4×4 Ragtop: 1989 Dodge Dakota Convertible

It’s top-down weather here in the Midwest, oddly enough, since it’s still February. This may be one of the most eye-catching convertibles that a person could own, or at least one of the most unusual. This is a 1989 Dodge Dakota Convertible 4×4 and it’s on craigslist with an asking price of $5,499. This this is much too close: St. Paul, Minnesota. NADA lists an “average retail” price of $3,925 and a “high retail” of $7,250, the seller has this one priced almost exactly between those two numbers. And, speaking of Minnesota, land of snow and ice, and road salt, this ragtop hasn’t been spared the scourge of rust, unfortunately, but it doesn’t look too bad. The seller says that they’d like to trade it for a Harley, so if you’ve got one that you want to get rid of, even better.

I’ve always loved these things. I thought that Chrysler had such unusual and fun vehicles in this era. It seemed like they could take a concept to production quicker than anyone could, such as the Dodge Viper, Dodge SRT-10, Plymouth Prowler, the Dodge Shelby Dakota and, of course, the Dodge Dakota Convertible was another one. They only made 2,842 Dakota convertibles in 1989 but that was enough, the public wasn’t buying too many more with the market being saturated. They built 909 of them in 1990 and a mere 8 of them (!) in 1991 in order to fulfill the contract that Chrysler had with ASC (American Specialty Cars) who made this manually-operated convertible for Dodge.

This truck has quite a beautiful feature list: 1) It’s a pickup. 2) It’s a 4×4. 3) It’s black. 4) It has a red interior. 5) It has a 5-speed. 6) It’s a convertible! 7) It’s rare!! Combine all of those things and man what a package! There is only one interior photo but it looks absolutely perfect as far as I can see. I’m a sucker for a red interior and even more so when there’s a manual shifter available. The seller mentions that this truck has new wheels and tires but they don’t say if the original wheels come with the sale. I’d want the original wheels; I’m funny that way, and in many other ways, as you all know by now. There are no engine photos but this one should have Dodge’s 3.9L, 239 cubic-inch V6 with 125 hp. The Shelby Dakota had 175 hp and if they would have made a Shelby Dakota Convertible that would be the one to have. But, they didn’t, so this is the one to have! There is no question that this is a collectible vehicle. Don’t make me go through that features list again. Have any of you owned a Dakota convertible, or even a Dakota non-ragtop?

Like This? Get Our Daily Email

Comments

  1. Timothy

    I’ve always wanted one of these and looked for one for about a year before I made do with a Chrysler TC which I still enjoy. Still, if I had this trucvertible, I could thin down the heard by getting rid of my truck and my Chrysler.

    Decisions, decisions.

    • Danno

      I think there are convertible kits for virtually every truck out there. At least the smaller ones. I’ve also seen a few full-size pickup trucvertibles, but I think they were custom jobs.
      How hard can it be, though?

      • Timothy

        “How hard can it be, though?”

        You guys crack me up! LOL! I’m one of those people that never learned how to work on a car because I bought a new one every other year. (Learned that from my parents.) Now that I’m buying older toys, I’m learning to wrench a little at a time. In fact, I just learned how to change the oil on my Roadmaster.

        And just to save face…herd, not heard.

      • scott

        People look at ya like you are dumb as they ask if its custom. When u tell em its factory even the most disgusted get interested.

  2. dirtyharry

    When they first came out, I thought to myself these are just outrageous. Living in So. Cal my entire life, I had some cars that were permanent convertibles (no top at all). I think these were creative and practical. I hope one of the manufacturers does it again, even a “Targa” style roof would be sweet on a pick-up.

  3. rando

    Too me, this seemed like a perfect idea “back in the day”. Mini trucks were a hot item. Folks were whacking the tops off their trucks a lot. but I guess a properly engineered (? better than backyardigans, anyway?) new convertible truck was too expensive, plus the Dakota was a “mid sized” truck according to the marketing. I had a 92 regular old dakota and it was a great little truck if underpowered with the 4 cyl 5 spd. Shame it didn’t take off a little better. Neat truck here. Would be great fun.

  4. irocrob

    I am surprised that they do not bring more money. Probably a manual trans hurts it for some.

    • The Walrus

      Surprisingly, in the current market, the convertibles bring about 50% more than the Shelby’s. This is somewhat surprising considering there were half as many Shelbys produced (1500 in 1989 only vs 3759 convertibles over 3 model years).

      The Convertibles were available in various configurations of 4 cyl, 6 cyl, 2wd, 4wd, stick or automatic. Condition is the primary factor (I don’t think the stick hurts this one). All Shelbys were V-8 automatics. The V8 was installed by the Shelby facility in Whittier, CA as the factory did not produce V-8 Dakotas until the front end re-design in 1991. It’s interesting to me that this comparison puts a fine point on the old adage ‘The top goes down, the price goes up!’

  5. Rich

    I remember seeing quite a few of these in MN back when I lived there. Must’ve been somewhat popular in the Midwest back then.

  6. Brian Miller

    Dad had one of these for a while back in the ’90’s, same maroon / red interior but red exterior too. It was a little odd but fun, I believe he sold it shortly after my brother (not of legal driving age at the time) turned the ignition switch (without the key) and it fired right up.

  7. Mitch

    I had an ’87 LE. The dealer I bought it from had one of these in red (his own) but kept it put away. The 239 V6 was a 318 with the back cylinders lopped off. Big, but (at least mine) got crappy mileage & very underpowered. My ’96 King Cab with the 318 was much better.

    • The Walrus

      Your ’96 had a Magnum and your ’87 did not. The 1992 239 V6 (180 hp) outperformed the 1991 318 V-8 (170 hp). Your ’96 Magnum 318 was rated at 230hp while the ’87 V-6 was rated at 125hp.

  8. Bill Price

    I had a 1989. Purchased it from the original owner in Phoenix and drove it home to Los Angeles. Perfect vehicle for Southern California but not if you acquire a wife and infant child. Here’s the ebay video I made with truck, baby and I cruising around with the top down. https://vimeo.com/61867754

    Like 1
    • Reginald Brown

      Great video! Bill price

    • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

      Great job on the video, if that didn’t sell that truck, nothing would!

  9. Rodney

    We put the front core support, grill, hood, wiring harness, V8, and auto from a 92 into my 89 4×4 convertible and it makes is so much nicer to drive. I think if Dodge would have made these in the mid 90’s with the extra horsepower they might have been better received. Unfortunately I better get restoring it before it’s too hot in Arizona to use it again.

  10. racer99

    Have to admit I didn’t know they made a convertible 4×4. I like it.

  11. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    This sold quickly, I figured it would.

  12. Lee

    My white 89 Dakota convertible is in the paint shop now. Stripped to bare metal and 100% rust free. It had the v6 and automatic plus od. Red interior. Original wheels. I have a 318 with 340 heads, Edelbrock intake and carb waiting in my shop. Mine is 2wd. My other truck is red 4×4 1989 Dodge with the Cummins. The 1st year model with the diesel. It has over 250k miles and going strong.

  13. Bob Johnson

    I have 2 of these right now. A red 90 4×4 which I have owned since 2004 and a rare 1991 (one of only 8 produced that year). It is a blast to drive in the summer. I store them in the winter since the salt would eat them up.

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks. Don't post your car for sale in the comments. Click here to get it featured on the homepage instead.

*

Notify me of new comments via email. Or subscribe without commenting.