Yesterday will undoubtedly be a day remembered in the history books of heavy-duty trucks. For the first time ever, RAM has broken 1,000 pound-feet of torque with a factory full-size, ripping past their previous numbers, their competition’s numbers, and setting a new standard for performance. It’s all thanks to their 6.7-liter Cummins high-output, turbo-diesel, which produces the earth shaking, stump ripping 1,000 pound-feet of torque at 1,800 rpm and 400 horsepower at 2,800 rpm.
To achieve these numbers, the cylinder block was constructed from compacted graphite iron, which actually shed 60 pounds over the previous engine despite increases in power. All new cast-iron cylinder heads were also added, with updated exhaust valves, springs, and rocker arms. The pistons shaved down weight as well, but were built from stronger materials with low-friction rings, and connected to the crankshaft through forged connecting rods with redesigned bearings. An improved variable-geometry turbocharger with laminated heat shields and an all-new exhaust manifold finish the job and give the motor up to 33 PSI of boost from the factory. The combination enables their new heavy-duty trucks to tow a mind-boggling 35,100 pounds and haul a 7,680-pound payload.
As you can imagine, diesel lovers everywhere celebrated the achievement. So much so in fact that most of us almost missed the heart-wrenching exclusion of a single line-item on the 2019 spec sheet: a manual transmission. That’s right, as we reveled in the power of this new motor, the last manual full-size truck slipped quietly into the night, marking the extinction of the last holdout.
Of course, many of us saw the writing on the wall. With an ever-dwindling number of people interested in manuals and an even smaller number who can actually drive them, there is little incentive for manufacturers to cater to the lost art. Even the enthusiast-based sports cars and four-wheel drives have suffered thanks to computer-aided shifting and traction control programs that simply outperform even the best of drivers. Realistically, the loss of the 6-speed manual is as a result of the transmission not being rated to the increased torque.
Fortunately, there are still a few vehicles out there for us to cling onto. Options like Jeep’s JL, Toyota’s Tacoma, Nissan’s Frontier, and several others are keeping the flame alive by continuing to produce manual variants of their vehicles in trims other than the base model. For how long they will continue to do so, no one knows, but we CAN say that anyone who wants a new RAM in manual better rush to the dealership now, because the premiums will certainly be going up, and this might be your last chance ever to buy a new full-size truck with a manual—ever.