$3,300 or Offer! 1987 Dodge Dakota LE

It’s hard to believe that the Dodge Dakota started out being just a little bigger than a small pickup, because everything has been super-sized since this 1987 Dodge Dakota LE came out thirty long years ago. Now, this size pickup seems so tiny compared to the honking, lunking monster trucks (i.e., modern, full-sized pickups) that millions of people commute with every day. The last Dakota, in 2011, was well over a foot longer and several inches wider than this solid little ’87 example is. This crisp, clean truck can be found in Racine, Wisconsin on Craigslist with an asking price of $3,300 or offer. Here is the archived ad.

NADA lists an average retail value of $3,075 and a high retail value of $4,300. I think this one is right on the money if not on the bargain side of the equation. I really, really regret not making an effort to see this truck on my way home from Chicago this morning. I don’t need another small pickup but I absolutely love the look of this truck. And this thing appears to be super solid and rust-free. The seller even says that it has “no rust!”

Need proof? How about these photos of the underside of the doors?! If the world economy were this rock solid we could all sleep better at night. Here’s the other door; nice, eh? Yeah, that’s all well and good, Scotty G, but what about the cab corners?

Well, that’s just a downright silly question – of course they also look perfect. Both sides, no less! As do the front fender bottoms on each side. This is a first-year Dakota which always appeals to me, anything that’s a milestone model like a first or last year of a particular model. And, when it’s a vehicle that a person can actually use to haul things around in, even better. Speaking of hauling, this is an 8-foot long box as opposed to the 6.5-foot long box. And, this isn’t a base model or even an SE, nope. This is an LE, the top of the line for the Dakota from this era. The paint is one year old and normally I’m an original-spec guy, but I think this thing really looks sharp in flat black with black wheels and that red stripe across the back of the box. Very, very well done, seller!

There are only 77,743 miles on this truck, or fewer than 2,600 miles per year on average. The interior looks great as far as not appearing to have any rips or cracks or broken or missing parts or pieces. I’m guessing that it was a Twilight Blue Pearl Metallic color originally, but maybe it was a black truck with a blue interior? You can see that this truck has the optional TorqueFlite automatic transmission which was available with the V6. Speaking of V6, there are no engine photos, unfortunately, but this one has the Magnum 3.9L 239 cubic-inch V6 which would have had around 125 hp when new. In 1988, these engines received fuel-injection which I would prefer. The owner entices us, or least me, by saying this truck has “ice cold air, new high flow cat back exhaust, new headliner, tires almost new.” I really, really like this Dakota. Have any of you owned a “mid-sized” Dakota? What do you think about this flat black and red stripe paint scheme?


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    Nice looking Mopar Rust free in Wisconsin? Impressed, suspicious, but impressed, and I like the paintjob too. Looks like a fun driver pick up.

  2. Bob B

    If it was mine I’d have to drive it 34 more miles to see 77777 on the odometer before I sold it.

  3. Mitch Reed

    Price seems right for what it is. I had an ’87 LE myself. It was a good truck for what it was, but it started to rust & traded it on a ’96 V8 King Cab. The only issue I had was the V6. They were 318s with the back cylinders cut off. For what those motors were, they didn’t have enough power to get out of their own way.

  4. Adam T45 Staff

    I’ve never been a huge fan of pickups, and definitely not a fan of matte black paint finishes. However, and it’s a very big however, I really like this. It has that certain something that just grabs me. Shame I’m in Australia….and bringing home another car would have me dicing with death with my wife!

  5. Josh

    I had a 89 Shelby it was fun little truck.

  6. jw454

    This was my father’s 1989 LE. I struggled to get $2800.00 in 2014.

    Like 1
  7. jw454

    His had a little less than 57K on it at the time.

    They’re nice little trucks but, I think this one is hiding some sins with that awful paint job.

  8. Rube Goldberg Member

    I had an ’88 LE 4×4, it was a great truck. Not quite a small truck, not quite a big truck. Had a ton of miles. Brother had one, a bit newer, extra cab, also over 200K until the frame broke. V6 not the most powerful, but ran forever. I too, have a hard time believing this truck came from Wisconsin.

  9. Pugsy

    You can’t hide any rust with the pics of those door bottoms. I believe this to be an incredible find.

    The fold of the door skin is nice and crisp and all there without bondo caked over it. Looks like the real deal.

  10. Gay Car Nut

    I remember this generation Dodge Dakota. Although I’ve never owned one, I’ve always liked this style for the Dakota.

  11. Ralph

    Hello. I had a 88 auto with the 3.9 EFI. Throttle body. 268,000 klms. (167500 Mi). 8 foot box and a topper. Awesome unit. Great on fuel too. At the lights I could light up the rear tires. Owned it for 5 years. Never an issue. Regular maintenance. Sold it for $ 500. Profit. I bought a 2003 Dakota sport extend a cab 5 speed with the same motor. 60,000 miles. Terrible on fuel . Never in an accident. Regular maintenance. Sold it after 5.5 years. Motor blew up at 90,000 Mi. This is the last DODGE/CRYSLER Product I will ever buy.

  12. stillrunners LAWRENCE Member

    Have about 276,000 on my Dakota 318 in a 1994….I haul a lot…so we did the trannie at about 205,000….not ready to get rid of it yet…this looks like a good buy for up that way.

  13. Guy

    I have a 89 conv nice fun trk

  14. chad

    niether. AND it’s difficult to get a satin job THAT good.
    “Good on ya, mate!”
    Like the stripe too.

  15. Newtown Jack

    Had an ’88 long bed and currently drive an ’02 (2nd owner) – both great (bigger) little trucks.

  16. Russ

    I had a ’96 second gen (basically the same body with different grill, lights and front bumper to give room for the V8 option that came along with gen2) and I thought that was the first year for the Magnum V6 motor. This must have had a motor swap if it is a Magnum or just a ‘regular’ V6. I’m in Atlantic Canada and mine had come up from the US (I forget where now but must have been a better climate than here!) at some point and was in really good shape for an 11 year old truck at the time. With 300,00+ miles! Had it for 6 years until I needed a bigger bed. Had the extended cab, which was great for interior space but left you with only 6 1/2′ box. Okay for most of my needs but became an issue as house renos expanded to construction work. Of course I now curse lack of cab space with a long box short cab truck… Also had a rusty ’89 first gen as a yard plow truck that I picked up for $100 from a neighbour when the frame got too bad for the road. 4×4 long box short cab ‘regular’ non Magnum V6. Always started on the button and plowed a LOT of snow for 6 crappy winters. Always wanted a nice one of that exact type – V6 economy over the V8, long box, first gen. Never found a good one close enough, though.
    This one seems nice enough but not a fan of flat/satin black finishes personally. Also like to have a back bumper on my trucks but older Dakota back bumpers were like rocking horse poop to find four years ago – rusted right off them.

  17. Keith

    Great little truck! Had an 89 with V6 and five speed manual. Loved that truck, but it rusted out from under me after five years. This looks like a great buy, though I’d prefer the five speed. Not a fan of an automatic in a truck. Seems too wimpy…..

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