RAM Truck History: The Evolution of the RAM 1500

January 4th, 2019 by

Black 2019 RAM 1500 parked on gravel with mountains in the background

The RAM 1500 is a powerful pickup that delivers serious utility, style, and towing for drivers from Belleville to Smithton and throughout the U.S. It’s one of the most popular trucks in its segment, but have you ever wondered how that came to be? We’re exploring the Dodge RAM 1500 history to give you a better idea of how this truck evolved into what it is today.

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RAM Truck History: The Beginning

In 1981, Dodge first produced pickup trucks sporting the RAM name. In 1933, Dodge has used a ram’s head as a hood ornament on its truck to show that they were tough, and the symbol was brought back as a mascot in the early ‘80s.

These trucks used “D” to signify two-wheel drive and “W” to signify four-wheel drive, as well as 150 for half ton, 250 for three-quarter ton, and 350 for one ton. The RAM D150 was a two-wheel drive, half-ton truck.

These trucks had the option of a standard cab, extended cab called a club cab, our  four-door crew cab combined with a 6.5-foot bed or an 8-foot bed. They ran on a 3.7L slant six engine that delivered 95 hp, a 5.2L V8 that delivered 140 hp, or a 5.9L V8 that delivered 170 hp.

RAM Truck History: Truck Upgrades

In 1985, the Power RAM, the four-wheel-drive version, was updated to make it easier to drive. It received a Ram trac transfer case that allowed drivers to shift in and out of 4WD mode while driving at speeds of up to 55 mph.

Three new or updated engine options were introduced in 1989. There was the new 3.9L fuel injection V6 that delivered 125 hp, and the updated 5.9L V8 that also has fuel injection that delivered 190 hp. The third option was the new Cummins turbodiesel engine — a 5.9L inline six-cylinder engine that delivered 160 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque.

RAM Truck History: Today

The RAM 1500 continued to receive upgrades throughout the rest of the ‘80s, ‘90s, and early 2000s. Some years saw minor changes, while others saw major facelifts.

Today, the 2019 All-New RAM 1500 is the Motor Trend Truck of the Year for 2019. The 2020 model is available in six trim levels and offers best-in-class V8 towing of up to 12,750 pounds. Inside, you get the Uconnect® infotainment system with an available 12-inch touchscreen and a crew cab or quad cab, depending on which trim you choose.

To learn more about the RAM 1500 see our guide on the 2020 RAM 1500 towing capacity or the difference between the RAM 1500 crew cab and quad cab, contact us online, or visit us in Shiloh to speak to a member of our sales team and take a test drive.

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