Topless Truck: 1989 Dodge Dakota Convertible – SOLD!
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August 8, 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.
There’s a hard lesson many of us have had to learn in the car hobby, which is that rare does not always equal valuable. While limited production or limited availability can make us see dollar signs, more often than not, raw desirability plays a bigger role than production numbers. The Dodge Dakota Convertible pickup is a short-run truck that seemingly should be worth a pretty penny, but you can still buy one for under $10,000 all day long. This 1989 Dakota convertible, originally listed in July 2022 on Craigslist near Cape Cod, Massachusetts, looks like a driver-quality example with just over 63,000 original miles for $8,500. Comparing that price against the Classic.com model guide for the Dakota shows us an average sale price of $12,917, which makes the seller’s ask seem downright reasonable:
The combination of a soft top and a pickup truck never caught on, despite the strong novelty factor. The idea of a truck that you could park next to the beach with your surfboards thrown in the back and the convertible top folded down seems like a win-win to me, but the market clearly felt differently, given this model didn’t return to the lineup after its short-lived run. What’s amazing is how diverse the early Dakota lineup was, with Dodge building a convertible model and partnering with Carroll Shelby on a high-performance offering. At the time, it was rare to see any special edition pickup truck get built; for Mopar to bring two wild concepts to life within the same model generation hasn’t happened since. The first-generation Dakota pickup is generally loved for its toughness and dependability, so combining that with a limited-production model offering should be a safe bet for investment purposes – yet the convertible model remains cheap as chips to buy.
The Marspeed YouTube Channel features this synopsis of special edition Dodge Dakotas Chrysler offered:
The seller’s Dakota hasn’t been kept up like a collectible – relatively few have – but owning a convertible truck in driver-quality condition isn’t such a bad thing, either. For one, you won’t shy away from parking it oceanside with the top and the windows down; for another, you’ll actually use it to support an active lifestyle that lives for the sun. The seller’s Dakota has low miles, too, which is always a bonus when it comes to buying an enthusiast vehicle that you at least hope won’t lose any value for as long as it’s in your garage, and something tells me that if this Dakota was detailed and presented slightly better than it is here, it could safely bring $10,000 or better. If I were in the market, I’d be all over this one, especially given the seller has spent some money on it in the form of new tires – and it recently passed the stringent Massachusetts state inspection. There are still two months of summer left – pick up the phone!
Here’s the seller’s description:
“1989 Dodge Dakota convertible auto, power windows, and locks 4×4, new tires, new Inspection, all original, 63k miles. Some minor dings and scratches fun vehicle to own, only made about 2000 of these.”
Drop top rarity: is the Dakota Convertible a sleeper on the collector car market or just a curiosity that will always be cheap?
The parts for repair are available, body, engine and interior, all convertible parts most difficult to find. Convertible tops are available, certain trim pieces can be difficult to locate. Given the limited numbers for either the Sport version or the Shelby version given there are power differences they offer more utility than the blazer types hard top/removable top, are a decent light rig work horse.
The vehicle is a sleeper
I also have a black on black, 5 sp, 4×4 ’89 version,
The production numbers (I think) were more like 4000 total. The first few went to California collectors that had preordered the “next big thing”, I would love to see one of those show up for sale. I bought a new one at the end of 1990, the dealer was giving it away at the cost of a non-convertible 4×4 (around 12k). They weren’t loved when new and still are not loved today. I remember thinking it was the coolest truck under the sun when i picked it up. The downside was the truck was not very attractive, the roof leaked after a couple of years of ownership. The v6 engine was the pre-magnum 125hp, which really didn’t give it much power, this was the 318 V8 with 2 cylinders chopped off. The automatic transmission grenaded at 34k (luckily Dodge was offering the 10/100k warranty then) and was probably the weakest link in the drivetrain. It was a truck that would get admiring comments often as many people didn’t know that it was an ASC converted factory built truck. I drove mine for about 300k, restored it twice and sold it for about 1/2 what I paid for it new. Every time I see one, I want one. Then I remember it really wasn’t a great truck but fun to be in…..I think this one will stay pretty cheap