It's the kind of word designed to be written in all-caps, possibly in red, with a bold typeface, certainly underlined, and ideally with more than one exclamation point. Spoken, it deserves to be either screamed or growled--again, ideally, it would be both, with the same kind of manic intensity normally reserved for the bellowing in monster truck commercials.
In short, rampage is an intense word, summoning up images of violence, uncontrollable power run amok, and hopeless desperation among its victims. Envision Godzilla rampaging through Tokyo, or the Incredible Hulk turning green and beginning his angst-ridden rampage through the U.S. military.
Bizarrely, the word also summons up the Dodge Rampage, the early 1980s spin-off of the Dodge Omni 024--a 2.2-liter, four-cylinder, two-seat mini-pickup truck that served as Chrysler's counterpoint to the little-remembered Volkswagen Rabbit pickup. For those who remember neither the Rampage or the Rabbit pickup, envision a smaller, much less powerful, less useful El Camino, and you'll be right on track.
The list of cars on which the appelation "Rampage" (RAMPAGE!) would be more appropriate would be a list of virtually every car ever made. Light, insubstantial, generally shoddily made, and with little power or hauling capacity, the Rampage was as slow as it was strange. As cars go, the Rampage was more Quasimodo than Frankenstein monster; about as intimidating as a sock monkey.
In what is no doubt becoming a familar refrain, I'm strangely attracted to this car. For one thing, the dichotomy between this car and its hyper-aggressive name would make it interesting to drive at least once. Besides, it is such a close cousin to the Dodge Shelby Charger, missing only a turbo engine, some striping, and a lovely fastback roofline, that I can't help but like it.
The top two photos are of an '82 Rampage for sale for $1,250 in South Carolina. The third is a pretty intriguing homemade Shelby version, meant to mimic the lovely and related Shelby Charger mentioned above. Now that version, if it had the turbocharged and intercooled 2.2-liter four cylinder, might be capable of a rampage or two.
Scream it with me!