Dodge has very few models right now, so has nothing to lose here.
We have (on many occasions) proclaimed our love of weird trucks like the Subaru Brat and Volkswagen Rabbit pickup. There are currently no models like these on the market today, a consequence of the stupid Chicken Tax. But we think it's about time that an American company step up and revive one of these practical pickups. The obvious choices would be the Chevy El Camino and Ford Ranchero, but we have something much weirder in mind.
Back in 1982, Dodge released the Rampage, a small, unibody, subcompact coupe based on the Chrysler L Platform. This platform was also used on the Dodge Omni and Charger, as well as the Plymouth Horizon and Turismo. The Dodge Rampage was also rebadged as the Plymouth Scamp and there was even a rare Shelby version (of which only 218 were built). By the time Dodge jumped into this market, the Ranchero had already been gone for three years and the El Camino would be on its way out in just five years. The Rampage was only sold from 1982 until 1984, when it was ultimately killed off.
The car itself was nothing special. It was FWD and came with a measly 2.2-liter carbureted straight-four engine with only 94 hp. Power was sent to either a four-speed manual or three-speed automatic, both of which were slow even with the car's 2,400 pounds curb weight. In 1983 a five-speed manual livened things up a bit, but the Rampage was never a solid performer. The Rampage did shine in efficiency, where it was able to achieve 21/29 mpg city/highway, which was great for the time. Even though the Rampage didn't succeed in the 1980s, we think that now is the perfect time to bring it back and do it right.
FCA is currently stuffing the Hellcat engine into almost everything. What started off as one model has now expanded to include a coupe, sedan and SUV. We don't think that the Hellcat lineup should stop there. We've pitched the idea of bringing back the Magnum as a Hellcat model or even stuffing the 707-hp engine into a Pacifica, but we'd really like to see Dodge bring back the Rampage. Chrysler and Dodge don't have many models at the moment, and this could bring a lot of unique buyers into dealerships. Where else will people be able to buy a 707-hp car that also has a bed for hauling large items?
The old Mercedes E-Class chassis is certainly large and robust enough to handle a model like the Rampage, and the name certainly fits in with what Dodge has been doing recently. The Rampage Hellcat just has a nice ring to it. We'd also include a regular SRT V8 version as well as a turbocharged four-cylinder model. Even with only a four-cylinder, the Rampage could still be a lot of fun and offer really good gas mileage. Dodge did flirt with the idea of bringing back the Rampage name as a concept in 2006. The concept was more of a conventional truck, but it showed that Dodge was willing to pull model names from its history.
We also wouldn't mind the inclusion of a two-door shooting brake version of the Challenger, which could be called the Omni. Dodge still has a while before the Charger and Challenger are updated with new FCA platforms, so we think that it should have as much fun with these cars as possible before they become more mainstream. Photo credit: Leblogauto, X-Tomi Design and Theophiluschin