Origins of the RAM

Like so much of RAM Truck lore, the RAM mascot itself has a colorful history.

In 1931, sculptor and University of Michigan art professor Avard T. Fairbanks was commissioned by Chrysler to create a radiator ornament for Dodge cars and trucks.  A few years earlier Fairbanks had designed the mermaid mascot for the 1929 Plymouth, for which he was paid not in cash but with a brand new Chrysler Royal 8—a luxurious car for a struggling art teacher.


“I took along my clay and an animal book by my friend William Hornaday and spent the next several days at their headquarters, Fairbanks would recall years later.  “They brought in food and a couch and I went to work. I suggested a mountain lion, a tiger, a jaguar and other animals. Finally I started modeling a mountain sheep. When the engineers read that the ram was the ‘master of the trail and not afraid of even the wildest of animals,’ they became enthusiastic about the symbol.


“Walter P. Chrysler wasn’t as convinced. But I explained that anyone seeing a ram, with its big horns, would think ‘dodge.’ He looked at me, looked at the model, scratched his head and said, ‘That’s what I want – go ahead with it.’” From that point on (1932 ornament shown here) the badging on both Dodge cars and trucks employed the stylized ram imagery until 2010, when it became the exclusive symbol for RAM Trucks.