Battered Benchmark: 1989 Dodge Dakota Shelby – SOLD!

by | May 2022 | Craigslist ClassiFINDS, Truckin Tuesday

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June 6, 2022, Update – We confirmed the seller of this “Classifind” deleted their listing, so we’re now able to call this one “SOLD!” While this one got away, please reach out either by email or call us directly if you’d like to be informed when we come across something similar.

While the name Carroll Shelby is synonymous with Cobras and Ford Mustangs in the 1960s and then again in the 1990s, people forget that in the 1980s, Carroll partnered again with Lee Iacocca to build a number of special high-performance Dodge variants that wore this special badge. One of the rarer projects was the one-year-only 1989 Dodge Dakota Shelby. Shelby produced only 1,475 of these muscle trucks and we found a tired one originally listed in May 2022 on Craigslist in Norwalk, California (Los Angeles). With an odometer showing 186K original miles, the non-original “SHELBY” livery likely confirms this rare V8-powered truck benefitted from fresh exterior paint at some point. While the interior pictures show the original dash plaque Shelby installed when new, the seller neglects to report what sequence number this truck is.

Currently offered for $5,500,, the analytics and search engine for the collector car market, confirms the ask is right at the minimum of this guide’s five-year results summary for this rare V8-powered mid-size truck.  By clicking on the green dots in the graph below, you can navigate to each comparable car sold as a way to help you make an educated bid on the car we are featuring for auction here:

Shelby’s involvement with Dodge in the 1980s began back in the early days of his work with the Ford Mustang.  It was through that experience that he came to know Lee Iacocca, who later became president of Chrysler. The downside was that the Ford experience was not a good one for Shelby, so Iacocca had to do a lot of convincing to get Shelby to help at Chrysler, especially when the company was still in the early stages of reinventing itself a huge government bailout.  Originally, Iaccoca brought Shelby in only as a consultant to develop and launch “GLH”-labeled (The GLH stood for Goes Like Hell!) performance versions of the 1983 Charger and Omni.  Shelby continued throughout the 1980’s building other high-performance versions of Dodge cars.  By 1989, Chrysler commissioned Shelby to build a version of its very popular Dodge Dakota mid-size truck.

The Shelby Dakota ended up being a one-year-only model in 1989 with only 1,475 units produced.  For this project, Shelby followed the same formula he used on the Cobra: he stuffed Chrysler’s 318 cu in (5.2 L) into the V6-only Dakota.  Producing 175 horsepower and 270 lb-ft of torque the Shelby Dakota Pickups achieved sub-nine second 0-60 mph times, which at the time was unheard of in any size truck.  Shelby’s creation created a new segment of Hot Rod pickups that Chevrolet and Ford eventually addressed with their own versions.

The American Muscle Car Museum YouTube Channel provides is a nice overview of these rare muscle trucks as well as the truck featured being a benchmark for the actual example for sale currently:

Besides the torn interior, the biggest faux pax about this truck is the missing Shelby-specific parts and the non-original labels.  Specifically, the air dam and bed-mounted roll bar are missing, which may prove just as difficult to source as the material needed to reupholster the interior of this rare truck.  With no pictures of the engine but nearly two hundred thousand miles on the clock, you’ll need to question the seller on when, if ever, the powertrain received a rebuild.

Here’s the seller’s description:

“Dodge Dakota Shelby
V8 318
Auto trans
Locking rear end LSD
Muscle Truck with a cam
Google it please only 700ish on road today.

Restore or use as-is: What would you do with this 1989 Dodge Dakota Shelby?  Please comment below and let us know!

1 Comment
  1. Battered Benchmark: 1989 Dodge Dakota Shelby – SOLD!

    I just bought a 1993 Dakota Sport with the 318 motor and the truck is a BLAST to drive. It shows 112K original and is in very, very nice condition body wise. I bought it as a donor for my 1955 Studebaker pick up. The Dakota chassis and running gear will allow me to drive the Stude. As a below knee amputee, three on the tree is no good for me.
    Hey……… that rhymes. I’m a poet and don’t know it; but my feet show it! they’re longfellows!


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