Long before SUV's became synonym with lifted hatchbacks and distracted soccer moms vehicles of choice, an SUV was a workhorse with a twist of burgundy velours, or as I like to say, an iron hand in a velvet glove.
Welcome to Forgotten Classics.
As demonstrated in the previous articles, the goal of this series of essays is be to bring cars that are getting no love back in the limelight. FC is also a thorough analysis of why such cars remained obscure and never got the praise they deserved.
The Dodge Ramcharger and its least successful brother, the Plymouth Trailduster were introduced to the North American market as MY 1974. For the rest of this article, we will do like most customers did and ignore the Plymouth variant.
The Ramcharger's mission was to compete with the already popular offering from GM (Chevy Blazer) and Ford (Bronco).
Dodge decided to use a shortened version of the D and called it the AD platform. An easy solution that allowed for quick production readiness. Mechanically, the Ramcharger was identical to the D pickup truck, with the 318 as the base engine and a huge ass optional 440 cubic inches V8. Base transmission was a 3 speed manual.
Inside, the cockpit was outfitted with lavish carpeting, a wooden dash and 'white stripes' patterned seats.
Luxury didn't end at the front, the plush, fold-able rear seat could be upholstered various materials and colors.
In popular culture, the Ramcharger was the vehicle of choice for B series serial killer movies. It's been more than once featured as the 'villain's' car, including the 1977 blockbuster 'The Hitchhiker'
An updated version, also called 'second generation' in automotive parlance was presented in 1981. A refreshed front clip, updated seats and a simplified engine selection, that was it.
The Ramcharger soldiered on until 1993, receiving a few minor updates here and there.
Pictured here, a 1993 Dodge Ramcharger in Ruby Red.
Just like Michael Jordan, the Ramcharger attempted a comeback at the turn of the century. It didn't went so well, it was a Mexican exclusivity and only lasted 2 years.
In conclusion, thanks for reading.