Charge!: Homer Smith’s Rockin’ 1987 Ramcharger

Charge!

Ken BrubakerPhotographerMark CernickyWriter

Don’t be shocked by this ’87 Dodge Ramcharger’s stock-ish appearance. This daily driver is wheeling and able to take Homer Smith to work every day and deliver a comfortable ride to far off the beaten path family camping trips that include trail moshing.

“My goal was to create a truck as close to original that I can drive on the freeway and the trail,” Homer says when asked about his build goals. Even the little things mattered. “With only minor fender trimming we were even able to keep all the stock molding,” he says. The Ramcharger also has many personal touches. “Sometimes I get ribbed about that old shovel on my roof rack. That old shovel belonged to my grandfather Albert Homer Anderson, a coal miner during WWII. When he left West Virginia for Michigan in the ’50s, he took his shovel with him and put it to work building his house himself. After his death, it’s how I take his memory with me on the trails,” Homer shared.

Homer, a retired U.S. Air Force lieutenant colonel, has a long history with this Dodge. He purchased it from his younger brother, Bryan, in 2001 (who acquired it from its original owner), and together, they installed a motor and also did some bodywork before they repainted it in its original colors. In April 2012, he took it to his friend, Sam Ayars’, garage to be made more adept to trail use. The result is this incredible vintage Ramcharger that can wheel hard but still be a comfortable daily driver.

At A Glance

General
Vehicle: ’87 Dodge Ramcharger
Owner: Homer Smith
Stomping grounds: Colorado Springs, Colorado
Build time: Two years

Drivetrain
Engine: Chrysler 408ci V-8
Transmission: A518
Transfer case(s): NorthWest Fabworks Blackbox, NP208 transfer case
Low range ratio(s): 2.62:1, 2.72:1, 7.13:1
Crawl ratio(s): 29.3:1, 30.4:1, 79.7:1
Front axle/differential: Dana 60, 4.56:1 gears/ARB Air Locker
Rear axle/differential: Dana 70HD, 4.56:1 gears/Eaton Detroit Locker

Suspension
Front: Skyjacker Softride D400S leaf springs, Willys Jeep Parts 3-in shackles, Bilstein 5100 series shocks
Rear: 56-in Pro Comp Chevy-application leaf springs, Willys Jeep Parts 3-in shackles, Bilstein 5100 series shocks
Steering: Offroad Design 4-in-drop pitman arm, PSC hydro-assist, radiator with fan

Tires/Wheels
Tires: 36x15.50R16LT Mickey Thompson Baja MTZ
Wheels: 16x10 Pro Comp Xtreme Rock Crawler Series 52

Miscellaneous
Lighting: 40-in LED lightbar, custom magnetic Pro Comp LED lights
Armor: Custom bumpers, nerf bars, belly cradle
Cool stuff: Front-mounted Superwinch Talon 9.5 winch, rear-mounted Badland 9,000-pound winch, VIAIR air compressor,

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