Unless you have a chop-top '57 Chevy, a Fox-body Mustang, or a K-swapped Civic, getting into a supermarket-variety car magazine probably isn't in your future. Those masters of ubiquity appeal to the bell curve of auto enthusiasts, unlike a DSM-swapped domestic truck from the late '80s – a time when Mitsubishis were Dodges, Chryslers were Mitsubishis, and Boy George may not have entirely been a boy. Find this 1989 Dodge Ram 50 with 2.0-liter 4G63 swap, featured on the dearly departed Modified Magazine, for sale in Worcester, MA for $5,500 via craigslist.
This SRT-10 precursor is the truck Carroll Shelby should have built, not the 175-horsepower Dodge Shelby Dakota. With his partnership with the Chrysler Corporation, the archetypal Texan had access to the Ram 50 but also the 4G63 power plant thanks to Diamond Star Motors connections. Two hundred turbocharged horsepower would have been only a starting point, while weighing less than the 5.2-liter V8.
Image courtesy: Superstreetonline.com
Whatever information is missing from the ad can be found in the April 2013 magazine post, which was actually written by the builder/seller. He chose the 4G63 after stumbling upon a junked Eclipse in a scrap yard while searching for a V8 to replace the anemic SOHC 4G64 stock engine. After fabricating engine mounts, converting the 5-speed manual transmission from cable-shift to hydraulic (yikes), and fitting Viper brakes in the front, he ended up with the creation you see here.
The rear sub frame rust is troubling. That, plus ad phrasing like "It could probably be fixed in 30 minutes," belies the seller's wrenching capability, and the atrocious painted Escalade wheels reveal questionable taste. Fortunately, better rolling stock is just another junk yard visit away, and you have 300 rear-wheel horsepower to get you there.That's almost Ford EcoBoost territory, accomplished sans two cylinders and one turbo.
See an oddball truck swap in better shape? Email us at email@example.com. PhiLOL actually likes the tuna here, but abhors structural rust. Save the manuals.