A few years ago, back when Oppo ran on Kinja and nothing worked. I wrote an article about a vehicle I wanted to acquire and how I was not going to let any amount of logic or reason stop me. Well that day has finally come. I am now the proud owner of a 1989 Dodge Dakota Convertible.
For those who do not know, the Dodge Dakota Convertible was part of an agreement between Dodge and the American Sunroof Company (ASC) in Michigan. ASC has worked with many manufacturers on creating convertible versions of their cars whether the cars were intended to be convertibles or not. For some reason, Dodge thought it would be a good idea to make a convertible version of their small pickup. The Dodge Dakota Convertible was produced for 3 years, 1989 - 1991. A vast majority of them were made in 1989 and 1990 with only a small handful produced in 1991 (I think it was around 8). The 1991 trucks are a fun story for another time as they share little to no similarities to the rest of the convertibles.
Enough exposition, let’s tell the story of how I came into possession of this beautiful machine. Over the past several years, I have been trying to acquire one of these vehicles. Unfortunately, the intersection of money, time, and opportunity never met up, until it did (and that’s debatable). I was cruising the social medias and this truck came across the feed. It was sitting in a barn in rural America put away by its previous owner at just under 130k miles because they had become fed up with chasing an overheating issue. The price was too good to pass up so I started researching how the cooling system worked and its problems. Now I have been researching these 1st gen Dakotas for years and knew several of the quirks and features (such as their appetite for transmissions). After a call with the seller and gathering facts, I went all in.
I proceeded to break pretty much every rule of buying a used car on the internet. I never looked at this truck outside of the pictures. I didn’t even pick it up from the seller. Heck, I never even met the seller. A very enthusiastic friend picked the truck up for me because my availability was extremely limited, and a quick pickup of the truck sweetened the deal. I pretty much went full Tyler Hoover and bought it sight unseen. When I got my first look at the truck 9 days after I had purchased it and 2 days after it had gotten home, I was ecstatic to see that it more or less matched the description. There are a couple issues I had not prepared for, but overall my projections have been pretty close to reality.
Why would I do this? Why would I dive headfirst into a hooptie rescue mission? Buying and restoring an old car has been a bucket list item for me. Sure, like everyone else I wanted to get an old Porsche or AMX, but those are pretty much unobtainable in halfway decent shape. I stumbled upon these Dakota Convertibles many years ago and think they are the perfect balance between practical workhorse and classic car charm. To top it off, these Dakota Convertibles have been slowly but steadily appreciating. Not Bring a Trailer levels, but a decent condition example could bring ~4-6k. I did fear that I would have to wait for the ideal moment in time only to be much older and have to pay much more money. I didn't want to do that. Call it being foolish and/or a fear of missing out. Instead of YOLOing in GME, I YOLO’d into a 30 year old pickup. (This reference made sense when I first drafted this post. Now it is probably outdated. Hello fellow kids!) I am fully invested in getting this truck back on the road and using it for fun as well as truck related things. It is going to be a great adventure with many mishaps along the way. I know I have probably gone in way over my head, and I can’t wait.