Ram Trucks History

The Ram Pickup, leading the herd since 1981. 

It's an American icon, defining what it means when you say and think the word truck. Ram is both a noun and an adjective. It's a lifestyle. This is Ram History. 

Now, to be clear, Dodge has made pickup trucks since as early as 1914, but this is the story of the Ram. In 1981 Dodge replaced the aging D-series pickup trucks with a new nameplate: the Ram. This would be the beginning of the legend that we know today as Ram. Put it this way, there's a reason the name has stuck for nearly 40 years. 1989 was when the Ram gained the name association that is still vaunted by enthusiasts all over today: Cummins. Cummins is a world-class producer of engines and power propulsion units, known for their outstanding quality and robust nature. The inclusion of a Cummins diesel in the Ram was only fitting then, both being the epitome of resilience. What set the Cummins apart from other diesels at the time was the straight-six cylinder layout, which made for a smoother, more balanced motor, direct injection, which negates the need to rely on glowplugs, and more importantly, a turbocharger. These Cummins were smaller than competing diesels, yet made more power while being inherently smoother. The 1st Gen Cummins made 160 horsepower, but a whopping 400 foot-pounds of torque. 

The Ram was updated in 1994 with a renewed styling that some might call the beginning of the shape that would span the next three decades. Power went up across the board, with a selection of Magnum V6s, V8s, the returning Cummins turbo-diesel, and even a V10. The Diesel was making 215 hp by 1998 through the help of a new four-valve cylinder head. Heavy-duty Dana axles were common on most models as well. 

2002 brought the third-generation, and with it came the return of a name that enchants the entire world still to this day: Hemi. Dodge's famous hemispherical combustion chambers were the cream of the crop among hot-rodders in the 1960s and 1970s. A new version was released in 2003, boasting an unheard-of-for-the-time 340 horsepower in the Ram 1500. No other truck could keep up with a Ram. You might remember the advertisements, "That thing got a Hemi?" "Oh yeah." The Cummins diesel grew to 6.7 liters of displacement as well, generating an astounding 350 horsepower. The V10 from a Viper even found its way into the SRT-10 Ram, resulting in a devastating 510 horsepower and 535 torques. Only from a Ram.

2009 saw the current fourth-generation being introduced with the Ram adding a new word to it's vocabulary: luxury. The Hemi was upgraded to 390 and later 395  horsepower. The big news was in 2010 when Dodge split the legendary Ram into its own brand: Ram Trucks. Currently available is a 3.0 liter EcoDiesel V6 which makes 240 horsepower and 420 pounds-feet of torque. And the Cummins? the highest spec now makes 385 horsepower. But, wait for it, the torque: Up to 930. NINE-HUNDRED THIRTY pounds of torque. That is the way of the Ram. Other models added were the Ram Sport and Ram Rebel, an off-road oriented variant. The Limited and Laramie models remain the epitome of luxury for full-size pickup trucks. Ram continues to offer a a manual transmission for their trucks as well, being only the brand to do so.

Ram looks to the future with the fifth-gen Ram 1500 for 2019. A new shapely body with an even more upmarket interior make for the most sophisticated Ram yet. Watch this space as the Ram legend continues. 


Thompsons Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram

126 Forni Road
Directions Placerville, CA 95667

  • Sales: (530) 303-2264
  • Service: (530) 303-7339
  • Parts: (530) 303-2617


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