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The Evolution of the Iconic Dodge Ram

Dodge is one of the oldest American automakers, and is known for producing rugged, dependable pickup trucks. Its slogan “Built Ram Tough” has become a household phrase, making the Dodge Ram synonymous with hard-working trucks. However, as Auto Influence notes, the Ram name actually predates the truck itself. Here is a little bit of history surrounding the Dodge Ram, along with a few other facts you may find interesting.

Dodge Ram hood ornament

In 1933, Dodge began introducing a Ram hood ornament on all its pickup trucks. No official Dodge Ram truck existed at that time. Instead, the Ram served as a symbol of a truck’s ruggedness and was included on all pickup models produced by the automaker.

The company continued to include Ram hood ornaments on its pickup trucks until the mid-1950s. It’s not clear why it were dropped; however, these ornaments would not stay gone forever. In 1981, the first generation of Dodge Ram pickup trucks was introduced, and once again included the iconic Ram hood ornament.

First-generation Dodge Ram

The first generation of Ram trucks was produced between 1981 and 1993. At that time, all two-wheel drive models were referred to as “Ram” pickups, while four-wheel drive models were called “Power Rams.” In all, there were three versions:

  • 150, which could haul a half-ton
  • 250, which was capable of hauling three-quarters of a ton
  • 350, a model that could carry a full ton

Near the end of its first generation run, Dodge added a Cummins B engine. This more powerful engine was available on 250 and 350 models and solidified the Ram as a rugged, tough vehicle.

Second-generation

Second generation Rams were introduced in 1994, and produced throughout the 2001 model year. The second generation was actually scheduled for release in 1991, but the company execs felt the design was too basic. Designers went back to the drawing board and finally came up with something that was different from every other pickup on the market.

With the second generation Ram, drivers enjoyed smoother operation that many claim often felt just like driving a car. At the same time, Dodge increased its engine’s power, offering V6 and V8 turbocharged motors. A few pickups were even equipped with a V10 option that could crank out 300 hp and 450 lb-ft of torque.

The updated Ram was also designed with style in mind. For the first time, Ram owners were offered faux wood trim, CD and cassette players, leather seats and other options.

Third-generation

Introduced in 2002, the third generation Ram had improved handling features as well as advanced technology. By this time, consumers were looking for trucks that were not only rugged, but had a wide range of features. The introduction of the 2002 Ram accomplished all of these feats without sacrificing the oversized bed the truck had become so well known for.

The third-generation Ram was initially received very well. Sales continued to soar until a recession hit near the end of the decade. At that time, sales declined as buying a luxury pickup was no longer feasible for a good number of Americans.

Ram separating from Dodge?

In 2010, Dodge announced that it would no longer remain a part of Ram trucks. That didn’t mean that Ram trucks were going away, only that Dodge would no longer include its name in the branding.

The Dodge Ram has undergone many changes over the years. Even so, one thing that has remained constant is the truck’s reputation. Many first-generation trucks are still on the road, and continue to provide its owners with the same type of toughness these trucks have always been known for.