Perfect Pickup: 1980 Dodge D-50 Sport

Here’s a captive-import, this one is another rebadged Mitsubishi for the Dodge boys: a 1980 Dodge D-50 Sport. It looks like it’s in really decent condition with great graphics and even a topper for semi-secure hauling. It’s on Craigslist in Bemidji, Minnesota with a $2,000 asking price. This is the perfect pickup for me and for millions of other folks who don’t need a full-sized truck.

It’s unusual to find a truck from this vintage in Minnesota that isn’t totally rusted out, so to see one with the graphics intact is a rare treat, at least in my world. I know that the must-have-giant-truck folks will laugh at this one as being a toy, but for the vast majority of humans, this much hauling capacity is more than enough. These trucks were named the D-50 for 1979 and 1980.

Mitsubishi was the base for the Dodge D-50 (or, later Dodge Ram 50) and the Plymouth Arrow pickups. NADA lists an average-retail price for this truck (sans topper) as being $2,400 so if a person were in the middle of Minnesota (I know, a dream come true!) this could be a good buy. The topper adds to the value, as does this truck’s original condition.

Other than a couple of tears on those great-looking bucket seats, and some cleaning up to do, this interior looks fantastic for a 37-year old truck. This was somewhat of a fancy truck for the time, with those seats and gauges, etc. This one has 116,000 miles and the more I look at it, the more I like it. It really seems to be in nice condition. The Sport model received a 5-speed manual in place of the base 4-speed. Yep, this one is looking better and better.

The base engine on the D-50 was a 2.0L inline-four, but the Sport models got a 2.6L inline-four with 105 hp. The seller says that this truck “runs and rides good” and it has new tires. If I were in the market for a small pickup this one would be a no-brainer. It’s all the truck that I would need 99% of the time and the size and price is hard to beat. Have any of you owned a D-50?

Fast Finds


  1. Kyle

    If this is the 2.6L it should be sporting the 4G54 motor, also found in the Starion/Conquest.

    • Steven Blair

      The 2.6 was also in the Dodge Raider 4×4

  2. BarnfindyCollins

    I had a young lady customer pull up in this same color combo truck wanting to trade it in on a new ’92 Mazda B2200. I told her she could drive for years without a payment with what she had. The next customer came in buying a 929 off the showroom floor never asked for a discount. Karma? Maybe.

  3. Ohio Rick


    • Scotty Staff

      I guess I was in the market for a small truck after all! I grabbed it!

      Like 1
  4. D

    The USAF had a pretty good sized fleet of these across all the bases back in that era.

  5. Chebby

    Oh man, what a cool little truck in great colors! A set of Starion rims would look great on it, but they are only 5-lug. A good detail job and some chunky white letter tires would be perfection.

  6. Jon

    My first wife’s parents had one of these little D50’s. It had a full camper shell on it. Since her parents were not fond of my loud, noisy and smelly Chevelle they preferred if we would go out in their truck instead. They felt it was safer. Basically they let their beloved daughter go out with a hoodlum (me) in a rolling bedroom. Safer? I wouldn’t bet on it. :)

    Cool little truck though, reliable and cheap on gas. Brings back the memories.

  7. olddavid

    Any operable pickup of any size is worth $1500. The premium on this one was a steal. I’m glad someone we know will be the beneficiary. That balance shaft 2.6 is bulletproof.

  8. boxdin

    I bought a few of these and cut them into convertibles. In 1979 these were the fastest best handling mini trucks of all time. A vast improvement over the datsuns toyotas and esp those chunky mazdas. The 2.6 was a real rocket and the sport pkg made it look good too.

  9. Scotty Staff

    Sorry about that, folks, I hope none of you were interested in it!

    Like 3
    • Andrew

      Good for you! I totally agree what a great find this is. All you need is a “Streetheart” cassette tape to relive that era.

      • Howard A Member


    • Steven Blair

      Nice truck.. can you answer something for me. I am buying a d50, owner cannot find keys. Are the door locks and ignition the Same Key.. Please reply… Ty

  10. Pete

    Clean those jet valves and hold on !!!

  11. Howard A Member

    Perks of the BF’s staff, clearly. For dump runs and Home Depot supplies, it’s great. Spending any time in one, aka, commute, would require an extra cab, for me. I’m done with trucks, but a great find. I think Scotty is going to have to rent a “barn” soon, as he has plenty of “finds” already. Leave some for us,,,,

    • Scotty Staff

      Ha! I could use a barn, Howard. This is no perk, we just search for vehicles that are for sale maybe more often than the average person does, and sometimes we just can’t pass up a good deal. The legroom leaves much to be desired on this one, at least for me.

    • Pat Williams

      Hey Scott. I don’t know if you will get this. Back in the late 70’s into the mid 90’s I was a electrian. My first truck was a 1980 Dodge D50 sport in yellow. That poor little truck from brand new carried everything I needed to do wiring. It took it like a trooper. Also that 2.6L is a Hemi. I sold it to my boss with about 120000 miles on her. He had it for awhile.

  12. Dave

    Just for your interest, I’m in Australia and have just bought one very similar. They were sold here as a Mitsubishi L200, apart from being right hand drive, they were identical. They weren’t offered with the 2.6 here but this one had the 2.6 & 5 speed factory fitted as a special order along with air con. It’s a 1979 sports with 144000kms on it.

    • Scotty Gilbertson Staff

      Dave! Wow, that’s a fantastic looking truck, I would love to have a yellow one, too! Thanks for sharing that sweet ride.

      Like 1
    • John L Kelly

      I had a ’79 D50 Sport like yours, but it had the custom spoked yellow wheels like Scotty’s. My camper was also painted to match the body. It was my favorite vehicle of all time. I was in construction and had over 175,000 miles on her. I took very good care of it, and it was a gem. Unfortunately, my wife borrowed it one day and some teenage kid, playing with his radio and not paying attention, slammed into the rear of it and totaled it. I got another one, but it was a dud. I loved that little truck.

      Like 1
  13. john L Kelly

    If I recall correctly, yes. The Dodge people can have one made for you. Just give them the information they need.

  14. Steven Blair

    Great, what info… the Vin numbers or what… I was going to pull the door lock and get a key made. Also text the sealer and told him that I withholding $40 because of cost on my end. Do you think that is fair…

  15. Chuck Zed

    I loved them so much I had 2 of them. First was totaled when trav;omg at 50 mph I t -boned a person trying a u turn. Wife and i walked away.
    The seocond lasted until i gave to the kid brother. Had the camper, and a self made hard top tonneau cover, all that could be winched up in my garage to change tops. built a custom rear bumper (any bumper was an option)
    Loved it to death.
    Wish I could find one in Canada.

    • Steven A Blair Sr

      I have a 1980 with the 2.0 4 speed.. Restoring it.. I want to know if you had some body parts.. I need a grill, and the part that went under the grill.. ..

  16. Jon

    The odds are good that I stripped it. I was their lead stripper 1978-1980 in Port of Tacoma.

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