In the early 80s, American automakers scrambled to offer affordable and fuel efficient cars to cost-conscious buyers, resulting in a bunch of quickie alliances with up-and-coming Japanese car companies. Ford aligned with Mazda, GM cuddled up with Toyota, and Chrysler partnered with Mitsubishi, resulting in cars like the Plymouth Lazer, Dodge Colt, and Power Ram 50, a teeny pickup truck that for a couple of years offered a small turbodiesel motor.
But it was such a rare vehicle, even when new, that many buyers have never even heard of it. Frankly, neither had we until seeing this video of a purpose-built Power Ram 50 tearing down a dirt drag strip. It’s a funky looking vehicle, sure, but it goes like stink.
It’s a far cry from the vehicle Chrysler slapped a Dodge badge on back in 1979 as part of a deal with Mitsubishi. Peak output for the 2.3 liter turbodiesel was a dreadful 86 horsepower and 134 lb-ft of torque, though it was capable of hitting mid-30s in the MPG department, if you could actually manage to get it up to highway speeds (78 MPH was the maximum speed supposedly).
Of course there’s nothing stock about the gutted monster in the above video, boasting open exhaust and what one might call extreme lightweighting. Unmuffled motor sounds like it could stall at any moment, right up until the driver gets on the throttle and rockets his Power Ram down the dirt drag strip, bits of Earth flung high into the air behind him. We don’t know what’s been done to the motor unfortunately and whether it’s a swap, or some mutated monster of the 86 horsepower wimp it once was.
Regardless, it’s not a dirt dragster of the highest caliber. A weird end for an odd truck to be sure.