A sport truck concept with an entombed bumble bee.
Car manufacturers like to respond to the pronouncements made by competing makes by answering with new and improved products of their own. In the 1960s, the Camaro was Chevrolet’s answer to the Ford Mustang. In the 1970s, Ford and Chevrolet partnered with Japanese manufacturers to supply small pickup trucks to them before embarking on a model campaign of their own. In the 1980s, Ford pushed back against the rising tide of midsize sedan competitors by launching the Taurus.
Ram 1500 Rumble Bee
These days, battles are being fought across all segments from the tiniest city car to largest pickup trucks. Earlier this month, Ford announced that its all-new F-150 Tremor would go on sale this fall, a sport truck retailing from $38,000. Not to be outdone, Ram has rolled out its concept 1500 Rumble Bee pickup truck, a model that if built would challenge the new Ford truck. The Ram concept truck was introduced at the 2013 Woodward Dream Cruise in Detroit last week.
Fittingly, the Rumble Bee features a Drone Yellow finish with bee graphics on the exterior striping and inside on the seat covers. If the name sounds familiar it is — inspiration was taken from the Dodge Super Bee muscle cars of the 1960s. Moreover it marks the 10th anniversary of the original Rumble Bee, then a Dodge product.
Sport Truck Platform
The Rumble Bee is based on the Ram 1500 R/T, itself a performance truck. Under the hood is a familiar 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 engine rated at 395 horsepower and 407 foot-pounds of torque. It is paired with an eight-speed TorqueFlight automatic transmission, a ZF-supplied shifter. Its a two-door, rear-wheel drive model.
Ram sought to place the Drone Yellow color schema nearly everywhere — on the bumpers, the flares and on the Mopar ground effects kit. An all-new “Speed Bee” design is plastered on both sides of the Rumble Bee, set within a gloss black stripe that fades into honeycomb.
That black stripe flows from front to rear, around the top of the bed and over the Mopar tonneau cover to commemorate HEMI-powered vehicles that dominated the racing scene in the late 1960s to early 1970s. Gloss black, 24-inch Vellano VRH custom wheels and a 2-inch drop supplied by King Suspension enhances handing performance and improves overall appearance with the help of a reservoir shock at each wheel. A gloss black finish coats the grille, hood vents, badging, fuel door and the dual exhaust tailpipes, a theme found on both sides of the truck.
Bumble Bee Encasement
Back inside, the color and graphics schema include Drone Yellow leather sport mesh seats with two-tone yellow/light-grey stitching, while “Rumble Bee” lettering and Ram logos are affixed to chairs, the floor mats and on door bolsters.
There is also an interesting design choice that you haven’t seen before: an actual bumble bee encased within the transmission shifter knob. It is bathed in amber and the knob lights up to show both the bee and the honeycomb patterned background. The designers also installed a pair of buttons below the knob control exhaust cutouts to bypass the Mopar cat-back dual-exhaust system, what brings in the full sound of the engine at what Ram describes as loud and still louder decibels.
10th Anniversary Model
Ram says that the unique honeycomb pattern is shared with door trim and the dash, where a milled aluminum “10th Anniversary” commemorative badge serves as the truck’s identification. So, despite being a concept, we’re likely to see limited editions of this bright yellow Rumble Bee truck in Ram showrooms this fall. Your move, Chevrolet.
Photo courtesy of the Chrysler Group.