Plymouth had already used the Scamp name when they borrowed Dodge’s successful Dart Swinger and assigned it to their Valiant line during the early seventies. Of course, the Scamp was added in order to distinguish Plymouth’s own Valiant series from the new Dodge-based Valiant model sold alongside them. Cooperation worked both ways as Dodge incorporated Valiant-based Duster coupe and branded it the Demon, as we’ve already explained in a previous installment in this series.
But the Valiant Scamp disappeared after the 1976 model year, and the 1983 Plymouth Scamp is one entirely different animal. It was actually a stablemate to the almost equally obscure Dodge Rampage coupe utility truck. While the Rampage survived for three model years, its Plymouth twin was a one year only offering. Both models drew power from a 2.2L straight-four capable of producing up to 84 horsepower. Not exactly a truck-worthy figure, but then again, the Scamp only weighed between 2,305 and 2,340 pounds depending on trim level. The lighter version was, of course, the conventional Scamp, while the heavier model donned the GT extension. The latter cost $500 more, offered a slightly larger payload, and added a hood scoop and dual remote mirrors among other things. Plymouth produced only 2,184 Scamps and 1,380 Scamp GTs. Most came with a 5-speed manual transmission, although the 3-speed auto and 4-speed manual were also options.
The ultimately unsuccessful Plymouth trucklet likely deserved a better fate. Although underpowered and not exactly a looker, the Plymouth Scamp still offered a fine package completed with optional stripes taken straight from the seventies. Alas, it wasn’t enough. Car-based trucks had become niche vehicles by the time the mid-eighties had arrived, and even the mighty Chevy El Camino had trouble keeping up.