American Special Vehicles (ASV), a co-operative between Walkinshaw (right-hand drive converter) and Ateco Automotive (distributor), is covering all on-road costs, meaning the Ram 2500 is $139,500 drive-away, and the Ram 3500 is $146,500.
Clearly, ASV is keen to clear stocks, though it has sold a fairly impressive 165 units this year so far.
Under the bonnet of both is a 6.7-litre inline-six turbo-diesel engine sourced from Cummins, pumping out a vast 276kW of power at 2800rpm and an earth-moving 1084Nm of torque from 1600rpm.
This is matched to a heavy duty six-speed automatic gearbox. There’s also a BorgWarner transfer case controlling the part-time 4×4 system.
The end result for the Ram is a towing capacity on a conventional 50mm tow ball of 3500kg, a maximum rating of 4500kg on a 70mm ball, or just shy of 7000kg with a fifth-wheel setup.
Inside the six-seat cabin you get a range of luxuries such as leather seats, heated and ventilated in the front with 10-way power adjustment for the driver and six-way adjustment for the front passenger.
You also get a heated and leather-bound steering wheel with integrated audio controls; dual-zone climate control; tinted power windows; an 8.0-inch touchscreen display; nine-speaker sound system with subwoofer and USB/Bluetooth connectivity. There’s also an Australian powerpoint in the fascia.
There’s also six airbags including full-length curtains; electronic stability control; reverse park assist and a rear-view camera, plus an eye-level brake light with cargo camera; a tyre-pressure monitoring system and remote keyless entry.
ASV has full-volume import approval, so it can import as many Ram trucks as it wants and has the exclusive license on these vehicles. They’re fully ADR complaint, and have been designed to match the ex-factory LHD versions in every aspect.
A new assembly line in Melbourne removes the cab from the ladder frame and swaps over the steering wheel to the right. The process involves the fitment of a newly developed steering box, sway bar and new injection moulding (made in Australia by the company that makes the moulding for the Altona-made Toyota Camry) among other items.
Walkinshaw has employed 15 new workers for the full-time assembly line and done 30,000 hours of validation testing, and spent millions of dollars. A full re-engineering job takes only 20 hours.