25K Miles? 1984 Dodge Rampage

We have heard it before, “Why arent there any small pickups anymore?” And by that, I don’t mean a $40,000 four-door truck that’s the smallest one offered by any particular manufacturer, I mean a small pickup or even a car-based truck such as this 1984 Dodge Rampage. This one can be found here on eBay in Lindenhurst, New York with a $7,995 buy it now price or you can make an offer.

The Dodge Rampage was made from 1982 to 1984 and there was a Plymouth Scamp version for 1983. They were based on Chrysler’s L-Body platform and you probably recognize the Rampage as a truck version of the Dodge Omni 024 or Charger. They were stretched a few inches which made for a little better ride. This is seriously all the pickup that I would ever need, which is why I’m one of those people who are wondering why there can’t be a small pickup again, even a car-based one. The Subaru Baja is about the last one that I can think of offhand and that was a decade ago now.

One of my favorite jobs after high school in 1980 was washing and parking cars in a four-level indoor parking garage at a medical building. The doctors and dentists had the best cars, everything from a 1965 Plymouth Barracuda to a Porsche 924 and a new Lexus LS400, not to mention a gaggle of new Cadillacs and Lincolns. Something tells me that there’s a little money in being a doctor or dentist! One morning, a plastic surgeon drove in with his new Dodge Rampage. It was about the strangest and coolest vehicle that I had ever seen.

The doctor’s Rampage was a 5-speed model but the one for sale here has an automatic. The interior looks like new as does the exterior of this car. The bed looks good but it isn’t perfect, Hey, it’s a truck – or a car-truck. The original owner used it for his electrical business and then passed away and it went into storage. The current owner bought it and had the carb rebuilt and a new exhaust put on and they say that there is zero rust and everything works other than the tach.

This engine is Chrysler’s 2.2L inline-four which had 96 hp. The company sure didn’t waste any money on dressing it up, did they? Maybe that’s a good thing, all you can see on most new vehicles today is a big plastic shield over everything but the dipstick, it’s nice to be able to see where everything is for a change. This looks like a really nice example. Have any of you owned a Dodge Rampage?

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Comments

  1. Bakyrdhero Member

    “This is seriously all the pickup that I would ever need”
    I just thought back on everything I’ve used my Tundra for in the last 7 years and this little truck would be able to do all of it with the exception of the pea stone I brought home last year. With the smaller bed I may have to take a few extra trips to the dump with leaves in the fall, but I’d have fun doing it. Nice little truck.

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  2. irocrobb

    There is two big Ford extended cabs on my small street I live. Likely 55,000 Canadian a piece and I have never saw anything in the back of them. I guess its just a status symbol for most. This little truck would do them fine for there monthly trip to the dump and Costco.

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  3. Johnmloghry

    Very nice car, but my garage is only 17 feet long. Looks like the selling dealer is concerned about a winning bidder not picking up the car. I really don’t understand a bidder paying the upfront cost then not following through with the deal. Oh well, once burned twice learned.
    God bless America

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  4. CanuckCarGuy

    I liked these back in their day, and I like them even more now…great little runabout for errands, and just plain driving something different.

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  5. Brian Snyder

    I read car website forums, but never comment. Now Scotty is getting me to comment for the 4th or 5th time in the last few weeks.

    I bought a 1983 Rampage when I finished college for the express purpose of travelling for a year. It had a cap, and I literally lived in it for a year. I was longer than the bed, and had to sleep corner to corner. I headed west from Ontario through the Canadian west, then north to the Yukon and into Alaska. The snow chased me south, and I lived in Vancouver for a couple months.

    Somehow, the US border guards let a 22 year old kid with long hair and a truck full of belongings into the States. I headed down the west coast, lived in L.A. for a bit, then down into Mexico for a nice drive through the countryside. Once I surfaced back into the States, I spent the entire month of March in Daytona Beach because I could never afford March Break while I was in school. I was hanging out with a bunch of Aussies by this time, and once we hit Washington DC, I was out of money. I made a dash for my cousins farm in Pennsylvania and mooched off of them for a week before the 9 hour drive back to Ontario.

    It was the adventure of a lifetime, all in a pickup truck no one considered a real truck. Great gas mileage, no mechanical problems except shearing the synchro in 5th going as fast as I could on the Bonneville Salt Flats (I double clutched for the next 2 years until I could afford to get it fixed), and memories that I still cherish in middle age.

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    • Scotty Gilbertson Scotty Gilbertson Staff

      Ha, thanks, Brian! We’re onto you now, thanks for the great comments and keep ’em coming!

  6. Bakyrdhero Member

    Great story Brian. Thanks for sharing and sounds like a blast!

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  7. cunnanm

    I have owned 2 2.2 1984’s. One was a 5-speed and the other an auto. You can guess which one I liked best. My Dad bought the 5-speed new and totaled it. We bought it back and I fixed it with body shop welds and junkyard body panels. I drove the heck out of it and it was a blast. Dad junked it when I had it stored in his yard. It had no rust and a bed floor with little use and great paint. He was getting older and hated looking at it. I had put 15″ wheels and tires on the front, I couldn’t afford tires for the rear so I kept the 14″ on the rear. It was raced against typical cars of the day and I learned to shift that 5-speed. The auto was a dog and just used for transportation. Sold that one to help pay for school.

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  8. ls

    I never owned one of these Ramages, but I recently owned a 81 Ford Durango that was originally a Ford Fairmont converted to a pickup by National Coach Works. I wanted to keep it, but it needed too much work more than my pocket book could afford so I sold it.

  9. SubGothius

    “Why aren’t there any small pickups anymore?” They still exist, just not in the US market anymore, no thanks to our absurd CAFE regulatory scheme:

    https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/10/how-cafe-killed-compact-trucks-and-station-wagons/

    Rather than just taxing all vehicles on their emissions and fuel consumption like the EU does, thereby making more efficient vehicles more price-competitive, CAFE indexes fuel economy targets to a vehicle’s “footprint” size, and holds trucks to laxer MPG targets than cars.

    A compact pickup with acceptable performance that can’t meet the CAFE target for its footprint winds up taxed into the price range of a larger truck that offers more bang for the same buck.

    Likewise, a tall and short gas-guzzling SUV “truck” winds up cheaper than a lower and longer station wagon with otherwise similar cargo capacity and equipment, which is why most wagons we still get anymore tend to be from premium marques, to help justify their CAFE gas-guzzler penalty.

  10. SubGothius

    My dad had an ’83 Rampage for several years, black with red pinstripe and machined-face turbine-style alloy wheels, alloy bed rails, and a vinyl tonneau cover over the bed. Served well for all the hauling duty he ever needed for projects as a homeowner and church groundskeeper, and meanwhile was a sharp lookin’, fun to drive, and fuel efficient daily commuter to work.

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