By on May 24, 2013

11 - 1983 Dodge Rampage Prospector Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinEven as the K-cars became a huge success, Chrysler didn’t give up on the Simca-derived Omnirizon platform. In fact, the 2.2/2.5 engine helped extend the Omnirizon’s life until the 1990s. We’ve seen a fair number of Omnirizon-based Junkyard Finds, including this ’78 Horizon, this ’84 Turismo, this ’85 Shelby Charger, this ’86 Omni, and this this Shelby-ized ’86 Omni GLH, and now I’ve managed to find one of the rarest of all: the pickup-truck Omnirizon!
01 - 1983 Dodge Rampage Prospector Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis truck came fully loaded with options, including cruise control, air conditioning, clock, and Prospector emblems.
07 - 1983 Dodge Rampage Prospector Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSporty red-striped bucket seats!
14 - 1983 Dodge Rampage Prospector Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinChrysler was very proud of their all-Detroit 2.2 engine (no Mitsubishi, Hillman, or Simca genes in the 2.2), and this truck is covered with 2.2 emblems.
19 - 1983 Dodge Rampage Prospector Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe chunky DODGE emblem on the tailgate would make more sense on a 3/4-ton pickup, but it still works here. Remember, 1983 was the last year of the Malaise Era, with a new optimism appearing in Detroit vehicles.
21 - 1983 Dodge Rampage Prospector Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Rampage couldn’t haul much of a load— you don’t want to shift too much weight to the rear on a front-wheel-drive vehicle, anyway— but it was quite useful for hauling of lightweight items.
22 - 1983 Dodge Rampage Prospector Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI’ll need to let the members of the Haulin’ Ass Plymouth Scamp 24 Hours of LeMons team know about this truck, since I’m sure they always need parts.

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45 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1983 Dodge Rampage Prospector...”


  • avatar
    danio3834

    A Rampage Prospector!? Who knew such a thing existed? Although it’s hard to imagine anyone prospecting anything but a love seat in a Rampage.

  • avatar

    These are such cool little trucklets and I have never seen one with this many options. If I were going to build a car, a Dodge Rampage would be one of those I would seriously look at.

    I have a recurring fantasy about building one fitted out with all the Shelby Charger performance gear (including the turbo and the intercooler) and done up in blue and silver.

    I have to wonder how these would perform if they were gone through and redone with all modern materials, a better head gasket, a ball bearing turbo, etc and the suspension all redone with tubular parts and with polyurethane in place of the rubber. It could be a lot of fun.

  • avatar
    mr_mike

    The Rampage was just covered in last month’s Hemmings Classic Car!

    Mike

  • avatar
    nine11c2

    Its in the junkyard? That seems appropriate..

  • avatar
    AFX

    I remember the Rampage Prospector, last time I saw a Rampage was a few years ago and it was parked next to someone’s house like it hadn’t been running in awhile. I can’t remember the last time I saw a VW Rabbit pickup of that era though. A Rampage would be perfect for hauling something small like a pair of bicycles in the back, or maybe a kayak.

    Those seats almost look like they came out of a Martini edition Porsche 924.

    • 0 avatar
      joeveto3

      I had those seats in my hand-me-down powder blue Dodge Omni America. One of the best cars I’ve ever owned — really. And those seats were all day comfortable. If they made that car today, I would buy two of them.

  • avatar
    AMC_CJ

    Wish there was a car like this out on the market now. Hell, I was really considering holding out for the Pontiac ST until they killed it.

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    Someone around here owns TWO Rampages, both in really great condition.

    That’s dedication.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    One of the Chrysler execs told Car and Driver that once all the pool cleaners had theirs, there wasn’t any market for the Rampage or Scamp. Here we are 30 years later, and fake fender vents have moved from economy cars to European luxury cars. Progress?

  • avatar
    DownEaster

    Neat truck. I remember when they were new when I was a senior in high school. Kind of a cross between an El Camino/Ranchero and a VW Rabbit Pick Up. These were cool vehicles and a good reminder of Chrysler maximizing its use of platforms in the early 80s. It was also designed for an energy crisis that never came. Big cars soon started selling big again when this came out. Would be nice to have been restored and could have brought in some money. VW Rabbit pickups from the same era go for a lot of money now. Nice truck and should have been fixed up. May be the last of its kind or close to it with all the options.

  • avatar

    I’m honestly in the process of saving some nickles and dimes for a really nice rampage I found in a barn. From what I’ve read they were actually rated for a 1/2 ton, which is only 1000lbs, and we all put more than that in the back of a 150, but it was a good selling spec. I’ve also read about guys getting better than 40 mpg highway.

  • avatar
    Onus

    My friends family has a 80 something horizon that they bought maybe 3 years ago. They replaced an older horizon that was in a wreak. That car has the best visibility every, and the front seat is very roomy.

    I wish they still made hatches like this. It sad to see the dash boards get pushed so far in in a front wheel drive vehicle. Its not like the engine requires the firewall to be so far forward.

  • avatar
    Shamwow

    I miss Crab Spirits :(

    Where are his stories?

    • 0 avatar
      porschespeed

      Vince, go slap-chop a hooker. His “stories” are the ramblings of a 9th grader trippin’ on ‘shrooms…

      Go to 4chan for more intellectual fiction.

  • avatar

    Ahh the infamous Chrysler pushbutton A/C controlhead, every one I’ve seen was a vacuum leak in progress.

    I do like these trucklets, more so than the contemporary El Camino (heresy to some of my friends)

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    If the box had double wall construction it was a better PU than the compact Toyotas, Mazdas, ect., of the time. At least you could dump/throw stuff in it without fear of giving the body the “ball park frank” look.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    I’m saddened to see such a good condition , heavily optioned hard to find vehicle in the scrappers =8-( .

    I remember these when new , a distant Uncle bought one to drive all around America until he passed away after a decade of good service with only regular mtce. , no hassles / issues / breakdowns _ever_ .

    IIRC , the ” Prospector ” was introduced on the 1977 Ram Charger thing , Dodge’s answer to Chevy’s Blazer . also an option group on Dodge Pickups .

    My ex B.I.L. had a Ram Charger Prospector edition , I thought it nice in spite of it’s typically thirsty V-ate .

    I too miss Crabspirits missives , maybe this poor old Trucklet isn’t wretched enough to make fun of ? .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    One of my favorite childhood HotWheels was a red Rampage with real rider tires and a three-wheeler in the bed. And because of that I’ve always had a soft spot for these guys.
    Although finding someone on a car enthusiast site who likes car-based trucks isn’t exactly challenging.

  • avatar
    Crabspirits

    Todd was a masochist.

    “GODAMMIT!!!”, Todd screamed.
    The patrons at the gas station stared as Todd threw a temper tantrum. He extricated the handle of the lawnmower from the shattered back window, and threw the machine back against the tailgate in a fit of rage. He was creating quite the scene, cursing himself, taking his shirt off to expel the many microscopic shards of glass. Inside a refueling Caravan, a little girl spoke to her mother.
    “Why is that guy mad mom?”
    “It looks like he broke his…..truck.”

    Todd swept the trapezoidal shards from his seat by batting them out the door with his shirt. He threw the seatback forward, and cleared the remnants from the window frame with the 2×4′ that he should have used to chock the mower. He paused briefly to yell “That S.O.B!!” at the long gone motorist who pulled out in front of him, causing the cascade of failures that brought him to this end. The Holley two-barrel wanted to work only when it felt like it. Todd had compensated by using a bit too much throttle for this part of town. “Piece of s–t”, he muttered while replaying the incident in his head. Of prominence was the engine stalling after the extreme braking, bucking, and causing it’s operator to become showered in a torrent of shattered rear window, much like a celebratory Gatorade bath at a ball game.

    Todd laughed maniacally as he continued the voyage towards his next destination. “Of course!”, he exclaimed. The cabin had become a whirlwind with his rear window modification. Errant dried grass clippings and assorted debris from the bed swirled inside the passenger compartment. His blood pressure rose steadily as he began to dwell on how this errand was a total and complete SNAFU.

    “Carb adjustment didn’t work.-Check.”
    “Window shattered.-Check.”
    “Damn bloodsucker almost caused me to crash.-Check.”
    “Lawnmower place didn’t have the part.-Check.”
    “Drove all over the place for nothing.-Check.”
    “City on my ass over the height of my lawn.-Check.”
    “Gotta buy a new mower, the part costs almost as much anyway.-Check.”
    “Gotta find a new back window for an 83′Rampage.-Yeah right!”

    As much of a pain as the Rampage was, Todd loved the little cruck. He wanted the driving feel of a car, with the utility of a pickup. Utility, he was now enjoying as he loaded his newly-purchased $300 mower (“Bloodsuckers!!”). Todd was in no mood to screw around with the logistics of fitting the huge box among the rest of the cargo. The broken mower was simply jettisoned into the parking lot of the hardware store and left for dead.

    In the weeks that followed, the flapping plastic sheeting back window and balky carb wore Todd down. He pulled up to the house with white steam pouring from the tailpipe for the second time. “Well that’s just great.”

    He opened the hood, and was greeted by the familiar muddled mess of black components, plastic, and rubber. Almost as if the engine bay was designed by H.R. Giger, only not beautiful. He wanted to look away, but he had a job to do…again. The cylinder head was off again in record time. He laid eyes on the head gasket. Much to his surprise, it was in good shape. Todd picked up head again, and flipped it over.

    “Terrific”, he said as he utilized the bed of the Rampage a final time, hurling the spent lump of aluminum into it, followed by a hastily-emptied beer can.

  • avatar
    midnite_clyde

    Had a pale yellow ’82. Great 2.2 with 4 speed. Loved driving that little truck. According to crash ratings it’s a death trap. Still have it in my in-laws barn. One day I’ll…..nevemind.

  • avatar
    55_wrench

    My boss had one for a light delivery vehicle in ’82, and it was a blast to drive. Free revving, great acceleration (have to remember the smog-choked stuff that was on the roads then), this was the car of choice–
    oh, he also had a ’71 Ranchero with a Cobra Jet (for slightly bigger loads) that you could light up the tires at 65 MPH by just flooring it.
    The man really appreciated toys. He drove to the plant in a Countach when he wasn’t taking the Lincoln.

    Good times, Great boss.

  • avatar
    Zelgadis

    I still have a Matchbox car of this thing, painted up in the most hideous shade of orange. :)

  • avatar
    bill mcgee

    As a former 80s Rabbit owner , I always thought that the pickup truck was the only Omnirizon product superior to the VWs . This based on driving a 1980 Rabbit pickup once many years ago . Even for me , a 5’5″ little guy , the interior was cramped in the VW . The Rampage at least appears have a roomier cab, tho the nearest I ever came to driving one was a buddy’s Omni coupe with the smaller engine and a clunky 4 -speed .

    • 0 avatar
      Roberto Esponja

      A buddy of mine had a Rampage back in the 1980′s, which he let me borrow on occasion. I’m 6’3″ and I fit comfortably in it. Then again, I’ve never sat in a Rabbit pickup so I can’t make a fair comparison.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    I never know these came in a Prospector edition. Over the years I have seen the Prospector edition of the pick-ups, van and of course the Ram Charger.

  • avatar
    prancingmoose

    Haha I JUST saw one of these coming home from school today. Same color, same seats, same awful decals.. Except in mint condition. Does it have the 2.2 liter? I wasn’t sure..


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