A 1982 Dodge Rampage Brought Me to The Brand


There’s no denying that we’ve brought some pretty awesome muscle cars to the scene over the years, but for every high-horsepower Mopar that’s turned a generation of gear heads into fans of the brand, there are 10 hard working commuters that have done just the same. Take Billy Wheeler and his 1982 Dodge Rampage as an example. Billy says the truck was his first vehicle, and that it served him well through both high school and his first few years in the military. The little Rampage took Billy on plenty of adventures, including at least one brush with the local law enforcement. We’ll let him tell the tale.

“The funniest shocker was when I was pulled over by a local cop for “laying drags” in downtown. There were several little errors in his observations, but the biggest was when he made the statement, “Boy, don’t lie to me! I wasn’t born yesterday, I saw your back tires spinning!” After a short fit of laughter I told him he must have been born yesterday, because my truck was front wheel drive. Oh how I miss that little truck.”

To tell you the truth Billy, we miss that little truck too. It’s one of our all-time favorites. Keep the stories coming in the comments. Who knows? We might just feature yours.


  • NeonNites
    Posted March 8, 2011 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

    This car reminded me of the offspring of a Chevy Vega and an El Camino. I cannot remember if any of these came with a V6, but if you are going to have a pick up like vehicle then you need some power to move things. A two seater four banger pick up didn’t seem like a good idea. It looked cool and had a wild name, but the practicality of it excapes me. Now if it had a small diesel engine with a lot of torque than that would be fine. Interesting vehicle and the way gas prices are going now, it could work again.

  • 440
    Posted March 9, 2011 at 8:31 am | Permalink


    These cars came with a 2.2 4cy…but they only weighed 2400lbs…
    Under a 10 second 0-60 with the 98 hp 2.2 or 8 ish 0-60 for the 2.2 110 horse model,too bad no Turbo models were made !

    My sister had a new 1985 Plymouth Turismo 2.2(had the 110 hp,2.2 stickers on it ect) and it was quick enough,to dust off alot of cars,and was one of the quickest cars of that era..15 second range 1/4 mile,16’s with the 98 h.p 2.2..Remember these were very light cars,didnt need 200 or 300 hp to make them go !

    NHRA tested a non turbo Shelby Charger 110 hp 2.2 it would run under 16 seconds in the 1/4 and 0-50 in 5.5 seconds…no not 60 that was about 7-8 seconds..tested by nhra.And they also made a Rampage 2.2 with the 110 hp 4 banger,so times should be very close..

    They were for small businesses,homeowners who needed the versitality of a truck,but didnt need to tow,haul extreme loads…Good for fridges,stoves,lumber ect..or car parts to restore old Mopar’s !

  • Paul1963
    Posted March 9, 2011 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    I was a lot man at a dealership when the Rampage was introduced. When the big D-series and Mitsubishi-built D-50s spun their wheels on snow and ice, the Rampage just rolled on through.

  • Posted March 10, 2011 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

    Very cool!

  • Billy
    Posted March 17, 2011 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    Big THANKS to the guys at Red Letter Dodge for doing this. It really shows how broad the owner base is. That little truck is among my favorite vehicles I’ve owned. What made it impracticle and odd is what I liked about it so much… and I hope to lay hands on another one. That was my first Dodge, but its not the only. I’ve had a few since, and currently in my garage is a ’07 JK-U Rubicon and a 2010 Challenger SE. You can guarantee there will be another.

  • Juvenal C.
    Posted March 24, 2011 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    actually your wrong 440, they made shelby editions of this truck which came with a turbo. they were only made in CA.

  • Benjamin
    Posted July 14, 2013 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

    Chryler built a one off 1.7L 175hp naturally aspirated engine for this and if I remember right it went 0-60 in 5.5 seconds, the engine never made it to production though obviously. An article about it appeared in Mopar Magazine a while back.

    • Bill Heitman
      Posted December 2, 2014 at 2:04 am | Permalink

      The Rampage never had any motor in it besides the 2.2

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