Dodge Rampage Manufacturer Chrysler Corporation Also called Plymouth Scamp Production 1982–1984 Class Coupe Utility Body style 2-door truck Layout FF layout Platform L-body Engine 2.2 L K I4
The Dodge Rampage was a subcompact, unibody 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 4-speed manual transmission along with a 3-speed automatic transmission.
Performance was improved with the introduction of a 5-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. The Volkswagen Rabbit Sportruck and Subaru Brat were the Rampage's only real competition.
The Dodge Rampage was based on the popular Dodge Omni and Plymouth Horizon. Their high gasoline mileage and modest price were good for the time, but the engine was a cause of the vehicle's failure — it could not deliver the performance of the El Camino, but when one compared it to the Volkswagen Rabbit Sportruck, the Rampage seemed to have the upper hand. The Rampage's front-wheel drive configuration also added to its deficiencies, as a front-wheel drive layout is not usually used for trucks. The quality, fit and finish, and overall feel of the truck were also well below the Japanese offerings of the day, contributing to its short life-span. The Plymouth Scamp was only sold in 1983. The Rampage lasted three years, though, and was removed from production after the 1984 model year.
1983 Dodge Rampage (Canadian Direct Connection Edition)
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 sirts, 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)
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 APPEARANCE PACKAGE - SHELBY" [Read: Shelby upper front grille and lower spoiler].
- KPPF41 - "STRIPES & DECALS DIRECT CONN." [Read: Shelby beltline and lower strips as well as "Direct Connection" windshield decal].
- ZTDA06 - "DIRECT CONN. INSTL. BULK PARTS" [Read: Direct Connection side ground effects].
- DLDA01 - "TRANSAXLE - 5 SPEED - 2.78 O.T" [Read: 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 [Read: "Pizza" wheels, which were 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 STRG. - FAST RATIO" (Read: Quick-ratio power steering. This is the same unit used on the Shelby Charger and Omni GLH).
- ZW9E01 - "SPECIAL GVWR OF 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". This title makes sense as the trucks were never given any Shelby "call-outs" by the factory or recognized by Shelby American, Inc. The trucks were briefly identified by enthusiasts as the "Direct Connection Rampage" or "DC Rampage" until the earlier Canadian DC version was discovered.
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.
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