Ram may have split from Dodge a decade ago, but the two share an extended common history. They’re both also often modified by performance teams at Mopar. FCA is bringing a wide range of Mopar-modded Dodge and Ram vehicles to SEMA this year. Some, like the Ram 1500 Rebel OTG, celebrate the pickup’s spirit of off-road exploration. But trucks haven’t only been used to tackle rocky trails. They’ve also been symbols of style. Which is why FCA is also bringing this: the Mopar Lowliner Concept, a 1968 Dodge D200 heavy-duty pickup seemingly straight out of Jack Rabbit Slim’s .
Dodge D200 Background
Before the first Dodge Ram, there was the Dodge D-series of trucks. The Dodge D200 was the ¾-ton, middle-weight option. Later, the heavy-duty D250 was built on it—this eventually led to today’s Ram 2500.
The Dodge D200 was also the basis for one of the first factory overlanders. In the 1970s, Dodge created the D200 Camper Special. A range-topping model, it came with quite a few off-road convenience features, such as an enlarged, 25-gallon fuel tank and upgraded electrical hookup.
The Mopar Lowliner features quite a bit more modification than that.
Mopar Lowliner 1968 Dodge D200: Exterior
To start, the Mopar team updated the D200’s original frame. They boxed it, meaning special boxing plates were welded in to improve rigidity and strength. While doing so, the wheelbase was lengthened and the front axle pushed forward three inches. Pushing the front forward shortened the front overhang, and let the new wheels fill their wells better.
The wheels themselves are custom-designed to mimic 60s designs. The fronts are 22” x 9.5”, and the rears are 22” x 11”. The rear tires are wide enough that Mopar had to widen the rear wells by 5” to make them fit. The wheels are colored Dairy Cream, as are the bumpers and grille. The rest of the truck? Delmonico Red, making the Lowliner heir to a long line of custom red Dodge pickups. The red color and distinct lines stand out especially because of what isn’t on the body. The Mopar team stripped away all chrome and unnecessary trim. Door and trunk handles? Gone. Badges? Thrown away. The team also replaced the headlights with LED units.
Lowering the ride height required fitting a custom air suspension all around. But the team wanted it drivable, so it comes with three modes: low, driving height, and driving height plus. We are talking about Midwest roads here. Packaging this suspension meant raising the truck bed floor six inches, and welding in a replacement from the current Ram 1500. But the higher bed floor wasn’t just for the suspension. The rear is also where Mopar but the fuel cell for the new engine.
What’s Under the Lowliner’s Hood
Remember how I said the Lowliner was the successor to a tradition of custom red Dodge pickups? I should’ve clarified that as a long line of fast red Dodge pickups. No, Mopar didn’t stick a Hellcat engine in the D200. They went with something more unusual.
Under the hood is a 5.9-liter inline-six turbodiesel engine, courtesy of Cummins. Autoblog stated that it produces an estimated 325 hp and 610 lb-ft of torque. And in keeping with the spirit of the truck, the transmission is a floor-mounted six-speed manual.
Interestingly, the Lowliner’s engine doesn’t come from any current Ram product. The Ram 1500 has a 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6, and the Ram 2500 offers a 6.7-liter turbodiesel inline-six. Before Ram was its own brand, there was a 5.9-liter turbodiesel Dodge Ram. However, that engine was discontinued with the 2009 separation and didn’t develop nearly as much power or torque.
Mopar Lowliner 1968 Dodge D200: Interior
The Mopar team also made sure the interior could match the exterior for flair. The original bench seat remains, although covered by distressed Blazing Saddle Tan leather. The headliner is made of the same material and features the Mopar logo. The cloth floor mats may be grey, but they’re trimmed with color-matching leather.
The steering wheel is also the 1968 original, as is the shifter. However, the shifter knob is custom-made and color-matched to the red exterior. In fact, the only metal inside the cabin that isn’t painted Delmonico Red is the aluminum instrument panel.
We’re looking forward to the 1968 Dodge D200 Lowliner making a splash at SEMA.