Fun Stuff

Find of the Week: 1984 Dodge Rampage

Why didn't this idea take off? In the early 1980s, Dodge came up with a relatively simple innovation – take the popular Omni compact car, saw the back half off, and put a pickup bed there instead. Don't do things by half-measures either, get a proper frame and leaf-springs to haul the weight.

The result was the sprightly little Dodge Rampage, a four-cylinder thrift-mobile that put the “box” in econobox. It had the ubiquitous 2.2L K-series engine for power, a choice of either a three-speed automatic or five-speed manual, a low entry-level price point, and the ability to haul around all kinds of gear.

The Rampage wasn't the only compact pickup at the time – you also had the Subaru Brat. But, for whatever reason, the Canadian public just wasn't buying into it. Australia is another story. Few were sold here, and because they were intended to be used hard and put away wet, even fewer Rampages survived the years. But this one did.

Part of a collection of Rampages owned by North Vancouver enthusiast Spencer Acker, this 1984 is from the last model year of Rampage sold. It's a Canadian model, and in excellent shape. All of Acker's machines look like they just rolled off the showroom floor – he's developed a huge collection of spares and knowledge about these car/trucks, and this '84 is in solid shape.

The engine runs like a top, the transmission just had a recent rebuild, and the brakes and tires are new as well. It all runs and drives great, and is at once an extremely unusual machine and easy to find engine parts for.

Acker reports reactions ranging from a thumbs-up to once being pulled over by a police officer who just couldn't believe that a Rampage was still around in such good shape. For storage purposes, he's winnowing his fleet of three down to two, and you can pick up your own rampaging oddball trucklet for just $3,500.