At some point in every little boy’s life he sees a dump truck or construction vehicle rolling down the road and thinks that is what he wants to drive when he grows up. Adding to these dreams would be the recent “Transformers” movie which used a GMC Topkick as the “transformed” robot named Ironhide. Even though the super-sized Topkick is nearly as impractical an everyday driver as a cement truck, it does satisfy the needs of a very specific number of people and is as close to living out that particular boyhood dream as you can get.
This is no exaggeration, the Topkick and its Chevrolet Kodiak equivalent are often used as the base vehicle for dump trucks, moving trucks, school buses, and shuttle buses or and as tow vehicle of large boats and campers. Monroe Truck Equipment builds 750 of these pickups just down the road from where the Kodiak and TopKick chassis roll off the assembly line. Several cab and drivetrain configurations of the TopKick are available, each based on either the C4500 or C5500. Both the C4500 and C5500 get the same Duramax 6.6-liter turbo-diesel that’s available in heavy-duty Sierras and Silverados, or an available 325 horsepower gasoline-powered 8.1-liter V-8. The transmission mated to the diesel is a five-speed automatic built by Allison. Weighing in at 11,300 pounds, 300 horses and 520 pound-feet of torque are capable of propelling the Topkick to 60 mph in 14.4 seconds with a top speed that is limited to 75 mph. Not that you would want to go much faster, especially without carrying or hauling anything, the truck is setup to be able to handle a 5000 pound payload and tow 14,300 pounds, meaning the ride can be generously described as harsh. Not to mention that this behemoth gets 7 mpg. The similarities to big rigs is further apparent in the interior of the Topkick which Monroe has gussied up with thick carpeting, fake wood trim and leather seats that independently float on air bladders-just like on BJ and the Bear! Perhaps the most impressive feature is the view. Not often do you have the opportunity to look down on a Hummer H2 from inside another vehicle. The price for looking down on nearly everything else on the road starts at $70,000 and climbs north to $90,000 depending on options. Better yet, you’ll be able to look eye to eye with most truckers.