Rare Rides: A 1984 Dodge Rampage, the Efficient Forgotten Trucklet

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis
rare rides a 1984 dodge rampage the efficient forgotten trucklet

The small car-based truck market was an interesting place in the early 1980s. Chevrolet had a hit on its hands with the El Camino, and it caught other manufacturers empty handed. By then, Ford had lost its LTD-based Ranchero pickup, and in its grief turned to a short-lived experiment called the Durango, based on the Fairmont Futura.

Dodge tried this one. The Rampage.

Chrysler used one of its existing small platforms to create the Rampage. No, not the K, the other one — the L-body. Flexible in nature, the little Omni hatchback that could morphed first into the sporty Charger and Turismo, and from there was hacked into the trucklet you see here.

Sold between 1982 and 1984 as the Rampage under the Dodge banner, and as the Scamp for Plymouth (’83 only), Chrysler figured it could scrape some sales off the top of the El Camino and the Subaru BRAT.

A four-speed manual or three-speed automatic moved the Rampage forward. One engine choice was available: Chrysler’s 2.2-liter inline-four. This engine and later its 2.5-liter derivative were offered in almost everything front-drive from Chrysler between 1981 and 1995. Seriously.

Speaking of front drive, the Rampage was only front drive. Competition like the El Camino was solely rear drive, and the BRAT offered four-wheel drive as an option. Compromise was a necessity in this class of vehicle.

Stated load capacity for the Rampage was 1,145 pounds, meaning it had a half-ton rating the El Camino couldn’t match.

In the end, none of that mattered. Demand was weak, with first-year sales under 20,000 vehicles, and just over 8,000 the year after that. This 1984 Rampage is one of 11,732. After those figures, Chrysler decided it was time to call it quits. It wasn’t the only one; all the small car-based trucks were on their way out by the end of the ’80s, as customers turned to larger and more capable body-on-frame trucks.

Located somewhere in Michigan, this Rampage confuses with sporty two-tone paint, air conditioning, the aforementioned automatic, and some sweet and luxurious wheel covers.

It all looks in nice condition, though not quite pristine. 77,000 miles on the odometer, and the seller is asking $7,250. Is the Rampage a future collectible, or forgettable crap?

[Images via seller]

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2 of 69 comments
  • CaseyLE82 CaseyLE82 on Jan 06, 2018

    My dad had one of these back in the mid 1990's (when I was around 12). I remember REALLY liking it. I also remember it having a lot of difficulty in cold weather, and a lot of swear words coming from my dad's mouth in the months from Nov to Feb when he was trying to take me to school in the morning. Still I thought that thing was so cool. A car truck? What? Yes, please. If this thing were priced anywhere in the realm of reason I would pick it up just as a novelty.

  • WildcatMatt WildcatMatt on Jan 25, 2018

    For all the labels of "crap" no one else has mentioned that this came in #4 in the Crap Cars book. Don't know how useful one of these would be but I'd be interested in taking one for a spin to check it out.

  • FreedMike Needs a few more HP to really spice things up...
  • Oberkanone Absolute insanity on our public roads! A danger to society. Bravo Dodge!
  • Lou_BC Cool car but 35k USD?
  • Lou_BC I've owned and ridden many litre class sport bikes. Those bikes render anything on 4 wheels boring. This is cool but even if I had the cash, it would be a hard pass.
  • Jeff S Some of us don't care either way we are not into this type of car. Most of these will be stored in garages waiting for their value to go up. As someone above noted this is an old body style which is retro 70s Challenger which after researching it came out in the 2008 MY which means a long run for a model that is in its 16th year. I have always liked these but if I bought one I would not spend this kind of money on one probably get the V-6 version and use it as a family car but then I am not into drag racing or muscle cars. For the type of car it is it has a decent rear seat and not too bad of a trunk. Most of us are not going to spend 100k for any vehicle at least currently so its not something most of us will buy and stick in a garage waiting for its value to increase. I am glad that these editions came out for those who can afford them and it keeps a little more color into what has become a very dull vehicle market but then with age I pick the dull appliance like reliable vehicle because that's what I need. Impressive car but not for me.