Many new products were introduced at last week's International Construction and Utility Equipment Exposition in Louisville, Ky. Anyone at the show easily could have missed the restored 1985 Dodge Ram D350 Prospector pickup in the Cummins booth.
However, this was not just any Dodge pickup—it was the first Ram equipped with a Cummins turbodiesel engine. The prototype, designated Model D001, was part of six vehicles used to prove out the viability of the six-cylinder Cummins that has, since its introduction in 1989, become an extension of the Ram truck brand.
The two-wheel-drive truck is equipped with a 12-valve Cummins 5.9-liter engine, Bosch mechanical fuel pump, three-speed automatic transmission with overdrive and a 4.10:1 axle gear ratio. The engine was originally rated for 160 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque, less than half of today's 385 hp and 850 lb-ft.
For more than 20 years, Model D001 acted as a shop vehicle for the Cummins Technical Center, driving frequently on highways near Columbus, Ind. According to Cummins, the recent restoration took almost a year. Before that, the truck hadn't been started in five years. After a quick battery swap, it fired up.
We especially love the Cummins branding inside, outside and on the turbo's crossover pipe under the hood. The interior is so basic it's cool: Crank windows and a cloth bench seat are all you have for comfort. This truck hearkens back to a time when a pickup was a work truck.