54,815 original miles. Most desirable regular cab/short bed 4x4 with 5.9 liter V8. Loaded with A/C, power windows/locks, cruise, and more. Everything works, no rust, hard-shell tonneau, and more. Still the best-looking pickup ever made!
This 1996 Dodge Ram 1500 has been beautifully maintained and shows no rust or rot in any of the critical areas. Dodge called the pearly silver paint “Driftwood Satin Metallic,” and it gives the handsome, rugged Ram a bit of an upscale look. The big rig look is on full display with the tall grille and offset headlights while the subtly flared fenders make it look muscular instead of plain. There’s no evidence that this truck has ever been wrecked or rusty, even in the usual spots like the bottoms of the doors and rear wheel arches—it’s completely solid. The doors still close with a solidity that was unique to the Ram in 1996 and even though it’s knocking on its 25th birthday, this truck still draws appreciative stares on the road. A few accessories dress this one up, including a large brush guard on the front, tubular step bumpers, and a hard-shell tonneau that transforms the 6-foot bed into the world’s largest weatherproof trunk. A drop-in bedliner ensures it's ready to work if that’s what you choose to do and you’ll also notice some subtle pinstripes on the nose and tail—a nice detail.
As remarkable as the Ram’s big rig styling was, it was the interior that was truly a game-changer. With deep, comfortable seats, a longer cabin, lots of sound insulation, and a car-like driving position, it feels very user-friendly indeed. There’s seating for three across but it’s really two bucket seats and a wide armrest in between, which Dodge pitched as a jobsite desk capable of holding a laptop. The tan fabric upholstery is in fantastic condition thanks to the low mileage, with the only real blemish being a small scar on the driver’s seat back. The options list includes A/C, power windows and locks, cruise control, a tilt steering column, fog lights, and a decent-sounding AM/FM/cassette stereo. Heavy-duty floor mats round out the very well-preserved interior, which is still a great place to hang out.
Mechanically, the Ram didn’t break any new ground but the engines were greatly enhanced. For the half-ton trucks, the top engine was the 5.9 liter (AKA 360 cubic inch) Magnum V8, rated at 230 horsepower and 330 pounds of torque. It’s plenty to make the relatively lightweight regular cab/short bed pickup feel quick and the torquey V8 always seems to be on its toes. With fuel injection, it starts quickly, idles correctly no matter the conditions, and pulls the truck around with enthusiasm. There are surely many modifications for these trucks at this point, but this one remains 100% stock save for the exhaust system, which means it hasn’t been messed up by some backyard mechanic. It starts, runs, and drives the way the factory intended and should be bulletproof reliable for many years to come.
As I mentioned, this truck carries a 4-speed automatic overdrive transmission, which is derived from the famous TorqueFlite automatic—one of the more durable automatics ever built. It’s linked to an NV231 transfer case that offers the usual high and low ranges and can be shifted on the fly from inside the cab. Automatic locking hubs were part of the package, giving you traction when you needed it most. The front axle is a Dana 44 while out back there’s a stout Chrysler 9.25 inch unit with 3.54 and 3.55 gears, respectively. It has a tall 4x4 stance, but it sure looks like that’s factory-issue and the brakes are impressively strong for something this big. Check out the ultra-clean floors, cab corners, and bed, too—there’s no way this truck ever spent time in the salt and slush. The only notable modification is the exhaust system, which uses the stock catalytic converter and twin tailpipes with glasspack-style mufflers for a nice V8 purr that doesn’t get annoying. Factory alloy wheels have no scuffs or curb rash and carry slightly oversized 285/75/16 off-road radials that really fill those big fenders.
These first-gen big rig Rams are still great trucks, even compared to today’s over-the-top pickups. It’s still comfortable, still capable, still easy to drive, and yes, it’s still incredibly handsome. With great preservation, this one is either a great truck with a lot of life left in it or a future collectable that brings a big dose of practicality. Either way, it’s a lot of truck for not a lot of cash. Call today!
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