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Autotrader Find: Pristine, 2,000-Mile 1997 Dodge Ram 1500 SLT

Consider this: The least-expensive, brand-new Ram 1500 pickup truck that you can buy today lists for about $29,200. For that money, you’ll be looking at a truck with unpainted bumpers, dinky steel wheels and a vinyl-clad interior that boasts conveniences such as roll-up windows and manual door locks. Hey, at least air conditioning is standard now!

Or, you could save nearly $10,000 and snap up what has to be the best-kept first-generation "big rig" Ram left — a 1997 Dodge in the range-topping SLT trim level. It’s available on Autotrader in Charleston, West Virginia. Although the quality of photos provided by the seller leaves a little to be desired, there are a lot of nice things to be said about this one, beginning with the mere 2,040 miles on its odometer. That’s an average of just 89 miles added annually!

For one, it has a somewhat unusual regular cab and short bed configuration, meaning it stretches a relatively parking-lot-friendly length of 204 inches from bumper to bumper. Under the hood, it uses the optional 5.9-liter V8 — the biggest 8-cylinder engine Dodge offered at the time. And it shoots power to all four wheels through an automatic transmission and a 2-speed transfer case.

Inside, it has a plush bench seat wrapped in tan leather, and it appears to be well optioned with cruise control, power features and an AM/FM/CD/cassette stereo. By contrast, today’s cheapest Ram comes with only an AM/FM radio — though, admittedly, a cassette player is of dubious value today.

The 1995 Ram debuted to critical acclaim and helped elevate a largely forgotten truck builder to its current status. Its biggest selling point, at least initially, was its brawny, Peterbilt-lite styling, which is a theme Ram has continued for more than 25 years. Early Rams are getting hard to find, but they’re worth seeking out for their classic proportions and clean shape.

Whether it’s worth buying to preserve or enjoy, this ultra-low-mileage Ram 1500 is a lot of truck for the money. Find a Dodge Ram 1500 for sale

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