ZZ Top Is Ruining America('s Special Edition Ram Trucks)

zz top is ruining america 8216 s special edition ram trucks

As we reported in the middle of the night, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles will show two new Ram special edition pickup trucks at the 2017 Chicago Auto Show this week.

One truck brings the 1500 Night package to the 2500 Heavy Duty. The other is the Ram’s 1500 Copper Sport.

Or is it?

Hours after the embargo lifted and Matthew Guy’s story went live on TTAC, we received a press release from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Canada’s PR department. Our eagle-eyed managing editor, Mark Stevenson, noticed something peculiar.

“New Limited Edition 2017 Ram 1500 Copperhead Sport Launched,” FCA Canada announced.

And why won’t the Copperhead Sport be the Copperhead Sport in the United States?

Don’t blame Steve Earle. Blame ZZ Top frontman Billy Gibbons.

After Mr. Stevenson noted the seemingly unnecessary four-letter addition to the Copper Sport’s Canadian name, TTAC’s newest historian-in-chief, Steph Willems, recalled Dodge’s use of the Copperhead nameplate in the past.

At Detroit’s 1997 North American International Auto Show, during the DaimlerChrysler era, the Copperhead Concept “was conceived as a sort of Viper lite, –a convertible two-seater offering the handling and open-air fun of Dodge’’s brutish V10 sports car, but with a V6 engine and a practical price,” according to Dodge’s official blog.

The Copperhead Concept was never brought to production, although Motor Trend quite optimistically thought the Copperhead, “might feel considerably like the new Jaguar XK8.”

In fact, the Copperhead name died, as well, and the Copperhead Concept became the self-explanatory Dodge Concept Vehicle. Not exactly Giulia Quadrifoglio levels of allure, but whatever.

DaimlerChrysler was forced to pull the Copperhead name off the 1997 show car because ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons already had a 1950 Ford called Kopperhead, referred to in some parts as the Kopperhed.

Two decades later, there are individuals at the former Chrysler Group who are evidently still in love with the Copperhead name. (It’s been used as a paint name on the 2005 Viper, 2012 Avenger, 2012 Grand Caravan, and 2013 Charger, if not more often.) Forget the sub-Viper sports car — the Viper’s dead, too. Why not stick the Copperhead name on a truck?

Except Ram can’t, at least not in the United States Of Freedom To Do Almost Whatever.

But when America knocks a designation down, label lovers head north, to the land of the Buick Allure and the Pontiac Wave and the Hyundai Santa Fe XL.

FCA Canada spokesperson Daniel Labre provided TTAC with confirmation this morning. “There is no Copperhead trademark registration in Canada, which is why FCA Canada is able to use the name in our market.”

But why does FCA Canada want to add head to copper? “”There really isn’t anything more to say [other] than we chose that name,” Labre told TTAC. “It’s a buzz model/special package so the Copperhead name will not be on the vehicle anywhere.”

Maybe a 62-year-old folk singer can explain why FCA Canada’s nomenclature administrators feel it’s necessary or desirable to use the full title when their U.S. counterparts must do without.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.
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4 of 21 comments
  • Gkhize Gkhize on Feb 08, 2017

    Folk singer? Somebody needs some Tres Hombres.

  • DearS DearS on Feb 09, 2017

    I like that Dodge has Copper as one of their official non official colors. Its different and goes well with the Dodge brand. If I had this truck I'd just order the badges or stickers from Canada.

  • Daniel J Also, the additional 20K is spread out over a loan, which could end up closer to 24K.
  • Wolfwagen When will GM and Dodge/Ram come out with a BOF 2 door sport utility? Im not one that jumps on the first year new vehicle bandwagon, but for a new Ramcharger, I'd sleep out in front of a dealership for days to be first in line for preordering (or infront of my computer for hours)
  • Wolfwagen Is it me or does the front end look like a smaller silverado?
  • MQHokie Who decided moving all headlight control to the touchscreen was a good idea? I assume this means no manual high beam control anymore, so you're at the mercy of the automatic system that gets fooled by street lights, porch lights, sign reflections etc. Not to mention a good software bug or a light sensor failure might render the lights inoperable. With all the restrictions the NHTSA has placed on USA headlight design over the years, it amazes me that this is even legal.
  • Teddyc73 The Bronco just doesn't have enough editions and models.