Live Auctions

Topless Truck: 1983 Dodge Rampage

Here’s an unusual one. As if a 1983 Dodge Rampage isn’t unusual enough, this one is rust-free which adds to the unusual factor. There is also another secret hiding in, or on, this one. It’s posted on Craigslist, or here on the CL archive and it’s located in beautiful Maricopa, Arizona. The seller has it listed for $6,500.

This is a nice looking example of a three-year model for Dodge. Even more rare is the Plymouth version, the Scamp, a one-year only model. It didn’t take Chrysler long to figure out that car-based pickups weren’t going to work with the buying public. I think they’re super cool and are really all the truck that I’d personally ever need. I just need to occasionally haul around a mini bike or two, or some bags of mulch or other non-horse/boat-trailer things. A Subaru Brat might be the way to go for me, it may be the only one, or one of the only ones, that came with all four wheels powering the vehicle. That’s an option that we’ve grown accustomed to here in the snow belt, even though none of us really had that growing up. Yes, we’ve become lazy, or I have. So, what is this special feature and what’s with that title, topless truck?!

It may be the “least decent” (I didn’t want to say most horrible) photo of the bunch so I didn’t put it first. It also looks like someone just chopped off the roof with a chainsaw from this angle, and it’s dark and, and, and.. The other two photos show just how nice the top-chop seems to have been done, but a detail photo would be welcome as always. The owner talks about the top a bit, but not too much. “Removable hard top ! Custom made!” They also say, “No rust, original Arizona car, nothing wrong with the paint, not even close to fading.” I’m assuming that at least the top was repainted, I don’t know how it could be modified that much and could still be wearing its original paint. But, pretty cool, eh? I like it even though it doesn’t look like anything that a car company would have done. A little lower on the b-pillar portion would have been nice.

The interior doesn’t seem to have fared quite as well as the exterior has.  I’m assuming that both the dash and the seats are cracked and/or otherwise sun-baked from the Arizona sun, otherwise let’s see a photo of those areas. And, the radio is missing? Is that one of the hazards of owning a convertible in a big city? They say that it has an “after market radio and speakers” so the photos must have been taken before it was installed, or it’s hidden or removable? The automatic is a bit of a bummer, these small cars are fun to drive with a manual. There are no engine photos, of course, but this one, according to the owner, has a “2.2l Shelby drive train.” Cool! Let’s see a photo of it, seller. A “Shelby” turbo would have never been a factory option and I’m just assuming that it’s a turbo. The standard 2.2L inline-four would have had less than 100 hp so a bit of a jump in hp would be welcome. What are your thoughts on this removable-top Rampage?


  1. Warren

    “Aliment was done a month ago by big o tire” LOL. Took me a minute.

  2. curt

    I love these little trucks.ive never seen a baked interior with good factory paint so i think somethings up there.i also think that truck would be scary to drive with all the flex thats gotta have with no top..just my 2 cents…

  3. 68custom

    Looks better with the top and I shudder when I think how bad the unit body truckster will shudder now that the top has been cut off. Otherwise nice looking and rare! Good find!
    Happy New year to all!

  4. John Newell

    The addition of frame connectors would fix the flex in this baby.

    I owned a 1983 Dodge Rampage and I still consider it one of the very best vehicles I’ve ever owned. I’ve have bought a second one if they hadn’t been discontinued. Nothing and I do mean nothing cuts through snow and ice in Canadian winters like a Rampage. I never drove anywhere at slower speeds than I would have on dry pavement regardless of how deep the snow was. The heater vents were positioned perfectly to keep your hands warm practically right off the bat. I’ve never had an engine warm to operating as fast as that little 2.2. The biggest knock against it was the low engine power. Especially for a muscle car guy. But the reality was that it did everything I asked of it and did it well. Nothing not to like about this little truck beyond the fact that we can no longer buy new ones.

    • Andy

      Those little 2.2 engines are/were practically bullet proof. I had one in an ’84 Turismo. Body rusted out around the engine and automatic transmission, but they were still solid. Donated the car to some charity, and the tow driver was amazed at the mileage (150,xxx) on it. I then blew his mind when I started it up and drove it around for an easier hook up. His only comment was he had never seen one even reach 100k, that they usually died by 75k or so. If it weren’t for the rust (unibody, floor pans, fuel tank, etc) I would probably still be driving it!

  5. exartist

    What are those wheels? Pretty sure they’re period aftermarket, but I can’t recall the make/model.

    • CanuckCarGuy

      Enkei came to mind when I saw them.

  6. Rube Goldberg Member

    Remains to this day, the only US made front drive pickup. Great idea, bad timing. I always liked these, having great luck with every K-car I had. I’m a bit indifferent about the top, what this truck really needs is a camper top, as inside covered space is extremely limited. These weren’t popular then, and probably even less now. The asking price is a bit dreamy. Try and find another, I suppose.

    • Danno

      I’ve always liked these Rampages as well (with a full roof). Chrysler made a billion K-car vehicles, and for those with an inclination to get your fingernails dirty, you should be able to keep one on the road forever, inexpensively.
      Cheap, dependable way to run to the big city for supplies, haul them back to the retreat. Get a 4-gear and a carb, so you can push-start it.

    • John Newell

      I agree Rube. I put a cap on my Rampage. We used that little truck to one day to haul manure from a local farm. Filled it right up. The next day it was filled with Sears the Men’s Store suits. I was the National Visual Merchandiser at the time (in Canada). The day after that it had half a load of beach sand in it.

    • bill

      Why do you say they’re not popular now? Because it sounds good? Hell, Rampages are very hard to find and getting harder.

  7. Classic Steel

    Nothing like altering structure safety on a small vehicle ! I always lol for condemned buildings and bridges to attempt shortening ones life ! Lol

  8. Engine Plant Employee

    @Scotty Gilbertson, the 1983 Shelby drive train would not have been turbo-charged. According to
    “revised cylinder heads and machined block with slightly higher (than the Charger 2.2) 9.6:1 compression, new camshaft timing, and electronics good for 107 hp.”

    Turbo chargers were not offered on the L-bodies until 1985 model year (G-bodies in 1984). But for sure dropping a turbo in this little guy would really be a hoot to drive!

    • SubGothius

      If this has an actual Shelby drivetrain, it would have to be a swap anyway regardless of model year, as these never got one from the factory, though there was a limited run of 200 or so “California Shelby Rampage” variants that got the Shelby Charger look without the upgraded engine.

  9. Mister319

    The girl in the top down pic,looks like she is holding her nose.

  10. Doug

    I’d be more inclined to go with a 2nd series Subaru Brat. Drove one for over 10 years, never got stuck in the snow, and loved the flip-up T-tops and sliding rear window – it had working A/C but rarely used it because of the air flow the T-tops and sliding window provided. I replaced it with my ’01
    Forester in ’04 , mainly because the Forester got better gas mileage….I sold the Brat to a buddy for what I paid for it back in ’93, and he plans to restomod it with a 2.2 turbo drivetrain !

  11. XMA0891

    I’ve only ever seen one of these in-person. It was the “Scamp” iteration. It was an “island car” off the coast of Maine. Given their realitive rarity, I am little surprised the owner chose to “modify”… Never going to be a million-dollar cruiser, but still… Must not have been any S-10’s kicking around.

  12. Paul Cheshire

    The tops were done by American Sun Roof. There was a silver one on Long island at Syosset Chrysler Plymouth back in the day.

  13. JBD

    I’ve been seeing lots of modded mini trucks that have cut up roofs and lowerered kits. Not much to brag about here. I hope to never work on a K Car again. Ever

  14. ICEMAN from Winnipeg

    Car & Driver commented that once every swimming pool cleaner in Florida bought one of these, Chrysler would never sell another one.

  15. Tiki Vegas

    Worked with an older gentleman that bought one new. There was some sort of huge sale on cars of this type and his reason to buy. Maybe K-car and special interest rate, rates were very high at that time.

    I’d buy one now, don’t need the expense and extras of the Subaru brat.

  16. Lane B Sonnenberg

    A clean Scamp or Rampage would be a great and fun collector car to enjoy on a budget and take to local shows. They are not too common and bring smiles and conversation. And you got a truck !

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