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Well-Preserved Pickup: 1986 Dodge Power Ram 50

There seems to be an ebb and flow of the small truck. Largely introduced in the energy-crisis era, thriving for a decade-plus, then fading into obscurity, before recently being revived, as manufacturers are re-introducing past models. There is no current “small” truck from Dodge, but this 1986 Dodge Power Ram 50 can be found here on Bring-a-Trailer at no reserve, with bidding at $3,999 at the time of writing.

In what seems to have become a desirable combination, this regular cab “long” bed 4×4 shows well. Camouflaged against the Wyoming snow, the white paint shines as this truck appears to have had little real “truck” use. The seller responded to a commenter who noted the truck looks to have been repainted — “the truck is all original paint with the exception of the hood, it has been repainted.” The visible dent on the tailgate is scheduled to be removed this week as the seller has an appointment for PDR. It’s like new exterior appearance can at least be partially attributed to having spent its life in Oregon, Montana, and Wyoming. This Power Ram 50’s stay in Nebraska appears to have had no ill-effect on it. The 1″ body lift and new 31″ tires wrapped around 15″ American Racing wheels give this truck an era-correct look.

As to be expected in a 1980s truck, cabin appointments are justifiably simple. That simplicity coupled with the cleanliness of this interior should help the buyer get over the molehill of its lack of modern conveniences. The steering wheel appears to have been replaced and the carpeted dash cover is presumably hiding some cracks, but all things considered the tan vinyl bench seat and matching interior trim has held up well over the past 34 years.

This 2.6L inline-four has been the recipient of a recent fluid change, also looking to have been the beneficiary of a fresh detail. As indicated by the “Power” designation added to the “Ram” model, this is a 4×4 truck. Keeping true to that real 4×4 feel, gears are shifted through a 5-speed manual transmission with power being sent to all 4 wheels by a two-speed transfer case.

In its final year before a 1987 redesign, this 1986 Power Ram 50 appears to live up to its model’s description in the 1981 Dodge truck brochure — “designed and built by the Mitsubishi Motors Corporation…respected the world over for superb engineering, quality, and design.”


  1. mark

    4 grand is is a fair price for this as long as it runs as good as it looks. These were great small trucks in their day.

    Like 4
    • Weasel

      LOL. $7500 I say.

      Like 3
    • Angrymike

      I’m looking for a truck right now, a Dakota actually, and if you saw what ppl want for rust buckets, you’d say this is worth a whole lot more !

      Like 7
      • DAVID6


        Like 0
  2. SubGothius

    We have our absurd CAFE regulatory scheme to blame for the disappearance of compact pickups (along with most station wagons) from the US market:

    As for the revival of past models, those are in name only; the smallest pickups in the US market are classified as “midsize” but in actual dimensions closely match the ’70s-80s full-size GM square-body pickups, significantly larger than the original midsize Dodge Dakota.

    Like 2
    • MBorst

      Actually I have a 96 Chevy 1500. I can’t even lean my muzzleloader (flintlock) from the floor up towards the back window and it won’t last across the seat either. But it has lasted 446,000+ miles. And the steep side I can’t even lay a sheet of plywood flat in it ! It is like 47 inches wide ! Wth. Most mini’s you can lay a sheet of plywood flat in. I prefer my old 77 F-150 short bed with room to roam in the cab.

      Like 0
  3. glen

    A full box (8′) and a regular cab is what is known as a truck!

    Like 5
  4. Beemoe

    The 2.6l 4 is a heck of an engine. Had a Sapporo with one and it was a blast to drive.

    Like 3
  5. Curt Henshaw

    Now this truck I would like to have.

    Like 1
  6. SaabVertGuy

    My 1st entirely new vehicle was an 87 Ram 50 2wd automatic short bed in 1987. Loved that truck and customized it per the norm in the late 80s. Sold after my father died suddenly in late 89. Couldn’t deal with the memories we made bonding over the custom work on that truck. Would give most of my worldly possessions to have it to do over again. RIP Pop

    Like 8
  7. chrlsful

    when I C the 4 cyl & yr it makes me think “small”, but would like 2 C a guy standing there for reference. 6ft beds R OK…

    The ‘regular cab”, the ” ’77 F150 ” (not sure “the ’96”) comments are abt cabs that were too small for me & yet they were not the imported mini trucks (late 60s – sm pre ’05 Tacoma, etc).

    Bent knees’n arms is not bad but I wanna bench and ability to push the seat back once’n awhile (esp long trips).

    I like sm for off rd & DD (short around twn trips) but want big for a rd truck, haulin & tow.

    Like 0
  8. Ryan Hilkemann

    So nice it’s a first gen, way better body style than the second gen.

    Like 0

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