Dodge introduced the Dodge Dakota in 1987. The idea was to offer a midrange truck that would appeal to men or possibly women who weren’t interested in and had no need for a full size truck. The compact trucks of the seventies had been very successful but there were complaints that the bed of these tiny trucks could haul little more than a large car’s trunk. This was the thinking that led Dodge to develop the Dakota.
Designed in every way to be a work truck the Dakota was built on a true truck chassis and leafspring live axle rear end. The Dakota was also the only truck of its size to offer a V8 engine . Dodge also gave it rack and pinion steering, another first for midsize trucks. The idea that Chrysler had was to create a truck that had the capacity to work like a truck but actually drove like a car. Chrysler keep costs down by assembling the truck in a plant that also assembled full size trucks and shared parts with several cars Chrysler already had in production.
From 1987 through 1996 the Dakota was offered with a straight 4 cylinder engine or a V6 engine. Both engines were also offered with either a five speed manual transmission or a four speed automatic transmission. Four wheel drive was also offered on select models.
Next came the Dakota Sport, fuel injection was now offered and the engine size had increased as well to a 3.9 Liter V6 engine. The Sport package was also now offered in both 2wd an 4×4. Some of the other options included with the Sport were the AM/FM stereo radio, Carpeted logo floor mats, Center armrest bench seat, Deluxe wipers, a gauge package, Mopar Air Dam with Bosch Fog Lamps, Mopar Light Bar with Bosch Off-Road lamps, Euro style black out grille and bumpers. In 1989 an unusual Dakota convertible was introduced and an extended Club Cab was also added for 1990 but still with two doors.
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