One Year Only: 1983 Plymouth Scamp

Auto manufacturers recycle model names all of the time. Case in point is the Plymouth Scamp. Originally a trim level on the two-door Valiant (’71-’76), the name resurfaced for one year only in 1983 as a badge-engineered version of the Dodge Rampage Coupe Utility (Ute), sort of  Plymouth’s version of the Chevy El Camino or the Ford Ranchero. Found by Rocco B, this 1983 Scamp is located in Toledo, Ohio and is available, here on Facebook Marketplace for $6,500.

Derived from Chrysler’s “L” platform, which carried the aforementioned Rampage, other models included the Turismo, Charger, Omni/Horizon, and some Chrysler European models. While the Rampage put up total sales of about 37K units, Scamp sales barely reached 3,500 copies.

The seller tells us that this scamp is a base model though it is wearing a Scamp GT hood scoop though the seller says that it is an aftermarket piece. Added is a claim of, “Minimal rust (some bubbling, esp. on the hood – please see photos). Sills good, floors good, no body or frame rot“.  Regardless, it still presents pretty well and the cargo bed has had the added benefit of a liner – always helpful with a Ute. It actually allows you to use the vehicle for the purpose intended without scarring and damaging the actual bed. If those wheels look small, especially considering the rollers that you see today, they are, thirteen-inchers were standard.

Power is provided by Chrysler’s ubiquitous 2.2 liter, in-line four-cylinder engine, good for 94 net HP, and delivering “go” to the front wheels via a four-speed manual transaxle. The seller states that “it’s a blast to drive” and “Lots of work done within the past year. New battery. New alternator with correct bracket. New carburetor. Shift linkage sorted and working correctly“.

Regardless of domestic brand, the ’80s was red velour upholstery time and this Scamp is no exception. It’s a standard no-frills environment which is what ChryCo was going for in those years but it all looks to be in reasonable nick. The mileage is reported as being 96K miles but the driver’s seat, in particular, isn’t showing signs of stress from use. The only non-original component noted is a Kenwood stereo system.

I liked both these, and the Rampage, for the few short years they were in existence, I thought that they were a validation of the El Camino/Ranchero concept even though the Ranchero was kaput by ’83. I also admired ChryCo’s ability to get so many different models, such as this car/truck, out of a single platform. I don’t have a sense for Scamp market value but I have to believe this example will find a new owner for something reasonable, though perhaps not at the posted price.  I don’t know if it’s really a blast to drive as claimed, but it certainly has versatility, right?


  1. Denny N. Member

    I’d say this is a real deal. I had a Dodge version of this little truck and I really liked it You have to recognize it for what it is, a mini-truck not meant for serious hauling.

    Like 14
    • nlpnt

      That being said, there are certain uses for which a pickup with its’ bed floor less than a foot off the ground is just about ideal.

      Like 12
    • SubGothius

      These were rated for up to half-ton payloads, more capable than many gave them credit for.

      My dad had a Dodge Rampage version for several years, did all the hauling duty that he needed as a homeowner and volunteer church groundskeeper, meanwhile serving as a stylish, economical, and nice-handling household second-car and daily work commuter.

      His was black with red pinstripes, machined-face turbine-style alloy wheels, alloy bed rails, and a vinyl tonneau cover over the bed, very sharp looker!

      Like 13
  2. Bluetec320 Bluetec320 Member

    Hood pins? 🤣🤣

    Like 3
  3. angliagt angliagt Member

    I spotted one of these in Martinsville,Virginia,
    when I went for a drive.Too bad it was an automatic.

    Like 6
  4. angliagt angliagt Member

    The owner of the shop it was at told that it had
    been there for a while,& will probably be for sale.

    Like 5
  5. Claudio

    The only blast you can get out of this poor K car is with a 5 gallon gas container and a match !

  6. Michelle Rand Staff

    Love it, but love the Subaru Brat more.

    Like 10
  7. Troy


    Like 1
  8. SubGothius

    Seems like this may have a nose cover transplanted from a Shelby Charger, with that single-row intake slot between the headlights. Scamps had a two-row eggcrate grille, and seems doubtful they’d change the nose styling in the middle of its single year of production.

    Not griping, as I think it looks sharp, just pointing out the styling upgrade. Now to transplant a Shelby Charger powertrain into it as well…

    Like 6
    • DON

      I agree, between that and the already mentioned hood change . Plus they never put a Scamp emblem dead center on the header panel

      Like 2
  9. Fred

    I had a Rampage with a 2.2 5 speed from new, now I may be wrong but that looks like the VW engine they originally used until 2.2 production
    increased. So long ago, great little truck.

    Like 1
    • SubGothius

      These all had the 2.2L, so this is unlikely to be the 1.7L VW engine unless maybe someone swapped one in.

      Like 2
  10. Pete O'Con

    I drove an 82 Rampage (4 speed) for about 10 years into the 90’s and got a lot of hauling and towing done. I can say many good things about this little pickup. Has multiple purposes with a car like ride for the 80’s. Could haul up to 1100 pounds. But it’s poorly built after 130k.
    I purchased an 83 Convertible Rampage for $1500 featured on Barn finds years ago with 62k on the body and 40k on a replaced with a 2.4 liter Charger motor. It honestly runs good considering the 3 speed automatic which hurts it’s potential performance. The convertible is reinforced with 2 anti-flex bars.

    Like 1
    • Claudio

      So , the asking price was $6500 and you paid $1500?
      As much as i hated and still do all the k car garbage
      The conversion looks pretty good !
      And at that price it was a good deal for a rampage lover …

  11. chrlsful

    lub all these – BRAT, 2nd gen chero, this Omni based, there’s a geo or suki or 2 also. I got my 1st gen bronk set up this way (“1/2 cab”). Whadda ya need? Me? just one seat (passenger’s is never occupied) & a ‘carry area”. If more street, autos are fine (as a daily). The bronk isa 5 speed (off rd 70, 80 % of the time). New Mav is almost one, a lill big…

    • bone

      Uh , ….yeah

      Like 4

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