History of the Ram 1500

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Photo Credit: lilcrazyfuzzy/iStock Photo

Ram 1500 is undoubtedly one of the most iconic names in trucks. This popular vehicle has a long history that can be traced back to nearly 100 years ago, when the Dodge brothers began manufacturing trucks in 1917. Within the next few years, Dodge was embellishing its trucks with a hood ornament shaped as a ram, which symbolized the vehicle’s toughness and resilience like that of a wild animal.  

Around the middle of the 20th century, Dodge phased off the ram logo from its trucks, but it made a comeback in 1981 when the truck’s new model was launched with improvements in engine technology, towing capability, and trim options.

The All-New Ram

The all-new Ram was introduced in 1994 as a second generation ram truck, which boasted of a powerful engine, comfortable cabins and various other refinements and upgrades. The numbers attached with the model relate to its towing capacity. The Ram 1500 has a capacity of half a ton, the 2500 has a capacity of three-quarters of a ton, and the 3500 has a capacity of one tone.

The third generation Ram 1500 was launched in 2002, while the upgrades for 2500 and 3500 came in next year. New suspensions and frames were the hallmarks of the new models. The overhaul led to a jump in sales and established the Ram as one of the top contenders in the trucks market.

The fourth generation Ram 1500 made its debut in 2009, and within two years, the Ram trucks brand separated from Dodge. The goal of this spinoff was to focus exclusively on customers that depend on trucks as an integral part of their lifestyle rather than the casual automobile buyers. Since then, Dodge sells only cars, while the Ram lineup comprises heavy duty trucks and pickups.

In all, over the last nearly four decades since the Ram 1500 was first introduced, it has gone through a gradual evolution and emerged as one of the leading names in trucks.

First Generation: 1981 to 1993

Although the Ram hood was first used on Dodge vehicles way back in the 1930s, the real RAM truck as we know it today was introduced to the world only in 1981. In terms of exteriors, the Dodge Ram D150 and W150 looked like enhanced versions of the 1972 Dodge D-Series pickup. But the interiors were given a complete overhaul, which included a redesigned dashboard and a new bench seat.

Three engine options were originally introduced: a pair of V8s and 225 Slant-6 (which eventually got replaced with a V6 3.5 liters fuel-injected engine. In 1989, the company also added another option – the Cummins B Series engine. By that time, the sales had really begun to gather steam.

Second Generation: 1994 to 2002

With the demand for the truck on the rise, the company began the development of the second generation Ram 150 in 1986. However, it was not until 1990 that the new truck could be presented before the markets. Full scale production was launched in 1994. The truck redesign was extreme, and moved away from the old Dodge D-Series.

It was akin to something resembling a big rig, which radically differentiated it from the competitors. This bold redesign became the foundation of the line going forward. The name was changed at this stage from 150 to 1500. Sales grew rapidly, and in 1994, Ram 1500 was named “Truck of the Year”. The 1996 movie “Twister” featured it as the hero truck. This second generation Dodge Ram 1500 roared successfully well into the new millennium.

Third Generation: 2002 to 2009

In 2001, the company introduced the Dodge Ram 1500 third generation. While the overall physical appearance of the truck did not change substantially, performance-wise it received a complete overhaul. Improved powertrain, better suspension, and a new frame were some of the major changes of Ram 1500 parts.

Most strikingly, the live axles of the 1500 4 WD were replaced with an independent front suspension. The model was also high on the 21st century technologies, and offered SIRIUS Satellite Radio, Bluetooth connectivity, and other latest tech enhancements of that time.

Fourth Generation: 2009 to 2018

With the fourth generation Ram 1500, the company introduced some key improvements in terms of design. It included a new 4-door cab and the innovative Rambox storage system. But the top highlight was the new 5.7L Hemi V8 engine. With this model, the Ram 1500 had finally come of age, and stood tall on its own merit, rather than continue to depend on the iconic Dodge legacy.

Fifth Generation: 2019 onwards

The Ram 1500 in 2019 boasts of a stunning new, aerodynamic design, a handsome grille featuring the RAM name, and wraparound headlamps. MotorTrends named it the “Truck of the Year” for the whole range of new capabilities and features the new Ram 2019 introduced.

Exterior Design

Both Ram 1500 and HD (Heavy Duty) models offer optional full LED headlamps on most trim levels. Chrome or black rear and front bumpers, door and tailgate handles, and side mirrors, as well as chrome or black front grilles with exceptional designs are available for each trim level. On select trim levels, it also offers a vented Sport Hood.

Cab Configurations

Two separate configurations are offered for the all-new 2019 Ram 1500: either a 4-door Crew Cab with a Standard Bed or Short Bed; or a 4-door Quad Cab (Extended Cab) which comes with a Standard Bed. The all-new Ram HD (Heavy Duty) is offered in three configurations: a 4-door Mega Cab along with a Standard Bed; a 4-door Crew Cab that comes with a Long Bed or a Standard Bed; and a 2-door Regular Cab which has a Long Bed.

Powertrain

Irrespective of the cab configuration, all models of the 2019 Ram 1500 are powered by the 3.6 liters Pentastar V6 engine delivering 305 HP and 269 pound-feet of torque. This is the base engine option, but the engine is fitted with a mild hybrid system called “eTorque”, which provides the truck with better fuel economy and a higher towing capacity.

The Ram 1500 has indeed come a long way since it was re-introduced in 1981, and it continues to fascinate truck lovers across the US and many other countries worldwide.

         
 

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