Thoughts On A 1983 Ram Brochure And An Admission Of Youthful Crime: Cold Start

Cs Ramtruck

If you told me a few days ago that flipping through an old Ram truck brochure would bring up multiple thoughts and observations in my head, I’d have told you yeah, that sounds about right. Because of course it does! How could it not? Now, unfortunately, you’re going to have to listen to them, but I promise I’ll make it up to you by confessing to a three-decade-old crime.

First, I want to bring to your attention on that truck image up there what’s going on under the tailgate. See those five extra marker lamps stuck on there? I’m not sure I’ve ever seen that in the world, but there it is, on a Ram right in their own brochure. I assume it must be to make the wide dually body compliant with federal requirements that state that chonky fellas like this one need extra clearance lamps on the sides and three “identification lamps” so everyone knows a wide boy is there. Strangely, the two “clearance lamps” at the sides aren’t even as far to the edges as the regular taillights, and probably should be on those wide fenders, which stick out the most, right?

Plus, it feels lazy and cheap that they just re-used side marker lamp units, but whatever. This was ’80s Chrysler, they weren’t really swimming in cash.

Cs Ramseats

Also interesting: look at these great, vibrant interior colors! Ketchup, Mustard, Blue Plaidness, and Foggy Yawn. I pity the fools that picked the gray option there. Nothing but pity.

Cs Ramnotfire

Also, I looked at this picture and thought that truck was parked in front of a raging bush fire, until I realized that was just the reflection off the lake. It sure as hell looks like a fire, though. I bet there’s some lesson here about the fractal design of tree tops and the plasma edges of a fire, but I’ll leave that to someone actually smart.

And finally, a confession. You know the fantastic old Ram hood ornaments? These:

Cs Ramhoodornament

Well, when I first went off to college, at Emory University in Atlanta (I had a two-year grant; no way we could have afforded that otherwise, and after that grant was up, I was out) I was in that awkward process of getting to know the stranger who was now my roommate. Things were sorta difficult at first, until one night we bonded by going out and stealing every single Ram hood ornament from the university’s fleet of Ram trucks.

It was amazing. We ended up with a huge haul that we wore as pendants or gave as gifts and were best pals after that shared nighttime experience of running, pulling, and hiding from security guards. I still have one around here somewhere, I think.

Just don’t turn me in to campus police, narcs.

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24 Responses

  1. …and they all rusted away, starting from the fresh hole at the leading edge of the hood.

    Also, look at how those manly men can see everything in the bed without a stepladder or climbing gear. What a backward time that was.

    1. The Club Cab disappeared for much of the mid/late ’80s as well. It reappeared after NAFTA at the very end of the model cycle because apparently Chrysler de Mexico had been building them all along for that market.

  2. I love the bullet shaped cab-clearance lights on the dually. Just like on a classic Peterbilt. I regret that we, as a society, no longer value aesthetics. Just because something has to be there for utilities sake, doesnt mean that it cant be beautifully wrought from fine materials.

  3. Your crimes were much cooler than mine. We broke into our college and just took food. From a kitchen that those of us on campus had an unlimited meal plan for. It was not a worthwhile crime.

  4. Chevy/GMC duallys did have reflectors on the fender extensions, fore and aft, and yes they reused sidemarkers but with a twist. The amber ones facing forward were the same as the ’73-80 sidemarker and the aft-facing red ones popped from the same molds and were also used as sidemarkers on Stepsides from ’73 to about ’78 after which they went to box taillights (THOSE box taillights!) with built-in sidemarkers.

    After the 1981 facelift the dually markers continued as they were, memorializing 1973-80 styling until the last crewcab variants were phased out in 1990.

  5. I wonder how long before rear clearance lights become an add-on accessory for everyday trucks?

    Driving the other night, I saw a set of now-familiar amber ones in my rearview. But the proportions seemed too small. Sure enough, what passed me was a mid-sized crossover to which the driver had added them.

    The pickup equivalent of adding an aftermarket spoiler to your Corolla during the ’00s I guess.

    1. You can blame the Raptor for that. They stuck the clearance lights in the grille and suddenly everyone with a Tacoma had to have “pre-runner lights”. Now you can buy them on Amazon for pretty much anything.

  6. I still hate the Vinyl Mustard with the Metal buckles in them, the vinyl was hot enough, but I am sure I have a square or two in my back from the farm days in the hot august sun. Gramps had the exact beige truck shown in the pics down the article a bit

  7. You evil, evil manboi. The ram head is the only way to keep one of those things tracking straight on long road trips. You probably were the proximate cause for more suffering than just “aw, someone took the ornament”

    How do I know? Cuz I rode and drove endless miles in a Ramcharger. Enough to know that (1) locking the “electronic” diff was a “pray it works this time” every time and (2) the aircon was so poor that our dogs would get right next to the vents to get the only “cold” air blowing right across their panting tongues which filled the cabin with moist, dog breath.

    So yeah, what you did is not forgivable. Dozens of out of control, stinky fogged up trucks. That’s on you friend.

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