If there’s one thing we love in this series, it’s a front-wheel-drive pickup based on a French design, tearing up the track with double-digit Iacocca horsepower. Yes, we’re talking about the Dodge Rampage and Plymouth Scamp, the truck-ized versions of the L-body Charger that were built from the 1982 through 1984 model years. For reasons that mystify us, only one team has raced one of these fine machines: California’s Team Haulin’ Ass and their 1983 Scamp.
Team Haulin’ Ass found and caged their Scamp, added a donkey piñata to the bed (papier-mâché is very lightweight, making it ideal for high-performance racing use), and picked up some sombreros to match. The Scamp’s first race was the 2012 Pacific Northworst event in Washington, where the wise and fair judges dubbed the race-specific trophy the Best Front-Wheel-Drive Detroit Minitruck With a Papier-Mâché Donkey In The Bed Award and handed it over to the Haulin’ Ass crew.
These racers really do know how to drive fast on a race course, as they’ve proved on many occasions (as Team Soccer Moms) with their shockingly quick Chrysler Town & Country minivan.
Proving that it’s more fun driving a slow car fast than driving a fast car slow, the Haulin’ Ass Scamp had a genuine 2.2-liter Chrysler four under the hood. 84 horsepower when new.
The Haulin’ Ass Scamp competed in just three races in 2012 and 2013, with the latter two at Thunderhill Raceway in Northern California.
At the 2012 Vodden the Hell Are We Doing race, Team Haulin’ Ass finished an impressive 69th out of 166 entries, beating most of the BMWs and Porsches that showed up (not to mention a bunch of Detroit iron with three times the horsepower).
At the 2013 Vodden the Hell, the Scamp finished 76th out of 184.
After 2013, the Haulin’ Ass Scamp disappeared from 24 Hours of Lemons radar; the team captain says that “life got in the way” and the cartruck has been sitting since that time. We can’t say when it will return to a race track but we do know that we need more Scamps and more Rampages!