The history and popularity of one of America’s most iconic truck lines
For decades, the Ram line of pickup trucks has become synonymous with American ingenuity and knowhow, offering owners a reliable and hardworking option for their heavy-duty jobs. Beginning in 1981, Dodge Rams have gone through many adjustments and style changes, but their commitment to resourcefulness and classic ruggedness has yet to be modified.
The Dodge brothers began creating automobile parts for Ford in 1900. Eventually, the brothers decided to begin manufacturing complete vehicles themselves. The Dodge Brothers brand was eventually sold to the Chrysler Corporation in 1928. At this time, Dodge was manufacturing trucks, but they had not yet been given the Dodge Ram name.
The first appearance of the iconic Dodge ram symbol came much earlier than the truck line itself. In the 1930’s, hood ornaments became very popular. Avard T. Fairbanks had been commissioned by Chrysler already to create a hood ornament for Plymouth vehicles, and Dodge officials felt it was time to follow suit. Fairbanks created the iconic charging ram ornament in 1931; however, it wouldn’t be until fifty years later that a truck line would take its name from this classic mascot.
Beginnings in the 1980’s
In 1981, Dodge decided to revamp its ram (the symbol had been dropped in the 1950’s) and designate a truck line to carry the Dodge Ram name in order to show the trucks’ ruggedness. These 1981 Dodge Ram pickup trucks kept many of the previous models’ features. A “D” title still showed a two-wheel drive vehicle and a “W” designated a four-wheel, called a Power Ram.
In addition, 150, 250 and 350 numbers indicated towing capacity: half-ton, three-quarter ton and one ton respectively. The new Ram trucks boasted freshly updated dash panels and increased functionality compared to Dodge’s previous truck models although the engine and internal power remained similar.
A 90’s Redesign
In 1994, Dodge unveiled its newly designed Ram pickup, and it was met with instant success. Sales tripled between 1993 and 1994.
Numerous upgrades were introduced with the 1994 Ram line. They included increased cab space for passengers (the highest amount in a full-sized cab at that time), more engine options for all sizes including a V10, and safety features such as driver airbags and the option of anti-lock brakes on all four wheels. Dodge Rams also shed their previous towing labels and adopted the 1500, 2500 and 3500 model names that are still used today.
Throughout the rest of the 1990’s and into the 2000’s, Dodge Ram trucks continued to be refined and improved both stylistically and under the hood.
Dodge Ram in the New Millennium
In 2002, the Dodge Ram line headed into its third generation and was again updated with noticeable stylistic changes, increased cab space from previous models and an all new suspension and frame.
Throughout the first decade of the 2000’s, upgrades continued. Bluetooth compatibility and keyless starting options showed a side of Dodge Ram that was committed to the technology that was developing at that time as well as the rugged truck image that had originally boosted the brand’s popularity.
Constant research and development into more powerful engines, a more stable ride and even better safety features continued as the third generation of Dodge Rams was produced, and each year brought a better truck than years past.
The Ram brand officially made its split from Dodge in October of 2009 in order for each brand to focus on promoting its respective identity. Ram officials wanted the brand to center around the rugged, work intensive nature of their trucks. The same year also brought another redesign for all Ram models, and this fourth generation upgrade continues today.
To check out a hard-working Ram truck for yourself, schedule a test drive with Platte City-Airport Chrysler today. In the meantime, browse our online inventory for pictures and information about the Ram trucks we have in stock.