Monday, September 11, 2017

The Svelte 1994 Dodge Ram Pickup

I seldom write about trucks here, only doing so when something really interests me. Such is the case with the redesign of the Dodge pickup truck line for the 1994 model year.

The 1981 first-generation Dodge Ram design was typical of pickup styling in those days -- a squared-off body sporting a bold grille.  The Wikipedia entry on "Ram Pickups" notes how the redesign for 1994 came to be.

What Chrysler stylists did was create a more rounded, more graceful shape.  One might expect that this "feminized" effect would run counter to expectations of trucks having rough 'n' tough "masculine" personalities.  What made the design truck-like was the bold, Dodge "gunsight" grille that served to counteract the curves.  The result was a huge sale success, an increase of about six times between 1993 and 1996.

General Motors and Ford eventually redesigned their pickup lines and Ram sales levels retreated.  Future Ram styling moved in a more powerful, less graceful direction.  That evolution does not detract from the 1994 Dodge Ram's important place in transportation design history.


Front view of the newly designed for 1981 Dodge Power Ram Royal SE W150.  Note the rectangular headlights and the strong, rectangular theme of the frontal styling.

The same truck as seen from the side in this public relations photo.  Very rectangular and very pre-aerodynamic.

The 1994 Dodge Ram 1500.  More rounded with a suggestion that the design might have had some wind-tunnel testing.  Headlights are similarly rectangular.  But though the frontal theme remains basically rectangular, this has been softened.

What struck me when the '94 Rams appeared was the fadeaway front fender crossing over onto the door.  It reminds me of front fenderlines on 1946-48 Dodges, DeSotos and Chryslers.  There is a slight fenderline echo in the sheet metal above the rear wheel opening.

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