While Ford Model T moved Americans, Dodge was the company that moved America forward. In 1903, the Dodge Brothers only built components for Ransom Old vehicles and some engines for the military. In 1914, the brothers decided it was time to create their own vehicle, a touring car with a leather interior and a steel body and frame.
This vehicle offered 75% more power and cost 60% more than the Model T, but it was the first real pickup. And the brothers decided to offer the body length and club cab of their choice when Ford would only sell black cars. To begin with, the company was similar to its competitors and offered a pickup based on an ordinary sedan with a new body. But eventually the brothers would make a panel van with a payload of 1000 pounds, which would bolster their market presence.
However, in 1929, after moving from investors to a new car company, the brothers designed their last pickup together: a 45-horsepower single-ton truck. The last car designed by the brothers was the first unibody car launched six years before Chrysler’s Airflow.
As you can see, pick ups have always been dodgesbread and butter. And it was in the 1930s that the brand got the ball rolling with the first mention of the famous RAM. Let’s start the journey!
9/9 New engine and a RAM
As we mentioned, the company was acquired by the Chrysler Corporation. For the first era of Chrysler Dodges, the company used a six-cylinder Plymouth engine. These vehicles were given a naming system for the next 15 years and C was for the trucks.
These trucks, or pick-ups, were rolled off the assembly line with an ornament on the hood. This was a sign to show off the robustness of the new trucks. The pickups would evolve, get new engines, move the cab a little further forward to carry more weight and even a new chassis design. Before long, the pickup completely changed.
In 1939, the company redesigned the pickup to look more streamlined. It had bigger brakes, more seating space and a four-speed transmission. During World War II, engineers began designing and manufacturing a light four-wheel drive pickup truck.
After the war, Dodge had just opened a large factory and designed and built their first diesel engine. This was also the first time they used the term Job-Rated. In the 1940s, it was hard to find a pickup manufacturer that made headway like Dodge. In 1946 the Power Wagon was introduced. A legend that would rule.
There would be three different series of Power Wagon until it was replaced by the RAM. As the Power Wagon continued to drive, Dodge continued to build new pickups.
7/9 Dodge Pilothouse
The post-war B-series of Dodge trucks, or Pilothouse pickup truck, was a vehicle of modern designs for the time and well built. It lacked options compared to the competition.
That said, the B Series was a success because it was simple, robust and affordable. In the end, they did offer a few variants, including a bare chassis for specific commercial customers. But times changed quickly and Dodge had to evolve to maintain its position in the market.
6/9 Dodge C Series
As mentioned, other competing brands in the segment developed new models with many options. The Dodge crew had to do something to stake their claim on the market.
In 1954, the Dodge engineers and crew presented the Dodge C-Series. It was brand new from the ground up, with a new chassis, body and engine. The original series came with fins on the loading floor, while the square loading bay caught the attention of everyone passing by. It also came with power steering and brakes and a 12-volt electrical system. Like the competition, these were available in multiple specifications, with the ‘Sweptline’ being the top of the range.
5/9 Dodge D Series
One of the longest-running American pickups, the D Series reinvented the sector. When it was introduced in 1961, it came with all new components, engines and drivetrain. With its muscular styling features, it was sure to become an American legend as well. Available with a six-cylinder or V8 and multiple trim levels, you could say there was a Dodge D-series.
There was even a special Custom Sports Special, which could be called the world’s first performance truck with 365 horsepower and revised suspension. During its lifetime there were three generations. The first was produced between 1961 and 1965.
The second generation came with a redesign of the body and four-wheel drive. There were also interior changes and different trim levels. And the D Series was available in the D100, D200 and D300, with each model getting more powerful and bigger. That said, the D100 is a true American classic.
With the third generation, the pickup was restyled and had independent front suspension. It also came with multiple engine configurations and a diesel option. Even with the fuel crisis of the late 1970s, the diesel offering didn’t take off, but a new era for Dodge Pickups dawned.
4/9 The Return of RAM!
In the late 1970s, Chrysler was in serious financial trouble. With the company changing CEOs, the new leadership focused on the brand’s best-selling D-series trucks. These vehicles had sold well and had a reputation for being tough. The first generation of RAMs was renamed D100s.
While there were tons of engine options and trim levels, it was already obsolete when the switch to the new branding happened.
3/9 Second generation of Dodge RAM
Between 1994 and 2001, the Dodge RAM became a true success story of the decade.
When it came to designing the new RAM, the original plan was rejected and the team was tasked with recreating it within a six-month timeline. The result was a design that affected every RAM vehicle. It’s also worth noting that sales skyrocketed when it launched. It outperformed its closest competitors, Ford and Chevrolet.
As you might expect, Dodge offered both V6 and V8 options under the hood. There was even an option for a V10, which came from the Viper. During these years, Dodge would release several special editions, including a Limited Edition Indy Pace and SS/T Package. A more powerful diesel pickup was also sold in a package called High Output.
The last one was the off-road edition.
2/9 Third generation Dodge Ram
The third generation RAM was in development from 1996 and did not go into production until 2002. As expected, major changes include an all-new frame, suspension, drivetrain, interior and sheet metal. And as usual, these pickups came with plenty of spec options, but it’s the SRT-10 that grabs everyone’s attention.
It broke the Guinness World Record and the Sports Car Club of America record for the world’s fastest production truck in 2004, averaging 154.587 mph on test drives. Using the V10 engine from the Viper, DaimlerChrysler’s PVO or Performance Vehicle Operations created a legend. In 2010, the Dodge Trucks Division was spun off from parent company Dodge to form RAM Pickups.
1/9 RAM Trucks fourth generation
The fourth generation went into production in 2009. Due to the change in branding, the entry-level truck started out as a Dodge Ram 1500 but changed to the new RAM 1500. With the new range came new features such as the bed cover storage solution, the Rambox system and more cab options. Additional styling changes, new radios, infotainment systems and even a high fuel consumption model.
The forces that are at Dodge also decided to revive another legendary name with the introduction of the Power Wagon in 2014. There was an attempt to create a plug-in hybrid, but the project was abandoned. canceled due to battery problems. As RAM pickups move into the future, it will be interesting to see where they go.