ram will pull in some conquest buyers after it flosses the Freightliner out of its teeth.
As for this special edition, standard features on the Hydro Blue Sport include a black-decaled Sport performance hood, new-for-2018 body-colored Sport grille with black billet inserts and black R-A-M letter badge, as well as flat black exterior body-side and tailgate badging. Black bezel projector headlamps and LED tail lights complement look.
Like most other buzz models, the Hydro Blue Sport trim will be available on Ram trucks in a crew cab, short-bed body style equipped with the 5.7-liter HEMI V8. Both two- and four-wheel-drive versions are offered. The two-by gets huge 22-inch rims, while the four-wheeler settles for a set of 20-inch dubs.
The whole package is limited to 2,000 trucks in the American market and will go on sale sometime this month. In the meantime, I’m setting the lead image on this story as my laptop wallpaper.
Go ahead and make fun of Fiat Chrysler for all these special editions if you want, but you can’t argue that Ram knows what its customers want.
[Images: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]