Santa’s Sleigh is Powered by a Kilo of Torque

Santa’s Sleigh is Powered by a Kilo of Torque

Christian NathlerDec 19, '19

At the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, Santa’s sleigh is not powered by eight reindeer but by a pickup truck with 1,000 pound-feet of torque. 

No holiday is as quintessentially American as Thanksgiving. 

So of course we throw the world’s biggest parade to mark the occasion. 

Every year, dozens of extravagant floats meander through Manhattan as part of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. There are larger-than-life balloonicles, marching bands, celebrity performances, and good vibes all around. Around 3.5 million New Yorkers line the streets to get a glimpse of the festivities. The nationally televised broadcast draws another 50 million viewers – twice as many as the opening ceremony of the last Olympics. 

Originally devised in 1924 as a Christmas parade, Santa remains the star of the show. He trails the procession atop a green and gilded sleigh, ringing in the holiday season like the Pope. 

Now, this isn’t your run-of-the-mill toboggan. Macy’s Santa rides a 400-horsepower whip, which is around 2700 reindeerpower (we did the math) in seasonal terms. It is equipped with a 6.7-liter turbo diesel Cummins engine and can tow up to 35,100 pounds. That’s 260 Peloton bikes, or 1,200 KitchenAid mixers. It’s hard to believe that Santa’s float used to be pulled by actual horses. 

Indeed, Santa is not immune to gentrification: his sleigh is powered by a Ram 3500 souped up with literal bells and whistles and eight reindeer (base model does not include animals). The vehicle is topped by a beautiful winter wonderland, like a snow-covered locomotive. You can’t actually tell that Ram is behind the scenes, but, like a vegan, they’ll tell you about it. 

“This is truly a cultural moment and in this season of thanks, we are honored to be just a small part of the magic,” said Reid Bigland, Head of Ram Brand, in a press release.

Ram and Macy’s are a match made under the mistletoe and have been going steady for the past five years. Every parade float this year was brought to life by a Ram, which is largely thanks to its 1,000-pound-feet-of-torque Cummins engine. Torque is the engine’s rotational power; it gives the truck pull. When Tim “The Toolman” Taylor grunts, he speaks torque, and it is the only metric that matters in an argument over whose truck can beat up whose. 

In January of 2019, the Ram Heavy Duty was the first truck to post four digits of torque. But muscles are flexing across the competition. The new Ford Super Duty boasts a best-in-class 1,050 pound-feet of torque, which is good for hauling 37,000 pounds of pretty much whatever you want. Tesla’s Cybertruck, at an astonishing 800 horsepower, is also projected to reach the kilotorque barrier. Both the Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD and GMC Sierra 3500HD can pull 35,000-plus pounds, even at half the torque. 

It begs the question: Which pickup will be the official truck of next year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade? Ram has the legacy advantage. By pure pulling power, it would have to be a Ford. And if the festivities should take a turn for the avant-garde, Tesla’s the clear favorite.

Until then, we’ll keep you updated on the torque wars. 

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