Junkyard Find: 1982 Dodge Ram 50
There was a time, when American truck shoppers were willing to tolerate the shame of driving small pickups, when the members of the Detroit Big Three couldn’t/wouldn’t build their own and thus sold rebadged Japanese trucks. GM had the Isuzu-built Chevy LUV, Ford had the Mazda-built Ford Courier, and Chrysler had various flavors of the Mitsubishi Forte aka Mighty Max. In 1982, you could get your Forte as a Mighty Max, a Plymouth Arrow, or a Dodge Ram 50. Though you could buy the Ram 50 until 1986, examples of this truck are very rare these days. Here’s one that I spotted in a Denver yard last week.
There was no mistaking this truck for a luxury vehicle. Cloth bench seat, manual transmission, no air conditioning.
Power came from the 2-liter Mitsubishi Astron L4 engine, which wasn’t quite up to, say, Toyota R reliability but made decent power.
The tape-stripe graphics were very much of their time.
Whitewall tires standard, in the “Ram 50 Royal,” whatever that was. One of the weirder ads of the Late Malaise Era.
Murilee Martin is the pen name of Phil Greden, a writer who has lived in Minnesota, California, Georgia and (now) Colorado. He has toiled at copywriting, technical writing, junkmail writing, fiction writing and now automotive writing. He has owned many terrible vehicles and some good ones. He spends a great deal of time in self-service junkyards. These days, he writes for publications including Autoweek, Autoblog, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars and Capital One.
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