Junkyard Gem: 1986 Dodge Ram 50


After years of selling the Isuzu Faster with Chevrolet LUV badges here, GM replaced it with the S-10 in 1982. Ford sold Mazda Proceeds with Courier badges for even more years, but ditched the Courier once the Ranger became available as a 1983 model. Chrysler was able to put truck beds on Omnirizons at that time, but didn’t have the deep pockets to develop its own rear-wheel-drive small pickup; for this reason, Dodge-badged Mitsubishi Forte pickups continued to be available in the United States all the way through the 1994 model year. Here’s one of those trucks, found in a Colorado car graveyard.

The first Chrysler-imported Mitsubishi Fortes showed up in the United States as 1979 models. The Dodge-badged version was known as the D-50, while Plymouth dealers got theirs with Arrow badges. The Dodge D-50 became the Ram 50 for the 1981 model year, while the final Plymouth Arrow trucks were sold as 1982 models.

29 1986 Dodge Ram 50 in Colorado wrecking yard photo by Murilee Martin

Just to make things more interesting, Mitsubishi started selling its own vehicles in the United States beginning with the 1983 model year. That meant that the Ram 50 had to compete for sales with a near-identical twin sporting Mitsubishi badges. Things in the Chrysler-Mitsubishi universe got even more exciting a bit later, when there were four marques selling essentially the same car here simultaneously: the Mitsubishi Mirage, Plymouth Colt, Dodge Colt and Eagle Summit.

22 1986 Dodge Ram 50 in Colorado wrecking yard photo by Murilee Martin

All of the Dodge D-50s and Ram 50s came with Mitsubishi power under their hoods. This one has a 2.0-liter SOHC straight-four rated at 88 horsepower and 108 pound-feet.

20 1986 Dodge Ram 50 in Colorado wrecking yard photo by Murilee Martin

For a while, a 2.3-liter Mitsubishi diesel was available in the Ram 50. It had been discontinued by 1986, however.

14 1986 Dodge Ram 50 in Colorado wrecking yard photo by Murilee MartinThis one has the base five-speed manual transmission.

35 1986 Dodge Ram 50 in Colorado wrecking yard photo by Murilee Martin

It appears that this truck was being used for long-term storage of many, many boxes of random household stuff when it was banished to this place.

33 1986 Dodge Ram 50 in Colorado wrecking yard photo by Murilee Martin

Much of the stuff was scattered on the ground nearby. Perhaps it was parked at a rent-a-storage facility and got evicted for lack of rent payments.

07 1986 Dodge Ram 50 in Colorado wrecking yard photo by Murilee Martin

Much of the contents consisted of stacks of newspapers and magazines from the 1960s and 1970s. Here’s an Art Buchwald column about then-Vice President Spiro Agnew from February 23, 1971.

06 1986 Dodge Ram 50 in Colorado wrecking yard photo by Murilee Martin

Here’s a Beetle Bailey strip from the same year. There’s plenty of history in the junkyard, if you know where to look.

08 1986 Dodge Ram 50 in Colorado wrecking yard photo by Murilee Martin

There must have been a half-ton of paper in this truck when it arrived here.

69 1986 Dodge Ram 50 in Colorado wrecking yard photo by Murilee Martin

Sadly, some family’s photo albums were here as well. Most of them were too far gone from water damage to be salvageable.

71 1986 Dodge Ram 50 in Colorado wrecking yard photo by Murilee Martin

I find this sort of thing in discarded vehicles with depressing regularity. It’s best to avoid storing your family’s memories in a vehicle that might get towed away.

12 1986 Dodge Ram 50 in Colorado wrecking yard photo by Murilee Martin

There were just over 50,000 miles on this truck when it stopped moving under its own power (or broke the speedometer cable).

It makes more expensive Japanese trucks hallucinate.

The small pickup for the biggest jobs.



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