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RAM 1500 History

RAM trucks were originally called Dodge Ram trucks, up until about 2010. The name RAM was first used in the 1981 model year when Dodge decided to retire and rebadge the Dodge D series pickup and the Dodge B series Vans. Dodge had been using the ram’s head ornament on some models as early as 1933.

First Generation

RAM trucks and vans were first introduced in October of 1980. This first generation featured a ram’s head which had been used from 1932 to 1954. This ornament started out just being used on four-wheel drive models. As was the practice of the time, Dodge used the number 150 to indicate a half-ton truck, a 250 to indicate a three-quarter ton truck, and a 350 to reflect a one-ton truck while the first engine choices were a 225 slant-six, a 318, or a 360 V8. In 1988, the slant-six was replaced with a 3.9L fuel-injected V6.

The Second Generation

In 1986, the second generation of RAM trucks began. Two design ideas were presented to upgrade the trucks, but both were scrapped because it looked too much like other trucks. So the new design that was better received by buyers had a big-rig looking front end and a larger grille. RAM added several different engines in this generation: a 3.9L V6, a 5.2L V8, a 5.9L V8, a 5.9L Cummins Turbo Diesel, and an 8.0L V10. By this time, RAM had already changed the 150, 250, and 350 designations to 1500, 2500, and 3500.

The Third Generation

This generation was developed in 2001 and debuted in 2002. The updates included an all-new frame, suspensions, powertrains, interiors, and sheet metal. The crew cab models in this generation were quad-cab trucks with four rear-opening doors. In 2006, the RAM received a “Mega Cab” configuration, with a cargo box and 22 inches of extra cab space. Additionally in 2006, Bluetooth and Sirius Satellite became available.

Third Generation

The third generation of Silverado spanned 2014-2018. This generation stood out above the previous ones because these Silverados were quieter, smoother, and more powerful. These models gave the buyers a new electric steering assist system that made for simpler steering effort, refined suspension and improved handling and response. This generation stepped up the power once again with engine options like the 4.3L V6 that was tweaked from 195 to 285 hp. Customers also had the option for a stronger 420 hp 6.2L V8. These models also included a new powertrain, with four-wheel drive available for all models.

Interior-wise, these models now had plusher seats with OnStar and MyLink touch-screen interface. While the outside received new fascia and grille, full-width bumpers, sculpted fenders, the body had more aluminum.

The Fourth Generation

In 2009, a new four-door cab configuration and manual transmissions were marketed for a time, but no major changes until about 2013. Halogen headlamps were offered as were LED turn signals and parking lamps, Dodge was removed from the dash and RAM was added. The 3.7L V6 is discontinued and replaced with a 4.7L V8 with a 6-speed transmission. Tech-wise, a monochrome LCD display screen is added, as well as a 3.5 mm AUX input jack and a single USB port is added. An upgrade featured a 5-inch color touch screen display, voice control, a micro-SD slot, Bluetooth for phone, and A2DP wireless stereo audio streaming capability and other tech features.

The Fifth Generation

The fifth generation of RAMs started in 2018, with advances in electric and hybrid vehicles as well as a payload increase on the 1500 by 2300 lbs. and a tow rating of up to 12,750 lbs. This generation of 1500 models comes with seven trim levels compared to the previous 11 trim levels. Technological advances included a new U-connect platform with a 12-inch touchscreen, the largest in its class.

To find out more about RAM 1500 trucks, come to Premier Clearance Center Metairie, proudly serving New Orleans, Kenner, and Chalmette, for details or to set up a test drive.

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