Truck Rewind: Scrappy Little Dodge Power Ram 50 Pickup Truck – Future Collectable?

Ram has just announced their intention to build a new midsize pickup truck by 2022. While we may have to wait another several years for a smaller Ram truck – how about this blast from the past?

Based on the Mitsubishi Mighty Max/Forte/L200, the Dodge Power Ram 50 Pickup Truck was the 4-wheel-drive (4WD) version of the Dodge D50 pickup truck. The Dodge D50 entered the U.S. market in 1979, several variants were built including the short-lived Plymouth Arrow and a diesel engine option between 1983-1985. Rare by today’s standards, the ’83 turbo-diesel came with a TC05 turbo making 80 hp and 125 lb-ft of torque. The ’84–’85 TD04 turbo-diesel made 86 hp and 134 lb-ft torque. U.S. production ended in 1994. Four-speed manuals were standard and a three-speed automatic transmission was optional.

A (much maligned) 3.0-liter V6 became available in nearly every market, but it was not a popular power-plant.

In 1981, the Dodge Power Ram 50 4WD was introduced. At the time, all Dodge trucks that came with 4WD were known as “Power Rams.” It came with a carbureted 2.6-liter I4 that produced 106 horsepower and 139 lb-ft of torque. While those numbers were not class-leading, the truck weighed well under 3,000-lbs and was considered very capable off-road. Despite the fact that Dodge introduced the mid-size Dodge Dakota in 1987, sales of the Dodge Power Ram 50 Pickup Truck continued to sell.

The Dodge Power Ram 50 had two bed lengths available after 1987. A 72-inch and an optional 88-inch bed were available with both beds sitting on a 105.5-inch (short bed) or 116.1-inch (long bed) wheelbase. Both beds were 55.7 inches wide.

I had fond memories of the Dodge Power Ram 50 Pickup Truck and its cousin, the Mitsubishi Mighty Max. They competed directly against the Ford Courier/Mazda B1500/1600/1800, Chevrolet Luv/Isuzu P’up, Datsun/Nissan trucks and Toyota trucks. While they were small trucks, these little trucks were sturdy being able to hold up to 1,500 lbs payload. Oddly, the maximum tow rating was 3,500 lbs. That number was the same for the 4-cylinder and V6 models (according to

Compared to other trucks at the time, the Dodge Power Ram 50 Pickup Truck was very affordable. In some trims, it was the least expensive truck in its class. Today, Dodge Power Ram 50 Pickup Trucks are hard to find in pristine condition. If you do find one for sale, they tend to undercut Toyotas by a significant margin.

I miss (“real”) small trucks like this. Don’t you?

Speaking of Ram…

Easily amused by anything with four wheels, Nathan Adlen reviews vehicles from the cheapest to the most prestigious. Wrecking yards, dealer lots, garages, racetracks, professional automotive testing and automotive journalism - Nathan has experienced a wide range of the automotive spectrum. Brought up in the California car culture and educated in theater, childhood education, film, journalism and history, Nathan now lives with his family in Denver, CO. His words, good humor and video are enjoyed worldwide.