Illustration by Derek BaconCar and driver
From the November 2021 issue Car and driver..
I always thought that the IROC was involved in the midlife crisis.Or maybe Saab 9000 turbo, Or 2-door Jeep Cherokee- A cooler car from my formative driving year.. But apparently deep in my mind is the need to revisit one of the less charismatic machines of my teenage life, the winter beater that beat you, Big Dodge Ram. ..
The BDR was my dad’s truck, but I drove it in the winter. This is the usual meaning in Maine. It was a two-wheel drive in 1987, with a slant six of 95 horsepower and a weak 4-speed. After the engine was confiscated on my way to school, I asked the dealer if the warranty would cover the upgrade to the V-8. That’s probably because everyone with a slant six and 7/70 warranty will have to fill the crankcase with Mr. Pib to win the 318.
So what did I buy? Of course, a 2003 regular cab short bed with a ram-manual transmission.It’s like a three-seater McLaren F1.. It is also a 4.7-liter V8 four-wheel drive vehicle. You might think, “I didn’t know they made it that way.” I didn’t do that until I saw the Craigslist ad.It’s like Lamb SRT-10 With four-wheel drive and half the power. Well, it’s less than half the power. But it has throttle-by-wire and fireworks seatbelt pretensioners, which I know because I’m a geek on the 3rd generation Rams right now. Hydrofoam frame? Look at you embracing the future of DaimlerChrysler in the early 2000s.
When I appeared at the seller’s house, he told me he had to buy it from his friend, the original owner, and order it. The clear coat is peeled off, the stereo is cut off, and heat and A / C only work when the fan is high. Yes: it has air conditioning! And a vinyl floor. And cruise control. And manual windows and door locks. Just a freak spec, this. I asked if cruise control would work. “I don’t know,” said the owner. “I haven’t tried it.” He also pointed out that disengaging the clutch in 2nd gear would give a push start. I didn’t ask how he knew the second was the best for that. I just handed over the money and went home to Big Dodge Ram, Part 2. Cruise control worked.
A few days later, I replaced it with a new head unit and moved the stereo. A few days later, I wired the powered subwoofer. I looked at all the performance mods for 4.7 V-8 and it didn’t take long as there was nothing. But like its 1987 ancestors, Lamb has a surprisingly good ride quality. Or, of course, given its flexible 8.5-inch suspension travel, I should say. I told you, I’m a nerd.You knew that the 2003 ram regular cab with a short bed was 207.7 inches and was actually 4.6 inches shorter than it is today. Toyota Tacoma Double cab? Hey, please come back here.
I have rum for about a week and love it. My kids learned how to use the power of their arms to roll windows, and my wife learned the etiquette of truck bench seats. I told her I had to get in the middle. She replied that if she had to ride in the middle, it was a self-fulfilling prophecy.
And I realized that I had never owned a pickup truck for some reason. Everyone, I understand what all the turmoil is. You can throw things into the bed, even if they are dirty. Hell, things can be real dirt! A friend tells me I need a Calvin decal that I’m peeing with the Chevrolet logo, but I’m what 16th century theologians are doing with domestic truck rivals, or you I don’t even understand where to order such things.
I’ve long argued that a midlife crisis car is an improvement in the senses you’re trying to get back, and should be an upgrade, not a clone. And I was right. Now I can always go out and turn the keys to see that the old Big Dodge Ram was really fun. But it would have been much cooler on the V-8.
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Fall in love with Ram1500 on Craigslist (return)
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