The outrageousness of the SEMA Show continues with the Mike Copeland-built Hemi, mid-engine Dodge Rampage for his Arrington Performance company. In classic hot rod style, Copeland took one of the cheapest cars (or trucks?) made and put in one of the most outrageous engines around. Then just for some spice, he chose to go mid-engine.
What’s A Rampage?
“What’s a Dodge Rampage,” you may ask. Well, back in the 1970s Chrysler came out with its front-wheel-drive “K-Car” platform. It was cheap, available in many different body styles, and it saved the Chrysler Corporation as it sold a gajillion of them. They may have been crappy cars, but it was the right car and the right price at the right time.
One of the variants available was the El Camino-like Dodge Rampage. Plymouth also had its own called the “Scamp.” You could only get a four-banger, but you had a choice between a four-speed manual transmission or an automatic. The reason you no longer see many K-Cars is that they either rusted away or shook themselves to pieces. In spite of that, there is something appealing about the old Rampage, especially in this age of “everything trucks.”
Inside Arrington’s Mid-Engine Rampage
Arrington’s 1984 Rampage was the last of three years it was produced. A Factory Five GTM spec-racing chassis was cut up to fit the Rampage. These tube chassis are set up as mid-engine. Arrington built a 392 ci Hemi with ported heads, hot cam, Wiseco pistons, and stout Manley connecting rods to crank out 650 hp. The stack fuel-injection is by Borla. Kooks headers for a Chevy LS were modified to fit the Hemi, and stainless exhaust spits out of the back.
The transaxle is a Mendiola five-speed with a Centerforce clutch adapted to it. Centerforce also created the adaptor for the engine to trans hookup. Fourth and fifth gears are overdriven with a 2.89 final drive ratio. Forgeline 18-inch wheels, BFG Rival tires, and huge 14-inch Baer XTR disc brakes handle rolling and stopping duties. Under the Rampage hood, a gas tank and radiator take up where there once was a wheezing banger.
Inside black leather ProCar seats, a Pioneer audio system, Classic gauges, Vintage Air air conditioning, and suede were all packaged together. That rear wing is from Anderson Composites. The wheel openings have been radiused and flared, then the whole body was shot in 2020 Dodge Pumpkin Pearl.
Who Is Copeland And Arrington Performance?
Builder Copeland has been the go-to guy for third-gen Hemi conversions, and one of the first (if not the first) to do Hellcat swaps before kits and tribal knowledge made it easier to stab them into anything and everything. His Arrington Performance does everything third-gen Hemi-related, and Dodge’s engine development shop when it got back into NASCAR racing in 2001.
Though Arrington does real performance that doesn’t mean you can’t do something fun once in a while. When you want to stand out at the SEMA Show you build something crazy-but-serious like this mid-engine Rampage-Hemi mashup and have a big-enough booth to handle the crowds wanting to see what you brought.