You’ve probably noticed an increasing number of stories on classic trucks here at Automobile, and it’s not just the case on our site—vintage 4x4s are hot stuff right now. As we’ve noted repeatedly, classic trucks, SUVs, and off-roaders are the next big thing in the collector market, but there’s still time to ride the wave in terms of certain models.
It’s far too late to easily find affordable, top-condition Land Cruisers, Broncos, Wagoneers, and various pickups from the 1960s, ’70s, and ’80s. Even weirdos like the Isuzu Trooper and unibody XJ-generation Jeep Cherokee are feeling the squeeze.
If we had the capital, we’d start hoarding lesser known models like the Nissan D21 Hardbody or Plymouth Arrow. However, stuff like that isn’t necessarily the best investment, so better money is probably spent on what is perhaps the vintage 4×4 market’s best kept secret: the Dodge Ramcharger.
Pity the poor Ramcharger. Existing deep in the shadow of the Bronco and the Blazer even since new, the Ramcharger gets passed over for big-money builds and restorations, leaving the majority of surviving examples beaten and abused. It’s a shame, considering these two-doors are handsome brutes with a similar brawny, let-your-chest-hair-flow vibe that makes the Bronco and K5 Blazer so popular. We even said as much back in 2012, when we pegged the early Ramcharger as an up and coming Collectible Classic. (Even less well known is its mechanical twin, the Plymouth Trail Duster, shown below with an earlier example of the Dodge.)
We’d start our Mopar 4×4 collection with this 1985 Dodge Ramcharger Prospector that’s crossing the block at Barrett-Jackson’s 2019 Scottsdale auction. It’s covered just 7,563 miles since new, and looks it. You don’t see many Ramchargers this clean, and especially not with the charming Prospector package. Upgraded fully with the Prospector II version of the pack—which this one has—the SUV arrived with two-tone paint, A/C, painted wheels, and power front windows, among other things. Each Prospector II also came standard with the “Royal SE Décor Package,” incorporating bucket seats, a center console, an aluminum grille, and wood applique for the door panels and other locations.
According to the listing, it has the original 5.9-liter (360 ci) V-8, backed by a three-speed automatic. Not much has been done to it over the years, but it’s allegedly refreshed and is ready to drive to local shows and cruise-ins. Smitten? We thought so—we certainly are.
Barrett-Jackson ushers in a new year of high-octane auction action during its 48th Annual Scottsdale Auction, featuring some of the world’s most coveted collector vehicles and authentic automobilia collectibles, January 12–20, 2019, at WestWorld of Scottsdale. As in decades past, The World’s Greatest Collector Car Auctions will be the epicenter of Collector Car Auction Week and entertain thousands of automotive enthusiasts with interactive exhibits, entertainment, and activities. Check your local TV listings to see it live on MotorTrend Network and download the app for exclusive, live coverage.