During the late-1970s, automakers released a number of marketing campaigns to attract buyers during a time of economic crisis, steep gas prices, and emission-plagued performance. The Dodge brand released a campaign called “Adult Toys from Dodge”, which centered on their full-size truck and van lineups. While many people remember vehicles like the Lil’ Red Express and Macho Power Wagon, there was one pickup that became an instant classic with fans at the time: the Warlock.
Originally introduced as a concept vehicle in 1976, the Warlock was aimed at the “urban cowboy” at the time. The concept featured wide tires, bucket seats, tinted windows, chrome-plated running boards, oak wood-lined bed, oak wood sideboards above the box sides, and gold-colored accents that featured pin striping that outline the wheel wells and body lines.
The truck was a big enough success on the auto show circuit, that Dodge greenlit a limited production version for the 1976 model year. It then would go on to become a regular production option from 1977 to 1979.
Offered in a trio of colors (Dark Green Metallic, Bright Red, and Black), the production Warlock was based on the D100 Utiline Regular Cab pickup. It offered an all-black interior and featured even more gold accents on the dash and door panels. Black-painted Warlocks were a favorite among enthusiasts as they gave a large resemblance to that year’s hugely popular movie “Smokey and the Bandit“, as Burt Reynolds’ Bandit character drove a 1977 Pontiac Trans Am in a similar scheme. Warlock was printed in gold on the tailgate through 1978; the 1979 model instead had “Warlock II” printed.
With the introduction of today’s high-performance Ram 1500 TRX, the four-door Baja-based off-roader features a 702-horsepower supercharged 6.2-liter HEMI HELLCAT V8 under the hood. While the truck is the pinnacle of performance in the full-size pickup market today, the Dodge Truck brand (now called Ram) has focused on the off-road market, leaving the street performance pickup market out in the wind (a segment they dominated in the mid-2000s).
While the Warlock name continues to live on as an off-road version of the popular Ram 1500 Classic, one digital artist, Jim Lord (@jlord8), decided to take inspiration from the original and blend it with the likes of the new TRX. Creating an amazing interpretation of the original, even down to the original regular-cab configuration.
Absolutely a stunner, it is something like this digital design that Dodge (err Ram) enthusiasts have been waiting for, for some time. While it might seem unrealistic in today’s Crew Cab pickup market, which is pushing towards electrification, it is quite awesome to see what such a vehicle might look like if it was produced in today’s market.