In 1985, Dodge sent a red-and-white Ram D350 straight to Cummins with a request: figure out how to make the 5.9L inline-six diesel live in this beast. It was a move that Dodge desperately needed to make…the big-blocks had disappeared in 1978 and the 360ci small-block didn’t have the grunt to cut the mustard compared to the GM 6.2L diesel and Ford’s 6.9L IDI diesel sourced from International Harvester. Then there was that brief fling with the Mitsubishi 6DR5 diesel yanked from the Mitsubishi Fuso Jupiter, which plopped in the 105-horsepower six into the late 1970’s D-series truck. Let’s just say that didn’t work out very well.
But the Cummins mill…yeah, that worked all right. The 6BT was the kick in the ass that Dodge needed in their truck line, and from the moment they went on sale in 1989, those in the know suddenly had an urge to buy a Dodge truck that traced it’s roots all the way back to 1972, all because the engine was worth it. Forget dismal fuel economy with a big block, and believe in the power of torque…ev en a bone-stock first-gen Cummins truck is nothing to sneeze at, and a tweak here and there really makes the difference up. And that’s fine, if you love big 3/4 and one ton pickup trucks. But Dodge also had the Ramcharger, the full-size SUV based on the D-series platform. And it got left out in the cold when it came to diesels.
Which is a shame, really, because after looking over this particular truck, you get the feeling that Chrysler missed a hell of an opportunity by not at least trying an experiment out. Don’t be confused by the looks, this is a 1983 Ramcharger, albeit one that has been done exceptionally well and dressed up as a 1991-93 look-alike. I feel that need for an older truck acting up again…what about you?