Shop Truck Candidate: 1987 Dodge Ram D-150 Shortbed

When I was a kid, my dad used to drive Dodge pickup trucks as a part of his fleet (he’s a general contractor that works in southeastern Pennsylvania). From when I was four to thirteen years old, my dad owned five Dodge trucks: a 1983, a 1984, a 1987, and a 1988, and a 1974 Dodge D300 dump truck (aptly named Lousille). Eventually, he tired of Dodge pickup trucks, and switched to GM pickups. Despite this, I have a soft spot for Dodge pickups from the mid-1970s to early 1990s, and I’ve always kept my eyes peeled for a nice, affordable one. This Dodge D-150 is a 1987 model, and would be perfect as a shop truck and parts hauler. Find it here on eBay in Forest Hill, Maryland with reserve not met.

After Lee Iacocca took over Chrysler in 1979, Dodge’s D-series pickup trucks was given a final facelift for its third generation. The facelift included an embossed “DODGE RAM” name on the tailgate, a new grille and hood, new taillights, and a slew of other visual changes. Furthermore, the body was also improved visually with addition of a “shoulder” line reminiscent of the GM competition, and starting in 1982, more corrosion-resistant steel was used in the construction of the trucks. This particular Ram is a 1987 D-150 (half-ton) model, which gained a new grille the year before in 1986, and was updated with minor visual changes. From 1987 to 2016, the truck spent its life down in Georgia (in a salt-free environment, no less) before being bought by the seller and brought up to Maryland. After being brought to Maryland, the truck went through a period of refurbishment, which included a new paint job and the installation of a new tonneau cover.

Unfortunately, the seller must have forgot to paint the inside of the pickup bed and tailgate, which is mired by a bunch of scratches. I would have them both painted to match the rest of the truck, and then take the necessary steps to protect them as much as possible. The red paint with the white pinstripes looks beautiful nonetheless, as does the skinny, tucked-in back bumper, which provides a muscular look to the truck. I would polish up the aluminum wheels a bit more and shine the tires to match the shininess of the rest of the truck.

Though the 225 Slant Six was still standard for 1987 (my dad’s yellow 1983 D150 was powered by it), this Ram is powered by the optional 318 V8. Featuring a two-barrel carburetor and backed by a three-speed Torqueflite automatic, the 318 V8 was rated at 120 horsepower and 250 lb-ft of torque. Visually, this truck’s 318 looks to be in great shape, and benefits from recent maintenance that includes new hoses (the brakes were also serviced). The seller also posts a video of the truck being driven around recently, along with a photo gallery of the truck inside and out, which can be viewed here. I would build up the 318 by swapping in a four-barrel carburetor and throwing a bunch speed parts at it, install a dual-exhaust and a set of headers, add a Gear Vendors overdrive unit to the Torqueflite, and do some nice, smoky burnouts and cruising for a while before swapping in a built 360 or built 440 big-block.

Inside, the truck is nicely spec’d with a red cloth and vinyl bench seat, red dash with woodgrain surround, manual windows with vents, air conditioning, and AM/FM radio. The seat has no tears or rips in it, the dash has no cracks, and the rest of the interior is in great shape; only the steering wheel with its wear on the grip is the flaw in this interior, but at this point I’m nitpicking. The seller says the A/C and radio work very well, and I love the manual windows with vent windows. The odometer reads 16,030 miles, but I’m guessing the odometer rolled over once. Overall, this truck would be a nice shop truck or muscle truck candidate that could be built up on the cheap; I could see a lot of burnouts being done once this truck is built up mechanically (if ever). What are your thoughts on this clean 1987 Dodge Ram D150?

Fast Finds


  1. Mark in WNC

    Why not rip out the seat and install one bucket seat , belts,a roll bar,a 426 Hemi, tub the rear, the biggest slicks you can get under there and then do burnouts til your heart is content. And don’t forget to paint the inside of the bed!

    • Troy S.

      A worked 440 would be just fine for burnouts, cheaper too.

  2. KevinW

    That’s not a rear bumper, just a roll pan. This is a very nice truck! I’d drive this everyday.

    Like 1
  3. Todd Zuercher

    Lousille – is that a Pennsylvania spelling for Lucille?

  4. Rabbit

    Screw painting the box. I’d go with Rhino-Liner or Line-X….right before turning those white letter tires around.

    Like 1
  5. jeff6599

    Hey, Gildea. Those are not mags but stainless stampings on regular steelies. All the aluminum polish in the world won’t help, but really, they are quite shiny now.

    Also, that is not a rear bumper but a rolled pan out back.

  6. Twisted bowtie

    Has A/C but no heater.
    Jus saying 😎

    • Jerry Brentnell

      if it has no heater how come it has a blower motor and heater hoses going back to the fire wall? eh?

  7. Ray Smith

    Maybe its an illusion created by the combination of pin stripes and molding but that looks to be the longest “short” bed I have ever seen.

  8. JimmyJ

    I had kinda the same truck 81 short box step side slant 6 4 speed it was awesome! O ya it was also $750 bucks it was rust free too and not very long ago

  9. Dave Wright

    I have a similar truck abandoned on one of my rental properties that I need to deal with later in the fall……..after the wasp nests go away.

  10. Troy S.

    I had an 87 dodge 4×4 with that engine. Feedback 2 barrel carb on the 318 was terrible. I can’t count the number of times that thing just refused to start, drove the mechanics crazy. The truck itself was nice and with a different (non computer) engine it would have been just fine. But as it came from the factory it was an absolute dog, a dog with fleas.

  11. Joe Haska

    Very nice truck! I am trying to figure out why, the comment A/C, no heater, I see no evidence of that! Also, it is a short box. Like allot of the fix up ideas. I would have to lower it, and probably a new wheel and tire treatment, obviously not for everybody, but a lowered stance would put this truck, in a whole new class! It is the rule of three, paint, tires wheels, and stance, if those are right you have a winner.

  12. james burton

    you gm guys get me, just drop a 440 in it and go. you don’t realize you’ve got to change the trannie also plus all the ass. brackets. no easy job and double the expense.a stroked360 will do just fine at half the cost and weight.

  13. Twisted bowtie

    Joe Haska, If you look at pictures of the fire wall you will see the missing heater hose and the other one laying on the right exhaust manifold.

    Jus saying 😎

  14. KevinW La.

    I had one of these once. Had the 318 with 5 speed on the floor. Power everything. Bought it for less than $2000 prior to hurricane Katrina. Watched it go underwater. I was going to write the truck off but the trustees at the police department got it running again! I drove it for another year and a half before the transmission locked up in second gear. With all the electrical gremlins and now the tranny locked up, I said goodbye and moved on. I still miss that truck though.

  15. Mark Makin

    What did this red girl sell for? Also when did it sell?


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