Search Cars for Sale

Autotrader Find: Rare 1990 Dodge Ram 50 SE 4×4


When you think of a small Dodge pickup truck, you probably think of the Dodge Dakota. Unless you have an eclectic taste in old trucks. Then you’d probably think of a Dodge Ram 50, which we have for today’s Autotrader Find. Specifically, it’s a 1990 Dodge Ram 50 SE 4×4 with reasonable mileage of about 82,500 miles.

A Mighty Max By Any Other Name

There’s a little secret about the Dodge Ram 50. It’s actually a Dodge-ified Mitsubishi Mighty Max. This was back during the “Diamond-Star” partnership when Chrysler and Mitsubishi were buddies and sharing a factory in Illinois. This resulted in a lot of badge engineering like the Mitsubishi 3000GT turning into the Dodge Stealth, the Mitsubishi Eclipse repackaged as the Plymouth Laser and Eagle Talon, and one of my personal favorites; the Mitsubishi Starion being sold as the Conquest under the Chrysler, Dodge, and Plymouth nameplates.

The Dodge Dakota came out in the 1987 model year and the Ram 50 was around from 1981-1994. That might sound like there’s some overlap, but the Dakota was considered a midsize pickup and the Ram 50 was decidedly a compact that was priced differently. That means for a while there, Dodge had a full pickup truck line of the compact Ram 50, the midsize Dakota, and the full-size D/W generation of the Ram. Now Ram is its own brand and it only offers one truck in the U.S.

The Diamond-Star love affair soured a bit in 1991. It went from being a 50/50 joint venture to Mitsubishi buying out its partner’s interest. Chrysler models like the Ram 50 continued to be built there for a few years on a contractual basis. Chrysler sold its equity stake to Mitsubishi in 1993 and the two have been just friends since then. It’s been speculated that the discontinuation of the Ram 50 wasn’t really because of redundancy with the Dakota, but because Chrysler was trying to distance itself from Mitsubishi.

1990 Compact Truck Luxury

Now, this Ram 50 is bare-bones by today’s standards, but it’s actually pretty fancy for a compact pickup from 1990. It has a 143-hp V6 engine, four-wheel drive, an optional automatic transmission, a painted grille, and bucket seats. It even has air conditioning and a tape deck! This was basically the Ram Laramie Longhorn of its day. I especially like the “POWER RAM” emblems on the fenders, which was the name they used for the 4×4 models.

Based on the photos (there are more on the dealer’s site) it looks like it hasn’t seen particularly rough truck duty. There’s a chunk missing from the front grille and the rear bumper is a little crooked, but it’s probably still one of the nicest Ram 50 models on the road.

It’s hard to say whether the asking price of $7,996 is reasonable. As of this writing, there are three Ram 50 models for sale on Autotrader and this one is by far the nicest. It’s the only one with a V6, 4WD, and under 100k miles. It just might be the nicest Ram 50 for sale anywhere, despite looking like it had a tooth punched out. Find a Dodge Ram 50 for sale

Eric Brandt
Eric Brandt
Eric Brandt is an author specializing in Oversteer content, new car reviews, and finding the best car, truck, and SUV deals each month. Born and raised in Wisconsin, Eric can often be found exploring the north woods on his 1983 Honda Gold Wing when the weather allows it. Father of four, husband of one, and unapologetic minivan enthusiast. Eric mastered driving stick by having a 3-cylinder Chevy... Read More about Eric Brandt

Sign up for Autotrader newsletters

The best cars and best deals delivered to your inbox

Email Address 

Where You Can Buy

Loading dealers...

Leave a Comment

Most Popular Articles

Best New Cars for 2022

Here is our list of the best new cars for 2022 (presented in alphabetical order by manufacturer).

2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid: First Look

The 2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid jumps to the head of the hybrid class.

Best Car Deals: December 2022

This month's best new car deals include several attractive offers for qualified shoppers.

Search By Style

More Articles Like This