Then Vs. Now: Putting The Very First Cummins Ram Against The Latest

Then Vs. Now: Putting The Very First Cummins Ram Against The Latest

I’ll be the first in line to say that trucks of the last two decades are both leaps and bounds over their older forms, and yet somehow are worse in many, many regards. We certainly are not going to knock the power increases, reliability improvements, or better materials used one bit…that’s progress. But the combination of needless luxuries that make no sense for anyone except those who love the one-upmanship game or non-truck types who have fallen madly in love with owning the biggest thing out there, and the growth of full-size pickups have turned us off on them. Sure, you can go out and pick up a truck that has 1,000 ft/lbs of torque at the ready that will work it’s ass off for you all day long, but when the basic half-ton model with the smallest engine is over $30K and overloaded duallies that give Cadillacs and Lincolns a run for their money are now pushing six figures, there is no doubt that something got lost along the way.

What better way to visually explain that than to have a comparison between a new Ram 3500 dually and the prototype Cummins Ram, the very first Dodge D350 to sport a 6BT engine underneath the hood? Dodge wanted a diesel pickup, even after a failed attempt in 1978 using Mitsubishi diesels. The Cummins mill proved to be a wise choice, because from the moment it debuted in 1989 for sale, the diesel Ram had a reputation for strength and durability, for power and proven capability, and for an image. A Cummins-powered Ram was a tool, a worker’s choice. You saw them at construction sites, working with road crews, and every other place where the pickup truck is a tool and not the family car. Now, you’re just as likely to find a diesel Ram parked at any store, at any event, or on any road. It’s a status symbol, just of a different type.

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5 thoughts on “Then Vs. Now: Putting The Very First Cummins Ram Against The Latest

  1. KCR

    I think these trucks saved Dodge. And as the other manufactures tried to re-invent the diesel engine, Dodge was smart enough to just use what was already on the market,that worked. Some other makers are still trying to figure out what they want to use.

  2. crazy canuck

    my 1st gen is love hate . love the cummins hate the dodge trans electrics brakes etc

  3. Dick Fitzwell

    Why do automotive journalists hate nice trucks so much? the first paragraph makes me wonder if the author was touched inappropriately by a Denali

    1. Randall Buchanan

      Really you don\’t get that? Trucks should be trucks not \”Denali\’s\” He\’s just saying we have lost that and I agree. I personally wish that trucks had remained affordable and basic. I can\’t afford todays truck even though I need one twice a month. I do not need NAV or pretty much any other luxury in a truck. Perhaps I could special order just what I need and save even more from the base offering.My father special ordered a truck in 89 he ordered a pickup with no radio no a/c crank windows etc. my son still drives it. IT is a truck! Maybe the problem is not in the vehicle but the name…\”pickup\” is something lost to the past now we have diesel runabouts with a small exposed grocery area.

  4. Wesley Wilkes

    I thought they might be on the right track when they brought back the Tradesman. I have made many trips to the dealer and they never have one in stock. They tell me it would cost more to buy the plain truck that it does to buy one of the stock trucks.

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