The Rampage was Detroit’s first front-wheel drive, car-based pickup truck, based on the Dodge Omni hatchback, with the front end of the Dodge Omni 024/Charger. The Dodge Rampage was introduced in 1982. It was produced for a relatively short period, with its production ending in 1984.
Dodge Rampage Overview
The Dodge Rampage was an interesting and somewhat unique vehicle in Chrysler Corporation’s lineup during the early 1980s. Essentially, it was a car-based pickup, often referred to as a “coupe utility” or “ute” in other parts of the world, similar to the more renowned Chevrolet El Camino or the Ford Ranchero.
The Rampage was based on Chrysler’s L-platform, which it shared with vehicles like the Dodge Omni and Plymouth Horizon. It was a front-wheel-drive vehicle, which was somewhat unusual for a pickup at the time. It featured a two-door passenger compartment and a small cargo bed in the rear. Initially, the Rampage was powered by a 2.2-liter inline-four engine. Both manual and automatic transmissions were available. Due to its car-based origins, the Rampage was more road-oriented and handled better than traditional trucks. However, this also meant its hauling capabilities were limited compared to more robust, truck-based pickups.
A sportier version, known as the Rampage 2.2, was introduced with a more powerful version of the 2.2-liter engine and sportier trim elements. In 1983, a version of the Rampage was also offered under the Plymouth brand called the Scamp. However, it was only sold for one model year.
The Dodge Rampage is remembered today as a unique experiment in Chrysler’s history, melding car-like comfort and drivability with the utility of a pickup. It’s a sought-after vehicle among certain classic car collectors due to its rarity and unique design. Conceptually, the idea of car-based pickups has persisted, with various manufacturers over the years exploring or reintroducing the concept, but it remains a niche category.
Dodge Rampage Sales Figures
The Rampage was part of a niche market of car-based pickups in North America. While such vehicles had popularity in the 1960s and 1970s with models like the El Camino and Ranchero, by the 1980s, this market was dwindling. While initial sales were promising, they declined rapidly, leading to its short production run.