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Here's the deal: You've got less than $3,000 to spend, you live in New Mexico, and you want to conquer the extreme trails in a fullsize rig. What do you do? If you're Rick Rohrbacher you look for a screaming deal and perform all of the work yourself.
Much like its similarly named counterpart, the Dodge Ram, the Ramcharger is famous for its powerful engine and transmission combinations as well as its versatile nature. The Ramcharger shared many of the same design qualities as the famous pickup series including a solidly constructed body design and materials coupled with a somewhat sparse interior. However, the extra available seating and space makes the Ramcharger a favorite of families and outdoor enthusiasts.
Also in touch with the diverse nature of this SUV, for a short time the Ramcharger was made with a removable top until the 1980 model year. For those that preferred it, there was a dealer installed soft top option as well. The purpose of this feature was to give the driver even greater flexibility in terms of the vehicle's uses. The removable top worked well for people in warm climates or for those with a passion for taking their Ramcharger off road. The hard top was considered to offer more protection in the event of a roll over accident though naturally.Origins
Most people tend to think of the 1990s and the 2000s as the age of the SUV. The truth is these unique vehicles have been on the scene for much longer than that. A blend of car, truck, and van these vehicles have a long list of uses including off road activities, excellent family and daily commute vehicles, and are often used for military and law enforcement purposes. While their large engines and heavy bodies aren't especially fuel efficient, they win the race in terms of versatility and function.
Dodge in particular, is one of the biggest names in producing high quality cars, trucks, and of course SUVs. In the 1974 model year the company introduced its new SUV the Ramcharger. This powerful SUV enjoyed a long history with its final incarnation in the U.S. debuting in the 1993 model year. Interestingly enough, Dodge continued to make the Ramcharger in its Mexican plant from 1999 to 2001. Those vehicles are rarely seen in the United States however.About
The 1993 model year was the last time the Dodge Ramcharger was to be introduced to the American public as a new vehicle. This SUV had a longer length than previously offered models and boasted a wide body as well. Like its older predecessors the 1993 Ramcharger looked almost identical to the Ram truck of the same year especially from the front. It featured the same squared front end and grille as well as the Dodge Ram hood ornament just above the center of the grille. The overall body design is somewhat boxy since the Ramcharger didn't enjoy the updating many vehicles did at the time.Features
Under the hood, this large SUV was equipped with a 5.2-liter V-8 or the slightly larger 5.9-liter V-8. Keeping with its tradition of offering plenty of options to the consumer, the Ramcharger could be equipped with a three-speed automatic transmission or the more performance driven four-speed manual gearbox.
As previously noted, the Ramcharger did have a brief revival in the Mexican market, where the series had always had a great deal of success in terms of sales. From the 1999 to the 2001 model years, the Ramcharger was offered to this market only.Evolution
Technically the Dodge Ramcharger was only offered in two generations. The first debuted in 1974 and lasted until 1980. This was the generation noted for the unique removable hard top. Additionally, the Ramcharger during this time was equipped with a variety of engine choices. Following directly in correlation to the Dodge Ram, the Ramcharger's base engine option was the 3.7-liter, V-6 engine. On up the trim level scale, the engines got larger and more powerful. For example, the Ramcharger was also offered with a 5.2-liter V-8, 5.9-liter V-8, or a 7.2-liter V-8. The powertrain was completed with a four-speed manual transmission or a three-speed automatic gearbox choice.
In addition to being offered on the market for outdoorsmen and families to use to cart lots of people or things around, the Ramcharger also had limited success in rally competitions. Especially in its early years, this SUV proved itself capable of taking on tracks and trails in almost any terrain or climate. In 1975 it proved effective in the SnoDrift competition by taking first place. Overall, this generation can be noted as the forerunner of other SUVs to come from Dodge as well as other reputable auto makers.