Dodge has been around producing trucks since 1917 but it was only in 1981 when the pickups were named Ram. Three decades and four generations later, the Dodge Ram 1500 has become one of the most successful full-size pickup trucks in the class. With its best-in-class ride, convenient storage options, and well-made interior, it is no surprise that truck enthusiasts are still enamored by the Dodge Ram 1500 until today.
First generation: 1981–1993 (D/W)
The truck’s name was inspired by the Ram hood ornament that first appeared on Dodge vehicles in 1933. The first generation Ram that came out in 1981 weighed less and was more resistant to rust. It has also followed the previous year’s model designations wherein "D" stood for two-wheel-drive while "W" stood for four-wheel-drive. Unlike any other pickup, the new truck was more aerodynamic outside, had a clean look and better-looking interiors, a full range of gas and diesel engines, and the highest chassis load and tow ratings. In the course of a few years, this truck was able to triple Dodge’s full-size-pickup market share.
Second generation: 1994–2002 (BR/BE)
The combination of a powerful engine lineup, car-like interiors, and rugged looks made the second generation Dodge Ram an instant hit in 1994. It was designed by Phillip E. Payne after an extensive research revealed that buyers like the "look of a big rig truck". Although it was only available in a standard cab, it was large enough to provide more room for passengers and in-cab cargo. The new Ram’s model designations was also changed to the 1500 half-ton, 2500 three-quarter-ton, and 3500 dual-rear-wheel one-ton in both two-wheel and four-wheel drive.
Third generation: 2002–2008 (DR/DH/D1/DC/DM)
Because truck enthusiasts loved the previous generation’s look, the newly revamped Ram 1500 which was launched in 2002, kept the “big rig” styling for the model’s third generation. It came in two cab styles, two bed lengths, and three trim levels, giving the buyers a lot of choices. The new Ram also had new motors as well as two new engine units and an old standby.
In 2003, the Dodge Ram went through another series of improvements which was followed by the introduction of Bluetooth connectivity and navigation system in 2004. In 2005, a six-speed manual gearbox became standard on the V6 and V8 engines. The Ram once again had a number of hardware updates in 2006. In 2007, stability control became available and a powerful new 4.7-liter V8 engine was added.
Fourth generation: 2009–present (DS/DJ)
Style, luxury, and performance – the all-new Dodge Ram offered more of these in 2009 for its fourth generation. The fully-redesigned Ram was introduced at the 2008 North American International Auto Show in Detroit featuring a new four-door cab style, new-rear suspension design, new hemi engine option, new storage system called the Rambox, added power, and an up-to-date technology.