Ram's iconic crosshair grille is one of its signature trademarks. It's also been around now for over 20 years. When a Ram truck — usually lifted, with cheesy rims and toting a Magpul sticker in the rear window — rolls up behind you in traffic, you expect to see it in your rear view mirror. But soon, that could change.
Both the Detroit and Chicago auto shows saw Ram introduce new models. The first was the off-road focused Ram 1500 Rebel (shown above) shown at the Detroit show last month. The most recent is the lavishly-trimmed Ram 1500 Laramie Limited (shown below), which was just unveiled at Chicago.
While critics elsewhere have made jabs at both trucks for the reproachful size of their tailgate logos, they're missing the bigger story here. What's really interesting to note is that both trucks have unique grilles that do away with the signature Ram crosshair grille. This could be a sign of what's to come.
When news first broke of the Ram Rebel, Mopar-centric fansite Allpar promptly floated the idea that the new model could be testing design themes for the Ram's upcoming 2016 redesign:
It seems unlikely that the Ram Rebel will be the only truck with this appearance; it seems to be a test of the overall look, which could be adopted in somewhat less aggressive form by the '16s, which are listed in the FCA long term plan.
The Ram 1500 is due for a refresh in model-year 2016, so it's possible that Rebel and Laramie Limited are partly design experiments.
However, Allpar isn't the first to suggest that a future Ram pickup would go for a brand-new look. In December 2013, Automotive News ran a story about an interesting sketch the brand teased in a 30 second ad and what it could mean. Take a peak at the ad below:
For those of you who couldn't zero in on the exact moment, here's what you were looking for:
Interesting, right? And although a Ram spokesperson speaking to Automotive News at the time denied the sketch indicated the design of a future model, it sure appears mostly otherwise.
So future Ram trucks are likely losing the crosshair grille in favor of... well, something new. And that's honestly a shame. Once again, it's been around on the Ram truck as we know it for over 20 years. Love it or hate it, it's a sort of landmark design, and it makes a Ram truck distinctive without being too garish.
The grilles on both the Ram Rebel and Laramie Limited aren't exactly what you could call tasteful. No, the grille on the Laramie Limited tries too hard to be bold and interesting, and ultimately comes across as looking weird and overwrought. The grille on the Ram Rebel tries too hard to be masculine and aggressive, and winds up looking tasteless and stupid.
Ram, here's a solid piece of advice for you: if it ain't broke, please don't try to fix it. Thanks.
Image credits: Ram