This 1993 Dodge Ramcharger is a relic from the past, the last model year before the old-school SUV was discontinued in America. It’s often overlooked by collectors, who prefer its rivals, the Ford Bronco and K5 Blazer. But Doug DeMuro decided to give the 1993 Ramcharger a try and liked its quirks and features.
Now, Dodge isn’t exactly known for making the most modern SUVs, but this Ramcharger makes even the Durango look high-tech. That’s because this isn’t a 4-door grocery-getting crossover. It’s a pickup-based utility vehicle that even comes with a built-in gun holder in the center console.
Back in the 1970s, General Motors pretty much ruled the utility vehicle market with its Blazer, which had the right features and size. Ford Bronco sales were slipping, and Chrysler saw an opportunity to capitalize by making its own “SUV.” Of course, they didn’t call them that back in the 1970s.
Two models were developed, the AW100, which was the Ramcharger, and the PW100 Plymouth Trailduster. They used a half-ton pickup truck (Dodge W100 4WD platform). One feature the Ramcharger had over the Blazer was a retractable hardtop (standard) with the option of a hardtop. Mopar engines were offered, including the 360 or 440 V8. But if you’re looking for a reliable old SUV, check out the 225 slant-six which was offered a bit later during the first generation.
DeMuro is technically checking out a second-generation Ramcharger, made from 1981 until 1993, though it wasn’t that different from the 1974 to 1980 model. The powertrain he’s offered is a 5.9-liter V8 that only manages to produce 200 horsepower.
You know it’s a 2nd-gen because it’s got an integral body design, as in the roof is attached and you can see the thick pillar behind the door. I think the side glass is incredibly cool on this mode, the way it wraps into the roof. You didn’t have that on the Blazer and Bronco.
The interior is a perfect demonstration of how old this 1993 Ramcharger actually is. Look past the 1990s steering wheel and you’ll see an upright, tan-colored dash that looks straight out of the 1970s. Not even a Grand Wagoneer from that period looks this retro.
The Ramcharger is strictly a 2-door, and access to the rear is made through the retractable front passenger seat. There’s enough room back there for kids, you wouldn’t buy this for the school run. Back in those days, the school run would have been handled far better by something like a Chrysler Town & Country minivan. The trunk is actually where this 4×4 shines, with plenty of room for beer coolers or hunting guns.
Doug’s review vehicle is in excellent condition and is sure to get people interested in buying one. The 1993 Ramcharger belongs to the very last model year and it’s got a two-tone red and gold paint finish and “Canyon Sport” lettering. The retro alloy wheels, which were specific to this top trim, also miraculously survived in great condition. Despite how cool these are, 2nd-gen Ramchargers are only worth an average of $20,000 right now. But there are not a lot of them, so the market could go crazy.