Lightweight Hauler: 1983 Dodge Rampage

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There have been three similar Dodge Rampage half car half pick ups featured here on Barn Finds over the last 18 months or so. When these were new, they were the first front wheel drive pick ups offered for sale in the US. Based on the very popular Dodge Omni/Plymouth Horizon platform (that was originally developed by Chrysler Europe), the Dodge Rampage was offered from 1982 to 1984, and its sibling Plymouth Scamp was sold in 1983.

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I never paid much attention to these little pickups then, as I did not need a truck that looked like a car, but apparently they handled pretty well and got incredibly good gas mileage, equipped with the then ubiquitous Mopar 2.2 litre four cylinder engine that produced all of 84 horsepower. When first launched in 1982, the manual was a four speed, but starting in 1983, Dodge and Plymouth offered a much nicer to drive five speed transmission along with a three speed Torqueflite automatic.

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These little haulers were fairly lightweight, weighing in around 2300 pounds, and well equipped could be purchased for just around $7500, which is only $18,150 in today’s dollars, making these trucks a bit of a bargain, it seems. While the amount of bed space in these trucks is limited, they had advantages over trucks in terms of comfort and economy of operation. In 1982, Dodge was able to sell 17,636 Rampages; in 1983 sales fell to 8,033 as the Scamp took some of its sibling’s business away, and then in its last year of production, in 1984, with the Scamp gone, Rampage sales rebounded to 11,732 units.

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Now that it’s been almost 35 years since these cars were built, they’ve developed a following and might even be considered collectible. They are certainly economical to own and operate, as long as they have escaped the dreaded tin worm, their surest enemy.

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This particular Rampage looks amazingly solid and original, with only 89,214 miles claimed for it by its seller. It’s for sale in Monroe, Connecticut on Craigslist with an ambitious asking price of $7,500. According to the seller, this is a “rare” “Limited Edition” though from what I can tell from some basic research, all 1983 Rampages came with the fake hood scoop and graphics package that appears on this truck. If there is someone knowledgeable about Rampages among our readers, please confirm or deny my understanding. In any case, this example does have a five speed transmission, which certainly makes it more fun to drive and thus more desirable.

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And it does appear from the photos to be in pretty good shape. It comes with a nice collection of extra parts. I’d want to know a bit more about the condition of the body and undercarriage if I were to be a potential buyer, however.

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So is there really a market for this original condition Dodge Rampage? I’m not the buyer for this car/truck combination, but I can certainly understand the attraction it might hold for someone else. Let us know what you think about this – it is potentially a collector car you can drive and enjoy, and even put to work once in awhile, though doubtless more attractive at a significantly lower price!

If you are interested in these cars (trucks), there is a nice article on Hemmings.com about them from 2013.

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Comments

  1. MorganW Morgan Winter Member

    Not sure that every ’83 Rampage came with the fake scoop and graphics…I don’t see a scoop on the vehicle featured in your article (the Scamp in the pic does have a scoop) , also, see related article: http://barnfinds.com/1983-dodge-rampage/

  2. Andy Frobig

    The VW Rabbit pickup beat these to market by four years as the first FWD pickup built and sold in the US. I still see them about once every two years, and it seems like all the Rabbit pickups that still run are diesels.

  3. Paul M.

    Hello, I do know one thing not all 83 Rampages had the hood scoop. I did own one. It was very basic, had power steering and brakes no air and automatic trans. At this time I have an 84 which I believe is kind of rare. This one has the 2.2L motor 5 speed manual trans, p/s, p/b, factory air and cruise control. First one I have seen with cruise and a manual trans. The 1.6L motor VW made in them years was the worst motor I have ever seen. Chrysler used that motor in some of it’s 80’s model cars. Sad to say I owned a couple

  4. Howard Bishop

    I have 2 Rampage Pickups,,,1 is 1982 (Red) not running..an engine fire at some time turned this into a parts car, The other is a 1983…(Gold) with a 5 speed manual…it runs, drives and stops and currently registered in California. It has a factory shell….it was owned by the local Dodge Dealer as his daily driver….97,770 miles. No rust in either. Paint is failing on both. Selling them as a pair. $ 2200 both.
    Lots of pictures….if interested.

    Like 1
    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Mortensen Staff

      Hi Howard, please consider listing your Rampages on the site as a classified: https://barnfinds.com/sell/

    • John Wiley

      Hi Howard: I might be interested in those pickups. Write me back at my e-mail if they’re still available. Thanks

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