Andy Grysko has always been a truck guy, having owned numerous Dodge Dakotas and Rams. Despite his familiarity, Andy wasn't prepared for what he saw at the 2003 Chicago Auto Show.
In the Dodge booth at McCormick Place sat its latest high-performance pickup, the Ram SRT-10.
"I automatically fell in love with it," the Naperville man says. "It was the ultimate truck."
Truth be told, Andy did consider another alternative. The SRT-10 wasn't the only hot hauler available that year. Ford's SVT Lightning caught Andy's eye, too. In the end, the Ram drove off with his heart.
"The updated body style really looked great," Andy says. "It was the one I had to have."
In 2005, Andy went truck shopping and headed straight toward a red SRT-10 while visiting a dealership. "I sat in it a million times and walked around and around it, checking it out," he says. In the end, the price was a tad too rich.
He ended up buying a yellow Ram pickup packing a Hemi engine, but never forgot the SRT-10.
The enthusiast decided to go hunting again in 2007. "It was now or never," Andy says. "They had stopped making them. I knew I had to find one before they were all gone."
Production may have ceased but it still took Andy several years to find the perfect one. "I traveled all over Illinois and to Indiana and Ohio but none were up to my standards," he recalls. "They all had scratches and dents."
The right one surfaced in an unlikely location: Andy's daily commute. In 2009, a Lincoln dealership on Ogden Avenue had one. Andy had been driving right by it for weeks.
"I was surprised it was so close but still skeptical it would have high mileage and be beat," Andy says. He stopped by and was impressed by the truck's condition. So much so, he made the purchase.
While Dodge had done plenty to make the truck stand out, Andy wanted to do more.
"I had a concept of what I wanted done," he says. "I figured I would do it all in the first couple of years but I couldn't wait. I did it all that winter."
The vehicle was lowered to give it better road handling and traction bars were installed for better grip. Andy also installed a cold air intake and a polished intake manifold along with a host of other components.
"I didn't want it to become a Christmas tree with an overabundance of mods," Andy says. "I'm very happy with how it came out."
It's hard not to be satisfied with a vehicle like the SRT-10. It's a brute of a beast and, while it looks like a truck, it packs Viper tech underneath. Most notably, the Viper's V-10 engine has been shoehorned between the front fenders.
"It's an amazing and totally different breed of vehicle," Andy says. "It's plain fun to drive. Every time you press the starter you're in heaven."
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