Video: You Won’t Believe How Much Pickup Trucks Have Changed in the Past 40 Years! (Or Maybe You Will)

Which do you prefer: the old school or the new school?

Dodge Ram and Ram 1500 - old vs. new featured
(Image: TFL Studios)

Your new Ram may be a leaps-and-bounds improvement over the old, old-school truck, but it’s not a Royal Ram.

Chunky styling, impressive capability and a bewildering level of technology dominate modern pickup truck design. Even your “base” level trucks offer up a perfectly livable and comfortable experience. But how much of that did you get in, say, 1982? That’s what Andre explores in today’s TFLtruck video — and just how much trucks have moved on in the past four decades is staggering.

Representing the old school, we have the two-door, regular cab 1982 Dodge Ram 150. Under that giant steel hood, there’s a 3.7-liter slant-six engine, mated to a 4-speed manual transmission. You can’t get either one of those in your modern half-ton, not to mention the old truck makes a blistering 95 horsepower and — get this — 170 lb-ft of torque. Granted, this is the basest of base engines you could get in this era of D series pickups, and you could get either the Chrysler 318 V-8 with 140 horsepower, or a 360-cubic-inch V-8 with 175 horsepower. Mind you, the old truck does pack a hugely useful 8-foot bed and it can still carry over 1,000 pounds.

Of course, the 2022 Ram 1500 packs a 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 with a much meatier 395 horsepower and 410 lb-ft of torque. It uses an 8-speed automatic transmission (rowing your own gears hasn’t been a thing in Ram’s 1500 half-ton trucks for years, sadly), and you get a host of technology like the Uconnect infotainment system, heated seats and cruise control, even in the Big Horn trim. Modern DT-generation Ram 1500s are available in either a shorter Quad Cab or the (more common) Crew Cab. Unlike the 8-foot bed in the old Ram, you can get either a 5-foot-7 or 6-foot-4 bed.

Check out the back-to-back test drives below!

To really get a feel for how much these trucks have evolved, though, Andre takes both the old ’82 Dodge Ram 150 4×2 “Royal” out on the road. While the new truck is a significant upgrade in pretty much every measurable way, it’s tough to argue against the old truck’s character and charm. Not only that, but the old Ram is still a comfortable and fairly easy to drive companion, even if it lacks all the safety features, technology and design of a modern Ram 1500.

Check out the old-versus-new video and let us know what you think below: