I think I've been cast as Lemuel Gulliver in the adaptation of a Jonathan Swift novel. Last week I was a giant testing the tiny Alfa Romeo 4C Spider in Lilliput. This week I've been driving around in a Brobdingnagian Ram 1500 diesel.
This thing is huge. I may be 6-foot-5-inches but, when I climb into the driver's seat, I look like a six-year-old scrambling onto a bunk bed. Meanwhile, my 5-foot-5-inch wife is looking in the passenger-side door for a step ladder. Which is about the only option the luxurious, $52,620 Laramie model doesn't come equipped with.
For an auto racer like me, the jump from Lilliput to Brobdingnag is actually not as disorienting as it was for Lemuel. It's a normal occurrence on weekends where 8,000-pound, diesel-powered, heavy-duties tow 1,500-pound race machines to the track.
So what better way to test the Ram than to drive it to Indianapolis Motor Speedway?
For years my team has towed my pint-sized, 1966 Porsche 906 to the races with a 2003 Ram 3500 Heavy Duty. Talk about huge. Our 3500's 5.9-liter, Cummins diesel inline-6 puts out 305 horsepower and 555 pound-feet of torque (the '16 model ups the torque to a staggering 900 pound-feet) compared to the 1500's 240-horse, 420-pound feet, turbocharged, 3.0-liter "ecodiesel." Crank the ol' Cummins up and the ground shakes, trees topple, car alarms go off in three counties. This is a work truck, a purpose-built diesel meant for pulling stumps — and cars.
It's also a baseline for how refined modern turbo-diesels have become even as they deliver plenty of utility.