Marking hype that’s almost endearing

Pickups are an ever-present, widely accepted member of the American landscape. But it didn’t use to be that way. Even in the 1980s, pickups were considered tools, not family transportation. So what happened? The 1994 Dodge Ram. No, that’s no marketing baloney or brand loyalty soaking through my journalistic integrity. Dodge’s second-generation of Ram pickups is largely credited as the catalyst that transformed the American pickup from a utilitarian workhorse to a friendly companion that wasn’t out-of-place in the mall parking lot. Both Ford and General Motors soon followed Dodge’s lead in making pickups focused more on people than cargo and low costs. The most current culmination of this transformation is Ford’s new Platinum trim for the 2018 Super Duty. Dolled up with all the options, this truck flirts with a $100,000 price tag.

Most than two decades ago, Dodge designers decided to add more creature comforts and convenience features to its pickup. The interesting backstory, as told in this video, is that a designer at Chrysler’s brand new headquarters and technology center went to an area of the complex still under construction to take photos of the construction works’ pickups. The design team studied the photos (Polaroids, no less) to see how loose items were stored inside the cabs. The research resulted in innovative storage solutions considered commonplace in modern trucks. Ram was also the first to offer a four-door extended cab, offering easier entry to the rear bench. Before that, Ford and GM were only using one door on extended cabs.

Ram also introduced the first V-10 engine in a pickup with its new 1994 Ram heavy duty. The venerable Cummins inline-six turbodiesel carried over from the first-generation Ram HD. There was also a trio of engines for the Ram 1500, including the 3.9-liter V-6, the 5.2-liter V-8, and the 5.9-liter V-8. Both the V-8s had a long history with Chrysler, with older version being better known by their cubic-inch displacement of 318 and 360, respectively. Power ranged from 175 horsepower and 230 pound-feet of torque in the V-6 up to 230 horses and 330 pound-feet in the 5.9-liter. The big 8.0-liter V-10 offered an impressive 300 horses and a diesel-like 450 pound-feet of torque. In fact, the gasoline V-10 put down 30 pound-feet more torque than the 5.9-liter Cummins turbodiesel.

Pickups have come a long way since the early 1990s, and it’s easy to pinpoint where their transition started. The Ram’s “big-rig” styling separated it from everything on the road and continues to directly influence Ram’s design language nearly 25 years later. There’s certainly a lot to be said for that.

Continue reading for more videos of the second-generation Dodge Ram.

1994 Dodge Ram Truck commercials

1994 Dodge Magnum V-10 Ram Truck commercial

Dodge Ram Pick Up Trucks 1994 Commercial - The Rules Have Changed

1997 Dodge Ram Truck Commercial

1998 Dodge Ram Quad Cab Commercial

Dodge Ram Truck Commercial (1996) The Rules Have Changed Payments America’s Truck Stops


Dodge Ram

1994 - 2001 Dodge Ram High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the 1994 Dodge Ram.

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