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The ‘Drive For Design’ Contest May Have Dropped Another Easter Egg

Rampage Pickup Truck

The deadline for the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Drive For Design contest is nearly here. Meant for high schoolers (but other contestants can enter, too), submissions are due on May 1st – just a few weeks away. However, now comes an impromptu sketch battle organized by FCA design executives Mark Trostle and Ralph Gilles. They’re asking for designs to be submitted by 5PM tomorrow on Thursday, April 9th. Uploads must be sent to either the FCA Twitter or Facebook page with the #DriveForDesign hashtag. To inspire America, FCA shared another promotional flyer with a peculiar vehicle rendering: a modernized Rampage pickup truck.

Known for not holding back on its easter eggs, the previous FCA Drive For Design promotional graphic teased what is believed to be the all-new 2022 Ram Rebel TRX. This truck is designed from the ground up to take the fight to the Ford F-150 Raptor, armed with a 700+ horsepower supercharged Hellcat V8 engine. Then, in a Facebook Live video, FCA design chief Ralph Gilles confirmed to those tuning it that the all-new Jeep Grand Cherokee will be revealed this year. So, what does that mean for this Rampage pickup truck image that’s complete with a pair of splitter guards?

Probably nothing. At least, we don’t think that this will be the name that an upcoming Ram small truck will take. Would it be “Ram Page?” “Ram Rampage?” Of course not.

That said, we’re keen that FCA is very aware of a few holes in its Ram pickup truck game. Specifically, segments below the Ram 1500 full-size truck. The automaker has so far been mum on concrete details regarding a comeback of a Dakota midsize truck. But signs have begun to point that FCA is looking at a segment below that of the current midsize crop consisting of trucks like the Chevrolet Colorado, GMC Canyon and Ford Ranger.

Fiat Strada, AKA Ram 700 small truck.

Just yesterday, we shared with you that FCA plans on launching a new small truck in South America, and will likely find itself in Mexico as the Ram 700. This unibody pickup, if launched in America, would likely enter a white space in the market. As would the upcoming small truck from Dearborn, rumored to be called the Ford Courier.

This Rampage pickup truck rendering, however, seems to shape itself from the existing Dodge Challenger muscle car, which means it’s on the beloved LX platform. This would in turn give this little truck the capacity to incorporate RWD driving dynamics, and the potential to drop in the Hellcat V8 engine down the road. That would certainly be a lot cooler than a unibody truck based on a Fiat platform.

The original Dodge Rampage, in case you’ve forgotten, was a small, unibody coupe with a truck bed, and sold for only a few years in the early 1980s. It was meant to battle the Ford Ranchero and Chevrolet El Camino. Since then, there hasn’t been anything in that space in the American market.

Anyway – submit a truck design to FCA by tomorrow. You just might win the whole thing.

Ram Rebel TRX Teaser

Written by Manoli Katakis

Muscle Cars & Trucks was founded by Manoli Katakis - an automotive media veteran that has been covering the latest car news since 2009. His journalism has uncovered dozens of major product changes, updates, plans, and cancellations long before automakers were ready to make things official.

Some highlights over the years of his reporting include the uncovering of the Zora trademark before anybody else reported on the coming of a mid-engine Corvette, as well as the dead-accurate reporting of the coming of the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2, two years before it hit the market, and even before the debut of the concept vehicle. This type of reporting has immediately continued here, with reports of the original seventh-generation Camaro plans being shelved, as well as what's in store for the Chevrolet Silverado.

Some of his work can be found on massive automotive media outlets, such as Motor1. He also has been a guest on the 910AM Radio Station with Detroit News auto critic Henry Payne, as well as the enthusiast-oriented Camaro Show podcast.

Over the years, Manoli has interviewed various automotive industry titans, leaders, and people that make things happen otherwise. These include figureheads such as GM CEO Mary Barra, GM President Mark Reuss, automotive aftermarket icon Ken Lingenfelter, Dodge firebrand Tim Kuniskis, along with various chief engineers of vehicles such as the Ford F-150 & Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro & Corvette, and many more.

At MC&T, Manoli is taking his journalism expertise, deeply planted sources, driving abilities, and automotive industry knowledge to new levels, covering more vehicles and brands than ever before. This is the place where you will continue to read groundbreaking stories about American performance vehicles, pickup trucks, and sport utility vehicles. Here is where you’ll also read insights and quotes from various automotive subject matter experts on the latest relevant products, as well as some of the latest official news from their manufacturers.

Fun facts: he also once beat Corvette Racing driver Tommy Milner in an autocross with a Chevrolet Bolt EV. The biggest vehicle he’s ever driven is a John Deere mining truck. Besides a go-kart, the smallest vehicle he’s driven has been a Hyundai i10. He’s also spent time in the cockpit of various American performance vehicle icons, including the fifth-generation Chevrolet Camaro Z/28, Dodge Challenger Demon, and Ford Mustang GT350R. He has reviewed dozens of trucks, SUVs, and performance vehicles over the years.

One of his favorite new vehicles on the market today happens to be the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison. He is also a card carrying member of the Sports Car Club of America, and regularly participates in Detroit Region autocross events.

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