Dodge Rampage

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Dodge Rampage
1983 Dodge Rampage.jpg
Manufacturer Chrysler Corporation
Also called Plymouth Scamp
Production 1982–1984
Body and chassis
Class Coupe Utility
Body style two-door truck
Layout Transverse front-engine, front-wheel drive
Platform L-body
Engine 2.2 L K I4

The Dodge Rampage was a subcompact, unibody[1] coupe utility based on Chrysler's L platform and manufactured from 1982–1984. First released as a 1982 model, the Rampage was later joined by its rebadged variant, the Plymouth Scamp.

The Rampage borrows the car's unibody construction and the front fascia from the sporty 024/Charger variant.

It was available with a Chrysler built and designed 2.2 L carbureted straight-4 engine with 96 hp (72 kW) and a curb weight of around 2,400 lb (1,100 kg). In the first year, it had leisurely performance due to the four-speed manual transmission along with a three-speed automatic transmission.

1984 Dodge Rampage

Performance was improved with the introduction of a five-speed manual transmission in 1983. The truck had a load capacity of 1,145 lb (519 kg), for a true "half ton" rating. This compared favorably to General Motors' Chevrolet El Camino's rating of 1250 lbs. The Volkswagen Rabbit Sportruck and Subaru BRAT were the Rampage's only real competition in the United States market.

The Dodge Rampage was based on the popular Dodge Omni and Plymouth Horizon. Their fuel economy (21 MPG city/29 MPG highway, according to the EPA) and price were good for the time.[citation needed] The Rampage's front-wheel drive configuration was a source of either love or hate depending on one's preferences. A front-wheel drive layout is not usually used for trucks in North America; however, it gave the Rampage great road-holding and traction when unladen without the "fish-tailing" that comes with most rear-wheel-drive pickups. In short, the Rampage drove less like a truck and more like a compact car. A re-badged version,the Plymouth Scamp, was only sold in 1983. The Rampage lasted three years before being dropped from production after the 1984 model year. There are many myths about the existence of a "Shelby Rampage", but the there is no official record of the existence of such a vehicle.

While a radical and unique design, the Dodge Rampage (17,636 sold in 1982, 8,033 in 1983, 11,732 in 1984, its final season) didn't take off in the market as had been expected. Its Plymouth Scamp clone would only last for one year—1983. Sales totals for the Scamp were 2184 "base" models and 1,380 in GT trim, almost all of which were taken from its Dodge twin. The market for "car-trucks" was fast drying up in the mid-1980s as one after another was dropped from automakers' North American product lines. Even the El Camino was not immune and it was also withdrawn from production before the decade was through.

1983 Dodge Rampage (Canadian Direct Connection Edition)[edit]

In 1983, a select number of Dodge dealerships in Canada offered a special edition Rampage, which was only available for one year. The trucks were part of a short run at the Windsor Assembly Plant in Ontario and were fitted with numerous appearance upgrades from Chrysler's Direct Connection parts catalog. A special plate was mounted next to the standard build plate of each truck that read "Special Order - Direct Connection". Available in only three colors ("Graphic Red", "Snow White" and black), the Canadian DC Rampages were loaded with Direct Connection goodies, which included a front spoiler (Shelby-style), special extended-length side skirts, fiberglass tonneau cover (with integrated spoiler), orange and red stripe package with DC logos, roof wing, cast aluminum valve cover and a chrome air cleaner box. Some of the Canadian DC Rampages made their way to the U.S. where they were used for publicity purposes. A "Graphic Red" example was given away in a national contest while a "Snow White" version was photographed for the 1984 Direct Connection catalog alongside Carroll Shelby.

1984 Dodge Rampage (California Direct Connection Edition)[edit]

In 1984, the Rampage's final production year, another special edition was created by Chrysler and sold through a select number of California Dodge dealerships. According to an article that appeared in a 1984 issue of Shelby Times magazine, the "last couple of hundred" ZH28 model Rampages off the Santa Fe Springs production line were finished in three of the four colors offered on the Shelby Charger. These colors were "Santa Fe Blue Metallic", "Garnet Red Metallic" and black. According to the original Vehicle Production Broadcast sheet provided by Rampage enthusiast John Arnold, the base-model ZH28 trucks were then fitted with all of the following:

  • AEAA01 - "exterior performance package - Shelby" [Shelby upper front grille and lower spoiler]
  • KPPF41 - "stripes & decals Direct Conn." [Shelby beltline and lower strips as well as "Direct Connection" windshield decal]
  • ZTDA06 - "Direct Conn. instl. bulk parts" [Direct Connection side ground effects]
  • DLDA01 - "transaxle - 5 speed - 2.78 O.T" [Close-ratio 5-speed transmission. This is the same unit used on the Shelby Charger and Omni GLH]
  • NT9A01 - "accelerator pedal - Shelby"
  • WJCA01 - 15x6.00 cast aluminum wheels ["Pizza" wheels, which are also used on 1984 Shelby Charger]
  • LMAA21 - "single halogen headlamp system"
  • NEBA01 - "performance exhaust system"
  • CUAA01 - "center arm rest and console"
  • MRAA01 - "delete wheel lip mouldings"
  • SBAA01 - "power steering - fast ratio" (quick-ratio power steering. This is the same unit used on the Shelby Charger and Omni GLH)
  • ZW9E01 - "special GVWR at 3350 LBS"

Despite evidence that some Southern California Dodge dealerships marketed the truck as a "California Shelby Rampage", Arnold suggested they be identified with the moniker "California Direct Connection Edition" or "California DC Rampage". The trucks were briefly identified by enthusiasts as the "Direct Connection Rampage" or "DC Rampage" until the earlier Canadian DC version was discovered.

2006 concept[edit]

Main article: Dodge Rampage Concept

Dodge resurrected the Rampage name at the 2006 Chicago Auto Show. This new concept car is again a front wheel drive pickup, but is as large as the full-size Dodge Ram. It is powered by the 5.7 L Hemi V8.