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El Camino Alternative: 1982 Dodge Rampage

1982 Dodge Rampage

As many of you with older siblings likely know, coveting your brother’s possessions are standard rules of engagement. Despite having a fairly large Matchbox and Hot Wheels collection of my own, I still tried to barter for a few of my elder sibling’s collection, which included the extra-cool “Real Riders” edition of the Dodge Rampage, complete with a dirt bike in the bed and real rubber tires! Well, here’s your (or my) chance to own a pair of life-sized editions, find them here on eBay in California. Thanks to Barn Finds reader Drew V for spotting this twofer!

Rampage Parts Car

The concept of a smaller, efficient two seat vehicle with a bed in the back seems like a perfect alternative to today’s economy cars, which often compromise comfort and space for frugalness and light-weight. It amazes me how domestic manufacturers actually put some excellent ideas on the table in the dark days of automotive manufacturing, that were unfortunately undone by lackluster driving dynamics, poor quality control or both. Given America’s love for pick-ups, a vehicle like the Dodge Rampage makes sense to me, even today.

Rampage interior

I’ve seen some very trick Rampage one-offs appear in recent years, featuring factory turbo parts sourced from manufacturer parts bins. Think of it as a Dodge Omni GLH that can haul tents and a cooler for a camping weekend! Unfortunately, the two examples featured here on eBay are a long way from anything resembling “trick” as they seem to be caught between restoration project and resto-mod status, but at this point they are mainly just rusting away. The seller is offering a battle-scarred daily driver with a cleaner shell and turbo motor. Given how low the bidding is ($152!!), there’s not a lot of risk in this auction for a Rampage fan.

Dodge Rampage

So, what would you do? I’d be hard pressed to not immediately swap in the turbo mill and lower it ever-so-slightly on some GLH wheels. Get a light bar with the KC fog lights, mount some road bikes in the bed, and paint it black with an interior swapped in from a Daytona Shelby. Given how rare these are (note, I said “rare” and not “valuable”), having an extra parts car probably isn’t a bad thing if you’re planning on fixing one up. Although I did spot a weathered Rampage in a local junkyard this weekend, I’m not giving up the details, just in case I decide to keep that one for myself!


  1. Avatar photo Vince Habel

    Salavage title scares me. I always liked these. It is good the are too far away from me or I might be tempted.

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  2. Avatar photo Leo

    Salvage title could be for lots of reasons and only bothers me in resale values. Did you know that there were also Chevrolet Vega pickup trucks made? ULTRA low numbers and VERY rare to find. My stepfather ( now deceased) bought one off of a car lot in New York state , bought it home, parked it beside his house and let it sit there and rot away… Ugh!! The pickups had all aluminum bumpers and a specialy constructed tailgate. Very friggin cool if you ever seen one.

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  3. Avatar photo jim s

    i see more then the current bid in parts, it is a no reserve auction with 42 bids and it still is at only 152.50. might make a fun hotrod, not 4wd but nicer then the brat from the other day. a nice find

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  4. Avatar photo Dave Wright

    I like salvage titles as long as I am buying. Like everything else the government does, it means nothing. You have to know the back story, there are cars that have been rebuilt from wrecks with unmarked titles and cars that have never been damaged with salvage titles. So, if you are buying…….take the discount. These little K chassis trucks are interesting but they are closer to a VW Caddy pickup than an elcamino. I have owned many K cars in my business and put tens of thousands of miles on them. The best are the later models with the american made 2.2-2.5 engines and fuel injection. They usually have 5 lug rims. The Mitisabishi engine should be avoided at all costs. A carburator can cost 1000.00 and they need work often.

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  5. Avatar photo skloon

    This is an El Camino alternative the same way mama June is for Christina Hendricks, same vague shape but completely different

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  6. Avatar photo Alan (Michigan)

    In the late 80’s there was one of these running around Toledo, OH. I’d have never paid attention normally, but it was highly modified, with the rear raised and tubbed around very large tires. Kind of the look now commonly called “Pro Street”.

    I was expecting some monster engine to go along, but no. Stock. Yep, these were of course Front Wheel Drive…. And that was retained. Just a styling exercise, I guess. The thought of that car (truck?) still makes me laugh!

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  7. Avatar photo Mathieu Belanger

    A friend of mine drives one every summer. A head turner!

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  8. Avatar photo Ron

    I still have my old Californian Direct Connection 84 Rampage. lols.. It doesn’t run any more. The body is still in fair shape….

    Like 0

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