77k-Mile Survivor: 1984 Dodge Rampage

I find it odd to imagine that any vehicle from the 1980s other than sports cars or full-sized trucks is “collectible”, but apparently someone in the southern United States does not, and has recently released this car from their garaged collection to be sold here on eBay out of Clearwater, Florida. It’s at a bid of $4500 at the time this is published. Let’s look a little closer at this pocket-sized pickup…

In the late 1950s, GM and Ford introduced Americans to what our Australian friends call a “Ute”, or two-door car-based pickup. I use the term “pickup” here, since they weren’t quite as capable as a traditional truck per se, but they did do pickup-stuff well. As time went on, the El Camino and Ranchero went through many changes and saw sales successes, even in the face of increasing competition from more-economical foreign alternatives like the Rabbit-based VW Caddy and Leone-based Subaru Brat – but all the while, Chrysler had nothing comparable on offer to the public. Granted, Chrysler did start working on such a thing in the 1970s, while designing the Horizon/Omni in Europe, but by the time they got their act together to manufacture and sell the Charger/Turismo-based vehicle, Americans were turning away from the idea of a Ute. Rampages (and Plymouth Scamps) were only made and sold for three years (1982-1984), and they were somewhat capable vehicles, but as Hemmings said in this article from 2013, they were largely “…too little, too late…

Even with their half-ton payload capacity and fuel economy in the 30-mpg range, they all came in front-wheel-drive with an anemic, carbureted 2.2-liter inline-four and choice of three uninteresting transmissions. Chrysler essentially took their existing L-platform vehicle and put a pickup bed on it. We’ve seen others like that since then, mainly the Outback-based Subaru Baja, but none have been successful in the U.S. in the same way that El Camino and Ranchero were.

But enough about that, let’s look closer here. This vehicle is one of only 11,700 made for 1984. The seller tells us that this car was in a private collection, but we don’t know for how long. We’re told that it has traveled 77,000 miles, and from the looks of it, that’s probably true. There’s a split in the dash, the paint is chipping around the factory fake hood scoop, one rear-bumper end cap is missing, and the bed has seen at least a few things hauled in it over time. It apparently runs and drives, it is allegedly clean underneath, and I don’t see signs of rust or body repairs.

These cars, like many other sales flops or out-of-the-ordinary machines, have a decent enthusiast following nowadays, however small and niche they may be. On the other hand, we’ve seen a recent resurgence in popularity of the Malaise-era vehicles, so a decent example like this one might surprise when the auction hammer falls. I myself am one of the weirdos of the world who owns and daily-drives an older niche-market vehicle, so I get why someone would want this. What do YOU think of THIS compact cargo carrier?

 

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Comments

  1. Michael

    Not my cup of tea, but someone might like it. This is in good shape.

    2
  2. chrlsful

    brat, 60s chero, my early bronk, this, the rabbit TDI (1.9) might B my pick of them all…every one needs a light cap to enclose tho (can U tell I’m “a wagon guy’?).

    4
    • Philip Lepel

      One of the many cars I’d add to my eighties car collection. If I had the money to start one. The Omni GLH the Charger Turbo the Daytona, maybe a LeBaron convertible turbo . Ah well I’ll just settle for my 2004 GT Cruiser turbo. But if I had the funds and a big enough garage I’d collect them all.and then maybe a Citation X11…

      1
  3. Brian Scott

    What’s seemingly becoming collectible from the ’80s are vehicles that are pristine condition outliers. I have seen things like an early ’80s Challenger (Mitsubishi) and a D-50 Dodge pick-ups (also a Mitsu) come to mind. Fox Mustangs are on the march, as our MKI VW GTIs. Most people agree that collectability-wise, the GNX tops the list though.

    2
  4. Andrew Franks

    A slow and unique grocery getter, take it to the parts store, whatever. Nothing serious bu interesting in its own way.

    2
  5. TinCanSailor

    Saw one of these at Chryslers at Carlisle with huge wheel tubs, a fuel cell, and a very healthy big block in it. It was nice…

    2
  6. Del

    Very nice

    1
  7. Mr. Midlife

    Bought a base model ’82 Rampage as my first new car. Yes, as cheaply built as all the Chrysler products back then. But it hauled my road race bike and all my race gear across mountain ranges for years. Commonly hauled a full gross load of bikes and camping gear from Los Angeles to Laguna Seca Raceway and took San Marco’s pass as a shortcut – passing traffic wherever passing lanes were available. Wasn’t fast, but good mountain-climbing grunt.

    Finally found and bought one of the rare (218 made at the end of the model run) “California Direct Connection Rampages” a few years ago. It is essentially an unlicensed Shelby edition, but with the pending closure of the model’s production, Dodge opted to forego paying for the Shelby name.

    For it’s time, it was a good-handling useful truck – much better than the Ford Courier it replaced in my carport.

    3
    • SubGothius

      Funny thing, my dad’s Rampage also replaced his prior Ford Courier. It did all the occasional hauling duty he needed as a homeowner and volunteer church groundskeeper, meanwhile serving as a daily work commuter that was both economical and stylish in black with a red pinstripe, turbine-style alloys and alloy bed rails, and a black vinyl tonneau cover over the bed.

      2

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