Junkyard Find: 1986 Dodge Ram 50 with 313,560 miles

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin

As I search for interesting pieces of automotive history in the car graveyards of the land, I look for odometers showing impressively high final readings. My definition of "impressive" varies by manufacturer, so Honda and Toyota products now need at least 400,000 miles to meet that threshold.


Mitsubishi, however, is a different story; today's Junkyard Find is the first discarded Mitsubishi I've ever documented with better than 300,000 total miles.

Chrysler began importing Mitsubishis and selling them with its own badging in 1971, when the first Dodge Colts arrived. Mitsubishi-built Arrows, Champs, Sapporos and Challengers followed later in the decade. For the 1979 model year, the Mitsubishi Forte small pickup showed up in North America as the Plymouth Arrow Truck and Dodge D50.

Starting with the 1981 model year, the D50 became the Ram 50. The Plymouth Arrow Truck disappeared after 1982, but Ram 50s remained available in the United States all the way through 1987 (sharing showroom space with the homegrown Dakota that year).

Just to make things interesting in the Chryslerbishi world, Mitsubishi began selling its vehicles under its own branding in the United States for the 1983 model year. Americans could buy the Tredia sedan, the Cordia liftback coupe, the Starion sports car… and the Mitsubishi Truck (the Mighty Max name started out as a trim level designation but eventually became the de facto model name here).

A 2.3-liter turbodiesel engine was available in the Ram 50 for the 1983 through 1985 model years, but this truck has the regular 2.0-liter gasoline-burning SOHC Sirius, rated at 88 horsepower and 108 pound-feet.

A five-speed manual was standard equipment, and that's what this truck has.

This one is located in a Colorado Springs boneyard, with a nice view of the Rockies and Pikes Peak.

This is a base rear-wheel-drive Ram 50 with no frills, so its MSRP would have been $5,788 (about $16,559 in 2024 dollars). Its Mitsubishi Mighty Max twin listed at $5,799 ($16,590 after inflation).

Prior to now, the highest-mile Mitsubishi I'd documented in a car graveyard was a 255k-mile 1990 Montero. For comparison, let's look at the highest junkyard odometer readings I've found in other Japan-built vehicles:

Rust was a problem for all 1980s Japanese vehicles, of course.

This truck's owner was a fan of the Slower Than U YouTube channel.

This standard Dodge import has an overhead cam, to go fast on American highways.

The Ram 50 was so packed with good stuff that other Japanese truck makers suffered from stress-induced hallucinations when they saw one.

Who said good looks can't take you anywhere?

Or perhaps you'd rather NAME YOUR DEAL and get a Mighty Max.

1986 Dodge Ram 50 in Colorado junkyard.

1986 Dodge Ram 50 in Colorado junkyard.

1986 Dodge Ram 50 in Colorado junkyard.

1986 Dodge Ram 50 in Colorado junkyard.

1986 Dodge Ram 50 in Colorado junkyard.

1986 Dodge Ram 50 in Colorado junkyard.

1986 Dodge Ram 50 in Colorado junkyard.

1986 Dodge Ram 50 in Colorado junkyard.

1986 Dodge Ram 50 in Colorado junkyard.

1986 Dodge Ram 50 in Colorado junkyard.

1986 Dodge Ram 50 in Colorado junkyard.

1986 Dodge Ram 50 in Colorado junkyard.

1986 Dodge Ram 50 in Colorado junkyard.

1986 Dodge Ram 50 in Colorado junkyard.

1986 Dodge Ram 50 in Colorado junkyard.

1986 Dodge Ram 50 in Colorado junkyard.

1986 Dodge Ram 50 in Colorado junkyard.

1986 Dodge Ram 50 in Colorado junkyard.

1986 Dodge Ram 50 in Colorado junkyard.

1986 Dodge Ram 50 in Colorado junkyard.

[Images: The Author]

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Murilee Martin
Murilee Martin

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.

More by Murilee Martin

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  • MRF 95 T-Bird MRF 95 T-Bird 7 days ago

    That sliding rear window is salvageable since it’s a universal flexible unit which fits the other small trucks of the era.

    • 1995 SC 1995 SC 6 days ago

      Young and not thinking about his future or any potential consequences of his actions me used these windows to dispose of beer cans proving that sometimes it is better to be lucky than smart.


  • Mister Mister 6 days ago

    "Standard 5-speed transmission" was kind of a big deal in the era. An S-10 or Ranger came standard with only 4 forward gears.

  • Mike Some Evs are hitting their 3 year lease residual values in 6 months.
  • Tassos Jong-iL I am just here for the beer! (did I say it right?)
  • El scotto Tim, to be tactful I think a great many of us would like a transcript of TTAC's podcast. 90 minutes is just too long for most of us to listen. -evil El Scotto kicking in- The blog at best provides amusement, 90 minutes is just too much. Way too much.
  • TooManyCars VoGhost; I was referring more to the Canadian context, but the same graft is occurring in the US of A and Europe. Political affiliation appears to be irrelevant.
  • The Oracle Going to see a lot of corporations migrating out of Delaware as the state of incorporation. Musk sets trends, he doesn’t follow them.
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