Easy Project? 1978 Dodge Ramcharger

I recently wrote about a 1982 Dodge Ram being a bargain compared to its Ford and GM counterparts. The same seems to be true for the full-size SUVs based on those trucks, like this 1978 Dodge Ramcharger here. This one can be found here on eBay in Lancaster, Texas. After 23 bids the current high bid is $6,600, but the reserve has not been met.

The Ramcharger was an all-new model for the 1974 model year. It originally went head-to-head with the Chevrolet Blazer and GMC Jimmy, then later the Ford Bronco when it reached full-size status. Plymouth also received its own variant, the Trail Duster, which was discontinued after the 1980 model year. Also no longer seen after the 1980 model year was the fully removable top.

The exterior of this Ramcharger is wearing, what I believe is, a nice weathered look. There’s plenty of black and white paint left, but its time spent in Las Vegas is evident. The seller says it “has one area of rust as pictured, behind the passenger side rocker panel.” It looks like there are some scratches and dings, especially on the driver side, but I don’t see anything major. I love the simplicity of the black steel wheels with poverty caps wrapped with BF-Goodrich All-Terrain T/A tires. The seller does have the factory original steel wheels if that’s your preferred look.

The interior is very spartan, with vinyl or rubber floor covering and lots of painted metal.  Through 1976 only the driver seat was standard equipment, so I’ll view this as an evolution of the buyers’ actual use of these full-size SUVs. The red vinyl bucket seats are cracking, but the seller is including the material needed to have them recovered. The back seat looks good.

Under the hood is a 318 cubic-inch V8 backed by a column-shifted automatic transmission. Four-wheel drive is engaged by a floor-mounted shifter. The seller claims this Ramcharger has just shy of 75k original miles and tells us it is “running and driving.” The only other mechanical detail they offer is that the gauges work sporadically.

Ramchargers, especially these early versions with a fully removable top, seems to be earning some respect these days. Production numbers were fairly limited, so finding an original one like this that looks like it needs minor work isn’t always easy. Do you think the Ramcharger is a good alternative to the Bronco and Blazer/Jimmy?

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Comments

  1. Ian C

    I had a beat up ’78 with the 440 and a/t. Took the back seat out and used it for hauling firewood pulling my JetSki, and just driving in bad weather. It got 8mpg empty, and 8mpg with the entire back end filled up (floor to ceiling, side to side, front to back) with firewood. It didn’t care who you were… you got 8mpg and you liked it whether you liked it or not! These were some tough old oxen.

    Like 8
  2. David Bailey

    Actually, I think the Mopars were much better looking than the Ford or GM types. Had an 1988 2 tone blue. It had the infamous spring loaded RAM hood ornament, 3-D. Kids would cut the spring and make a type of belt buckle or necklace. Chrysler then went with a smaller immoveable hood ornament finally settling with a 2-D badge.

    Like 1
  3. David G

    These come in two trim levels, Custom and Special Edition (SE). SE trim gets you carpet instead of the rubber flooring, along with carpet on the side panels in back and on the door bottoms, and in ’78-’80 models fancy padded vinyl door panels. I have a ’78 Ramcharger Custom similar to this one, but with many additional factory options. These are great vehicles that last forever with very minimal expenditures other than basic scheduled maintenance. Timeless styling as well. New owner will be very happy with this SUV.

    Like 1
  4. bob carroll

    that truck in that condition was a $2,000-$2,500 truck two years ago. they are getting expensive. i have an 87 that took 4 years to find what i wanted.

    Like 1
  5. K. R. V.

    Oh yea! These are definitely nicer than a Bronco from this era, while giving the Blazer a good run. These were available for a while with a 440/4brl, then finally a 360/4 brl, that either would out pull whatever the Ford or Chevy came with! I remember back when these were new, not many around, just as I prefer. But I ended up with a new Scout II TERRA! But a good friend had the only rig that could out-drag my Terra 4×4, 345/4 brl HD 727, with 3:51 Posi. That was a Ramcharger 440/4 brl. That was built with headers and Edelbrock intake tricks.

  6. David G

    Ended at $7,450.00 Reserve was not met.

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