Hobby Hauler: 1982 Dodge Rampage

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The Dodge Rampage was one of those great ideas that never took off: a smaller, economy-minded car with a pick-up bed in the back, providing the MPG benefits people craved with the utility often sacrificed when one bought a Civic-type vehicle. Most of these Rampage pickups have disappeared, but this one here on eBay is claimed to be a low-mileage survivor. 

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With only a tick over 50,000 miles, the Rampage is indeed unusual in its condition. Most of the examples I see when they pop up are trashed past the point of being a sensible restoration project. While the interior on this car reflects its limited use, the exterior has been treated to a hasty repaint that the seller discloses is poor in quality.

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As a 1982 model, this truck was outfitted with a 4-speed automatic transmission (5-speed manual didn’t come until ’83) and a 2.2L four with just under 100 bhp Acceleration was not a strong suit, to say the least. Of course, when your only competitors are the VW Rabbit pickup, winning a 0-60 contest wasn’t exactly a priority.

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And here’s the reason why you buy one (it’s not for the driving experience): that super-convenient bed that is capable of handling 1,145 lbs. in terms of a load that won’t break the rear suspension. Overall, this truck appears to be in decent condition with the exception of the unfortunate repaint. The seller claims the Rampage is a collector’s dream – do you agree?

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Comments

  1. Lorin Mueller

    That’d be 84hp and a 3-speed automatic. :)

  2. Craig

    It would be a fun little scoot. Almost bought one new in 1980 (got a Mirada instead), finally got one in 1987 (it was a 1/64th Hot Wheels :-) ).

  3. COL Chis

    The US Army bought some of these and I drove one (mint green) as a 28 year old Corporal.
    The Lieutenant Colonel battalion commander I drove for was an avid fisherman and would frequently want to go off road to get to a fishing hole he had heard of.
    I had just washed, waxed and armoralled (I paid for the wax and armorall) the car when he ordered me to drive down a tank trail (dirt road deeply rutted by tracked vehicles; used to keep the tanks off the asphalt). I replied, “Sir, I just spit shined the truck!” He said, “That’s nice, you’re fired.”
    The next day I was typing training schedules on a manual typewriter.
    I do not remember this car fondly.

  4. Stephen

    A better performer and handler than its main competitor, the 70 hp VW Rabbit Pickup (known as the VW Caddy in the rest of the world). But that driver’s seat looks like it’s seen more than 50k miles.

  5. Jason Houston

    Those were very cute little cars. But they came at that time when Chrysler had its head somewhere the sun didn’t shine… and they couldn’t see that the Ranchero/El Camino market was fast becoming toast.

    I knew a gardener who bought a 1986 brand new. He hadn’t had it a few weeks, when we tried to load an old golf cart in the back, and the center sagged. So, maybe it wasn’t such a great car after all.

  6. Myron

    I had a friend that had the Shelby hatch back and they are sharp, but I have to agree with Stephen, this truck shows a lot of wear. It has a bad repaint on the outside and the bad repaint of the engine and the bad repaint of the rear bumper. The worn seats and steering wheel and the odometer only goes to 99,999, I bet it has rolled at least once if not twice. I have a 1999 Montero Sport with over 230,000 miles and it is in better shape than that truck!

  7. 64 bonneville

    to bad he didn’t clean off the top of the battery. I imagine with a sellers name of carsfor2K most of what he sell is $1995.00.
    checked their website, they have an 87 BMW 635 coupe for around $1900, interior is fair to poor.

    • Stephen

      That’s about right for this one too.

  8. Howard A Member

    The Rampage, ( and it’s cousin, the Plymouth Scamp) was indeed a great idea,,,,that few wanted. I always thought they were a neat truck. A friend had one, and the biggest problem, was lack of interior space ( there were aftermarket toppers, that made it better) They basically had mini-van drive trains and were very reliable. BTW, this was America’s only front drive pickup. Shelby made a few Rampage sport trucks that are pretty rare today. Nice truck, ( although, the engine picture looks photo shopped, photo chopped?) http://i1.wp.com/hooniverse.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/31827050001_large.jpg?resize=720%2C540

  9. PaulG

    Like Howard, I was going to mention the Shelby version. I myself like these, and if the aforementioned Shelby version should come up here in the Desert Southwest, I might just have to have a look…
    This one looks a bit worse for wear, but could be made into a nice little driver for someone. The Ebay seller is trying way too hard…

  10. Vince Habel

    I like these and .the Scamp If it was not so far way. I would bid

  11. JOE DUNLAP

    I bought a new one. I used it to carry around a small fold-up ladder for roofing estimating. The one thing I remember about it was that one inner front brake pad would only last 4,000 miles. The other 3 were fine. :-) Not a very memorable ride, of the 100 or so I have owned over the years.

  12. piper62j

    Cool.. very cool…

  13. duke

    i always liked these and the VW versions as well – this was america’s answer to the rabbit pick up- smoother and could carry a bit more too.
    this one however just doesn’t look proper-as in it looks like it was painted in the walmart(i will never shop there)with a case of red spray cans of krylon -the front bracket was never painted the same body color plus the rear tag screw inserts are also painted -they should be plastic white color too—the rear tail lamps are miss matched and the driver seat is a bit sketchy-look at the bottom of the doors—not the same color—stay away from this sled–just might be a bondo ,’james bondo mobile’

  14. Keith

    K-Car in disguise……

    • Stephen

      Nope. Omni/Horizon predated the K cars by several years.

  15. Bryan

    These were based off of the sporty 2dr Dodge Omni 024 and the Horizon TC3 twins. I recall a friend’s new TC3 as rather crude but peppy and economical. Chrysler Corp didn’t offer its infamous 4-speed automatic until later in the decade (1988).

  16. james burton

    were they jerry rigged the rear suspension in these they would pull the unibody apart at the drilled and bolted points were they were overloaded or rusted away.a buddy took a wrecked 86 turbo daytona apart and built one of these with a all dig. dash dodge charger front clip and turbo intercooled 16 valve 5 spd.still has it with only 13,000 miles

  17. dj

    A guy here would buy all the Shelby parts/turbo engine and swap them over. They looked great.

  18. Mimo

    Ugly, slow, poor quality other than that they were great

  19. tammy hinton

    I worked at chrysler foundry in indianapolis indiana and made those 2.2 commons, thats what they were called by the way they were such a headache to work on but it sure brings back alot of memories ill tell ya , would love to have a rampage always thought they were cool

  20. Simon

    I have an 83, its a nice cruiser and was in good condition. It ran me $4,900, but all the weird looks at gas stations are worth it.

    Like 2

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