Have Your Cake and Eat It Too With This Classic Convertible Pickup Truck
Let’s say you have a nice reliable commuter car and are considering a fun classic to drive on the weekends. But what should you get? A convertible is a joy to take on long, winding weekend drives. But a pickup truck is handy for those weekend DIY projects and a classic truck has a way of making everyone who sees it smile. What if I told you you could have the best of both worlds with a classic Dodge Dakota convertible pickup truck?
Was a convertible Dodge Dakota pickup truck automotive perfection?
Back in the 1980s, Dodge was struggling to sell its mid-size Dakota pickup truck. So the automaker contracted a coachbuilder called ASC to convert a few Dakotas into convertibles. It added a rollbar and a manual-folding soft top, and the result was a piece of pure automotive perfection.
The Dakota of the day had a 3.9-liter V6 which made 125 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque. It also had a four-speed automatic transmission. That might not sound very fast, but the convertible Dakota was a “Sport” trim with stiffened suspension, so that’s pretty cool. And when you’re driving one of the quirkiest vehicles on the road, life’s more about the journey than the destination.
The convertible Dakota’s detractors might belittle it as the DVD/VCR player of its day: an overly complex machine that does neither function particularly well. But with the Dakota ‘vert, you could enjoy both a useable pickup truck bed and cruise around under the open sky. Best of all, even the nicest examples of the convertible Dakota are worth less than a roadster and truck would cost you (combined).
How much is a Dodge Dakota convertible pickup truck worth?
Somehow, classic truck collectors are still ignoring the Dodge Dakota convertible pickup truck. Cars & Bids recently auctioned off a tastefully modified Dakota ‘vert with just 93,000 miles for $8,100. That’s even cheaper than the $19,718 average listing price of the hardtop 1989 Dodge Dakotas on Car Gurus!
Look at it this way: Car Gurus says the average 1989 Dodge Ram 150 is currently listed for $14,995, while the average first-year (1992) Dodge Viper is listed for $76,925. So the lucky buyer of this Dakota got a Dodge roadster and a truck, while saving $83,820–and one parking spot!
There are currently two Dodge Dakota convertibles listed on eBay with buy-it-nows of $16k. But if you’re interested, you may be able to talk the sellers down a bit.
The convertible pickup truck is making a comeback
While Dodge was just dabbling with a convertible pickup truck, one automaker has offered several generations of this superior configuration: Jeep.
Dodge’s Stellantis cousin has offered several convertible trucks, many of which were available with removable soft tops, or even hard tops. One such vehicle was the lovely Jeep Gladiator truck (1963-87) which was offered as a soft-top convertible.
Another Jeep truck, this time in a removable hardtop pickup configuration, was the Jeepster Commando. This groovy Jeep was made from 1967-73 and is also called the Jeep Commando or just the Jeepster.
Finally, the iconic Jeep truck Ronald Reagan drove around his ranch was the CJ-8, also known as the Jeep Scrambler. This truck rode on a stretched version of the CJ chassis and was offered with a removable hardtop.
The current Jeep Gladiator (JT) also rides on a stretched, full-frame SUV chassis. It is only available with four doors. You can get it with either a soft folding top or a removable hardtop. There’s no word yet on whether we’ll get a version badged as a Dodge Dakota convertible. But one can only hope.
Next, read all about a unique stretched Volkswagen Rabbit compact truck or watch Doug DeMuro’s review of the Dodge Dakota convertible on Cars & Bids in the video below: