T-Rex, aka Tyrannosaurus, was a bipedal carnivore with a massive skull balanced by a long, heavy tail. Its forelimbs were small and unusually powerful for their size, and had two clawed digits. Measuring up to 43 feet in length, the T-Rex was one of the largest meat-eating dinosaurs.

Like the actual T-Rex, the new Bremach T-Rex is strong and imposing. Bremach has been building trucks in northern Italy since 1950. In 1970, the company began devoting its engineering skills to four-wheel-drive vehicles, mostly sold in Europe, Africa, and Latin America. That explains why you haven't seen them on the road.

Bremach USA, the North American OEM, is about to change that. Currently, it imports the cab shell and chassis assemblies for a variety of applications. The finished vehicle is manufactured at its Southern California factory. As drivetrain specialists, Bremach offers the T-Rex with powerplants that include natural gas, diesel, gasoline, and 100-percent electric, with other fuels such as propane to follow.

The standard gas engine will be GM's 6.0-liter Vortec V-8. It has 323 horsepower at 4600 rpm and 373 pound-feet of torque at 4400 rpm. The initial diesel engine will be the Cummins 5.9-liter, 24-valve I-6, available with outputs ranging from 235 horsepower and 460 pound-feet to 325/610. Sold as a "Remanufactured Vehicle," the Cummins will carry a full warranty, and might not require ultra-low-sulfur diesel, urea injection, or need to meet some of the other CARB and EPA restrictions on 2011 diesel trucks.

The fully electric model will have some range limitations, but the VLV (Very Low Voltage) brushless, permanent magnet DC motor operates at only 114 volts. It develops about 300 horses, and can hum down the highway at 65 mph with a 100- to 200-mile range, depending on speed and load. The truck could be ideal for short delivery or dock work.

The series hybrid T-Rex model uses the VLV motor as a generator. When the 100-kWh Li-ion battery pack reaches a specified limit, a 2.2-liter GM Ecotec gasoline engine rated at 149 horsepower at 5600 rpm fires up to recharge the battery and power the drivetrain. The VLV motor uses a regenerative braking charge system being developed by Bremach USA for Bremach of Italy.