Almost a year ago, we showed you a patent that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) filed for a unique split tailgate design. This design in patent drawings showed a tailgate that features two handles and the split to be a 50/50 down the center. The plan also called for integrated ramps, that would slide out of the floor of the box.
In the mid-testing segment of FCA’s development of the 2019 Ram 1500, there was a prototype caught running around the FCA Auburn Hills, Michigan campus with a split tailgate design. This design was a tad different from the design patient. It included one handle in the center of the tailgate, compared to the two shown. It also featured more of a 60/40 split in the tailgate design, instead of both sides being able to open directly down the center. The tailgate was never seen again after those pictures were taken.
A few months later, another patent was filed by FCA showing another tailgate design. This time, the tailgate featured special hinges that would swing the tailgate further than the typical 90-degrees. On the inside of the tailgate was two steps cut into it. When lowered down past the 90-degree lowered position, a person could then use the steps to walk up into the box.
While we never saw that design on prototypes or any concept vehicles from FCA, our spy photographers caught a very unique Ram 1500 prototype running around Metro Detroit yesterday. This Big Horn Crew Cab model has a completely covered box. We believe that this is one of those two tailgate designs, that Ram Truck engineers are currently testing before it hits the market.
With the new auto show circuit kicking off next month in Detroit, we wouldn’t be surprised if Ram announces the addition of the new tailgate system in early-2019.
2020 Ram 1500 Tailgate Prototype Image Gallery: