In the Native American Lakota-Sioux dialect, Dakota means friend, or friendly. You might make some friends with today's Nice Price or Crack Pipe Dakota convertible, especially with its non-native 360 V8.
An affable 70% of you wanted to make friends with yesterday's 1972 Project Pantera, in fact, if that landslide vote is indicative of anything, it's that even a hot mess of an Italian beauty will never want for companionship.
One of the major attractions of the Pantera is its romper-stomper of a V8, a full 5.7 litres full of angry horses looking for something to kick a hole in. Today we have a vehicle with an even bigger V8 under its hood, as well as a top that goes down so you can enjoy all its aural pleasures.
Dodge call themselves the Ram Brand, although there's never been anything sheepish about their full-size trucks. Hoping to fill a perceived gap between those and their Mitsubishi-sourced min truck, the Moparians brought out the mid-sized Dakota in 1987. Channeling the Red Queen two years later, they shouted off with its head and created the Dakota convertible – the first American factory droptop pickup since Henry's Model A.
The standard engine in the open-air Dakota was the 3.9-litre V6, a derivation of the long lived LA V8. This ‘89 edition tosses the six however, in favor of the full LA monte- a V8. The 360 Wedge V8 became Chrysler's hot truck engine of choice through 2002, powering both Rams and the fleet streetiest edition of the Jeep Grand Cherokee, the rabid transit 5.9 Limited.
Here it gets the full salon treatment and a minor bump to 367 cubes. Lots of go-faster stuff has gone into the motor during a fairly recent rebuild, including Keith Black hammers, Clevite bearings, and big valves. Hooker headers and Flowmasters ensure your neighbors will know when you're coming and going, and feed a par of chrome straight pipes out and under the back bumper.
Bolted to torquemada is what's claimed to be a rebuilt transmission, but no mention is made as to exactly what it is. The seller does state in the ad Breaks, Much More, which isn't the confidence-inspiring sales spiel I think he meant it to be.
On a more positive note, the ad says the truck rocks a Spicer Posi rear end with what I think the seller is claiming to be 3:18 gearing, although he could mean it came out of a four-banger BMW 3-series. He's a little sketchy on that. Regardless, bolted to either end of the rear axle, as well as the front spindles, are Dodge Nitro wheels, perhaps the only parts of that brick worth salvaging. This truck, by the way, is apparently 2WD.
So it's pretty aptly described by the seller as a muscle truck, and if you're gonna' go fast, you might as well do so topless, and with this Dakota Sport, you can as its top does drop. There's still a roll bar there to keep your shoulder belt from flopping into the bed, and to protect your head from road rash should you decide to flip the truck. The top here is described as newer, and is paired with a custom tonneau cover for the bed that could also serve as an emergency trampoline, you know, for the ladies. With a claimed 150,000 on the truck, and 3,000 on the motor it's no surprise that the rest of it comes across as a bit worn but serviceable, and parts for things like seats, dash and trim won't be too hard to come by should that wear continue to the point of needing replacement.
But that won't be your problem if you can't come up with the $11,500 that the seller is asking for his droptop Dakota. Do you think that's a price for which you might willingly make it your problem? Or, does it make this Dakota a frenemy?
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