We say Goodbye to an Old and Trusted Friend!

There was a somber moment in the fast paced Warren Michigan Truck Assembly Plant a couple of weeks ago as the final Dakota pickup rolled off the assembly line. Almost three-million units of the hard working mid-sized truck were built from 1986 to 2011 and many of the first and second generation models are still on the road today. The Dakota was the original midsized truck that had all the capability of a light duty truck but in a smaller package. The ride quality and handling was very nimble thanks in part to its rack and pinion steering. For over two decades, the Dakota came in many shapes and sizes. Most notable was the somewhat unorthodox and rare Dakota Sport Convertible. That’s right, someone thought it would be cool to haul your “stuff” with the top down. In 1989, the Dakota gained some muscle when the legendary Carroll Shelby and Dodge collaborated on a limited production “Shelby V8 Dakota”. His team of gearheads figured out a way to install the venerable 318 cubic inch small-block V8 under the hood. His designers even crafted a cool fiberglass light bar behind the cab and full length ‘SHELBY’ decals that would let the world know you’re were driving something special.   The product planners knew buyers wanted more power and when the Dakota was refreshed in 1991, a 5.2L Magnum V8 was a regular production option on both 4X2 and 4X4 models.  There was even a Dakota R/T model that had the 5.9L Magnum V8 under its hood. Regardless, the Dakota filled the void among mid-size truck buyers looking for a V8 power along with numerous cab and bed configurations. So now we say “farewell” to the Dakota and say “thanks” for all the hard work and miles we put you through. Check out these cool images of the fabled Dakota through the years, enjoy!

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