Peak Rad Cruiser: This 1990 Dodge Dakota Convertible Is Headed to Auction
Who needs a Jeep when you've got a ragtop Dakota?
Relatively pint-sized sport pickups were all the rage some 20 to 30 years ago, and automakers weren't afraid to embrace their quirkiness. Various special editions, like the Chevy S-10 Baja, wore oddball pride on their sleeves, though none were as out-there as the Dodge Dakota Convertible. With a manual vinyl top that could open completely, they shouted from the roof-tops that they were utterly and completely rad. Of course, they haven't all held up so well over the years—luckily, this 1990 example heading to Mecum's Indianapolis sale has.
Rather than building these trucks at the Dodge City/Warren manufacturing plant with a soft top, Chrysler would ship completed Dakota pickups to the American Sunroof Corporation where they would undergo the full conversion. Exactly 909 Dakota Convertibles were built for the 1990 model year and this particular example is respectfully solid, even considering the nearly 60,000 miles it's traveled over time.
To increase rigidity, ASC fitted a padded roll bar behind the seats, keeping the Dakotas structurally solid. This alteration, along with the vinyl roof and soft-molded boot for storage, bumped the trucks' asking price up by around $3,000. They could be spec'd in two- or four-wheel-drive with original MSRPs nudging the $18,000 mark, according to Autotrader. That's nearly $35,625 in today's money when adjusted for inflation.
Aside from the undeniably cool removable roof, this Dakota is largely standard-issue. Under the hood lies a 3.9-liter Magnum V6 that produced a modest 125 horsepower when new, and it features a four-speed automatic transmission with overdrive. Power is sent to the rear wheels only in this case, though it is a higher-trim Sport model. The vinyl graphics, as you'd hope, are all in stellar shape.
The Mecum listing does note that it's had a newer Robin's Top fitted, supposedly to replace the aging original unit which could've been subjected to any sort of water or rain damage over the past three decades.
There's no estimated going-rate listed on the auction site for this Bright White pickup, though the market shows others in similar condition going for around $15,000. It wouldn't be surprising to see it fetch a number close to that, though we won't know for sure until at least June 23-28—a month later than Mecum's Indy sale was originally planned thanks to the coronavirus pandemic.
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