There is, as we speak, a slow but inexorable exodus to Texas
. Five of the ten fastest-growing cities in the United States between 2011 and 2012 were in Texas, while the state as a whole attracted over 200,000 new residents over the same period.
People love Texas it seems, and not just the Texans themselves.
Now there are plenty of good reasons to move to the Lone Star State
- jobs, nightlife, low cost of living - but by far and away the one most relevant to us here at Car Throttle is so you have the perfect excuse to buy a pickup truck
. Hell, it's a big state, so you've got the room. Gas is still relatively cheap. And all your new Texan friends have one, so do you really want to be the guy with the Camry?
Not just any
truck though. Because you're reading this site, we're gonna assume you aren't just going to settle for the latest lolloping whale of a truck, but something a little more edgy. A little more stylish. Something fast.
The collection below should do it. In no particular order, these are the five pickups that make us want to move to Texas.
Ford F-150 SVT Lightning
The Ford Lightning hasn't yet been one of our 90s hero cars
, but maybe it should be. Whether you prefer the boxy '93 model or the later curvaceous '99, you're getting a V8-powered beast that majors on performance but isn't averse to the odd corner either.
It's the '99 cars that'll satiate your performance desire the best, the 240-horse 5.8-litre V8 replaced with a 360-380hp 5.4-litre supercharged lump. It's fairly compact by full-size truck standards too. Best served in red.
One thing we love about performance pickups is their unlikeliness. Just like a big supercharged Jaguar XJ or a BMW X5 M, you're pushing something huge and lumbering down the road at the same speeds as something lithe and compact. That must have been what it was like in 1991 when GMC unveiled the Syclone - a truck that chewed up and spat out Ferraris and Porsches
, at least in a straight line.
Yeah, those European exotics weren't as fast back then as they are today, but you could hardly call a 5.3-second 0-60 run slow, and that's exactly what the Syclone could do. A turbocharged six-pot and four-wheel drive helped here. So suitable were they for going quickly that in 1992 a trio of Syclones replaced the usual sporting fare as course cars for the Indy 500.
Dodge RAM SRT10
Recognise that "SRT10" tag? Yep, it's also found on the Dodge Viper. You know what's coming next: This truck shares an engine with one of the most brutal road cars ever to hit the streets
. If that's not enough reason to buy one then we don't know what is.
Need more info? How does 8.3 litres of V10 sound? With 510 horsepower it's enough to shave a few tenths off the Syclone's acceleration benchmark, but the sight of the SRT10 doing its maximum 153 mph top speed must be like watching the world's fattest man sail past Usain Bolt in a 100m race.
Chevrolet El Camino SS
There's a curve ball for ya'.
While the others on this list are traditional trucks through and through, the El Camino is a prime lump of 'Merican muscle wearing some pickup fancy dress. As a child of the 70s it'll make every journey feel like a game of Driver
, while its 450-horse, 500-pounds-feet big block V8 converts your rear tyres from tangible objects into clouds of smoke.
Many of its mechanicals came from Chevy's other products like the Chevelle, making it cheap to churn out. Nowadays it's anything but cheap, and unlike the others here you'd probably feel a bit bad carrying stuff around in it. But just think of that Texan respect.
Ford F-150 SVT Raptor
Yeah, it's another Ford, but as the car that inspired this list we couldn't leave out the Raptor. It's pretty much a Baja race truck for the road, yet you can stomp into a Ford dealer and order one off the lot. Not that they'll see you leave, as you'll be doing so in a massive cloud of smoke and noise.
All that smoke and noise comes courtesy of a 411-horsepower 6.2-litre V8, but the Raptor's looks will get your attention first - it makes a regular F-150 look like a car for kids.
Huge suspension travel, a huge blacked-out grille and tyres to make an earth-mover jealous - now that's
how you do a truck.