Never Modified: 1999 Dodge Dakota R/T

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The Dodge Dakota R/T is a truck that I have a personal connection to after owning one for about a year. This was one of those weird moments in a car guy’s life where you almost get tunnel vision about owning a particular vehicle; you acquire said vehicle; and then you wonder just why the hell you wanted one so bad. This was my experience, but it shouldn’t take away from the fact that it was still a fast, fun, truck that handled surprisingly well; I just likely bought the wrong one. This R/T wears one of the rarer factory colors and is listed for $13,999 or best offer.

The R/T was a serious truck in a field of special editions with slick graphics and nothing else. The hardware was upgraded inside and out, with a meaty 5.9L V8 under the hood, a limited-slip differential, a performance exhaust, wider wheels and tires, and a few other bonuses like sport bucket seats and an Infinity sound system. The truck was available in both extended cab and single cab form, and it seems like most of them were sold in the former form. The single cabs usually sell pretty quickly, simply because no matter the make and model, enthusiasts still like single cab, short-bed pickups.

The seller is located in Oregon and based on the photos underneath the Dakota, it certainly seems like a long-term Pacific Northwest region truck. There’s no major rust, surface or otherwise, to report, and that’s a big deal considering these rigs were prone to body rot. That always surprised me given it’s a late model domestic product which generally weren’t inclined to rusting out, but there are plenty of Dakotas with holes in the bed sides and fenders. The other issue is the paint is notoriously bad and you don’t have to look too hard to find trucks with massive clear-coat fade; fortunately, that doesn’t appear to be an issue here.

The wheels on the R/T were one of the best features of this high-performance truck; they also made their way over to the Durango R/T as well. So, why wasn’t I thrilled with my Dakota? Well, I bought a pretty roached out example. The seats were collapsed, the carpets were a mess, and the engine needed a new computer. Basically, I bought a project – a rust-free project, mind you, but a project nonetheless – and these aren’t expensive enough to not buy the best one you can find. This Dakota looks pretty decent and the listing ends today, so check it out here on eBay.

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Comments

  1. Cooter CooterMember

    My little brother, God rest his soul, had one of these in dark green. It was a fast fun little truck and he did the same, kept it about a year then bought a new all wheel drive Silverado SS 6 litre in 03. This is what inspired him, and me, to always own a ballsy pickup. I currently run a 2021 6.2 litre Silverado. Not the fastest on the market, but damn sure not the slowest and I like it!

    Like 8
    • Cooter eyes4color62@gmail.comMember

      Big Red!

      Like 9
  2. Mark

    Looks like the power steering rack boots are blown out. Still a very clean truck.

    Like 1
  3. gippy

    I’ve had mine for 22 years- has been a solid workhorse, still on original engine and trans. Mine is the Quad Cab version with 4.7 .

    Like 2
  4. Troy

    Nice mid size truck that actually has its Roots in jeep, I never really got into the performance trucks because I actually use my truck and don’t want a pavement princess

    Like 1
  5. Nelson C

    Nice find. One of the mags of the time called it among the top 10 sports cars that year. If you get close enough you’ll see that the graphics are blue against the yellow paint.

    Like 1
  6. RexFoxMember

    This truck is less than 2 hours away from me. Too bad it’s an automatic or I would be very interested.

    Like 0
  7. Nelson C

    These were all automatic with the 5.9 V8. Overall it was quite a package that probably owed its existence to the 5.9 Grand Cherokee of a year or two earlier. Chrysler was pretty good at doling out these hot rods as the performance age ramped up again. It isn’t a hellcat but not a bad specimen for the money. Keep your gas card on you. It likes fuel.

    Like 0
  8. stillrunners stillrunnersMember

    Lusted after these in the dealership showroom……hung onto my little 318 Dakota Sport…..still have it….

    Like 0
  9. AllenMember

    I had a ’99 Dakota extended cab 318, five-speed, and 4WD, dark green metalic with silver highlights – a pretty popular combination. I’m told the manual trans with 4WD was quite rare. What a beautiful, beautifully built truck. Just closing the doors was a sensual experience. Even with the little 318, I pulled a 3700-pound car trailer many thousands of miles with it. ‘Kept it 14 years. Only problem in over 100,000 miles was front wheel bearings.

    Like 1
  10. Les R Johnson

    I’ve got a Black 01 that’s been great! When I bought it the p/s boots were bad so I replaced the rack. Had a distributer problem and kept eating caps. Discovered the bearing on the shaft was bad and upgraded that. Also put a cold air intake on it, now it gets better MPG and has better accel. Works like a truck and runs like a sports car. Rocket in a pop can.

    Like 1

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