I was driving on the off ramp to the local mall. I came to a stop for the light and while I was waiting, I noticed a medium red Dodge truck.
It was equipped with a six-inch lift kit and medium width tires on chrome wheels. Furthermore, it had some distinctive curved iron rod work mounted on top of the rear bumper all of which was painted red to match the body. A three-inch round chrome tow ring with a chrome bolt was attached at the center of the bumper.
Last, but not least, to complete the deal, the truck was a convertible. The black top was folded down and its black roll bar was visible behind the front seat.
This was indeed the first time that I saw a convertible truck and I must say that it really got my attention. It looked sharp indeed!
So what does the 1989-1991 Dodge Dakota Convertible truck have to offer?
This Dodge is a mid-size two door three passenger truck available in two-wheel or four-wheel drive. The wheelbase measures 112 inches and its curb weight is 3,042 pounds. Furthermore, the fuel take holds 15 gallons and this tuck has a highway cruising range of 315 miles.
The engines include a 2.4-liter four-cylinder providing 99 hp and 132 ft. lb. of torque or a 3.9-liter fuel-injected V6 providing 125 hp and 195 ft. lb. of torque. The transmissions include a five-speed manual gearbox or a three or four-speed automatic.
On the exterior this Dodge is an eye catcher.
At the front the truck’s windshield is mildly raked. The hood and front fenders are truck flat with no visible detail work. The headlights are fairly small rectangular units with amber turn signals directly below. The black grille takes up the entire area in between the headlights. The bumper below is a simple but sturdy piece.
From the side this Dodge includes flared fenders at the front and the rear. The chassis sits up about six inches from the wheels. There is a cut line just below the door handle that runs the length of the truck. With the top down, the roll bar is clearly visible behind the front seat. With the top up, the look is closer to a standard truck, however, the black soft- top still draws the eyes.
At the rear this convertible looks much like the hardtop Dakota. The tailgate is flat but has a recessed area in the center. The taillights are vertical units at the corners that wrap into the rear fenders. The flat edge step bumper is a straight forward piece that fits well with the tuck’s rugged theme.
On the interior this truck has a simple straight forward appearance. The gauge cluster is open with a round tachometer on the left and a speedometer on the right. Smaller fuel and temperature gauges are presented on the far right. The dash is flat and quite square. There is a useful recessed area in the dash on the passenger side. The driver and passenger seats adjust separately but are integrated so as to seat up to three.
To lower the soft-top, the side windows are lowered and the snaps above the visors are opened. Then the top can be grasped and lowered behind the driver’s seat.
The brakes are discs at the front measuring 10.7 or 11.4 inches and drums at the rear measuring 9 or 10 inches. The tires are 195 70 14 inch. Larger 15 inch tires and wheels are also available.
The suspension at the front includes upper and lower control arms, coil springs shock absorbers, and a stabilizer bar. At the rear the setup includes leaf springs, shock absorbers, and a stabilizer bar.
Standard features on this truck include power steering, intermittent wipers, power windows and door locks, dual remote outside mirrors, AM/FM cassette stereo, padded sport roll bar, fog lights and more.
Standard safety features include four-wheel ABS brakes.
The fuel rating for this Dodge truck is 16 city and 23 mpg on the highway.
On the road this truck provides adequate acceleration and reasonable handling. Furthermore, its ride quality is quite good. The vehicle will haul cargo and seat up to three adults. However, make no mistake about it; the top-down feature is the big feature of this truck!
When new, the Dodge Dakota Convertible sold for up to $14,335. Now you can pick up one for $1,500-$3,500.
As with any used vehicle, it is a good idea to have a qualified mechanic who regularly works on Dodge Dakotas put the truck on a lift and test drive it before you buy.
If you want a vehicle that is unique, rugged and that can haul some cargo, the Dodge Dakota Convertible could be the top-down truck to investigate!
Kyle Busch is the author of “Drive the Best for the Price: How to Buy a Used Automobile, Sport-Utility Vehicle, or Minivan and Save Money.” His automotive site: www.DriveTheBestBook.com includes an exclusive article just for you, additional car articles, information about Kyle Busch and his 510,000 mile car, and you can even submit your automotive questions and get expert answers. Follow Kyle on Facebook and Twitter.