Subscribe to a magazine

1989 Dodge Dakota 4x4 - Out Of The Blue

Exterior Front
James J. Weber | Writer
Posted February 1, 2001
Photographers: Dan Davis

An '89 Dakota With 39-Inch Mickeys?

It's not everyday that you can drive down the street and see a lifted Dodge Dakota in your rearview mirror. Sure, we see its big brother the Dodge Ram just towering over anything and anybody in sight. So when we saw this creation (and believe us, it's a creation), we couldn't pass it up.

What you are looking at is really a combination of no less than six different trucks morphed together to create one. Confused yet? Let us explain. As the story goes, Mark Entwistle of Greenfield, Indiana, really wanted to make and customize a truck, and, according to him, what better way than to build the impossible - a Dodge Dakota with 39-inch tires? Rummaging from salvage yard to salvage yard, Mark eventually collected enough parts to commence the morphing. Being able to only locate a two-wheel-drive frame, Mark had no choice but to take it and turn it into one that would accommodate the drivetrain that he envisioned. Once the two-wheel-drive frame was smoothed, boxed, and filled, he tabbed the front and rear for the suspension mounts and welded the custom-made motor mounts to it. Focusing his attention on how he would elevate the truck, Mark adapted a '79 Jeep model 20 axle to fit the rear and a Dana 44 for the frontend. Both front and rear pumpkins were filled with 4:56 Lock-Right lockers. The key factor to fitting the massive 39.5x15x15 Mickey Thompson tires wrapped around 15x12 Eagle racing rims were the front and rear 12-inch custom leaf springs, care of Warner Spring and Brake. Speaking of brakes, the frontend stopping power is from a set of stock Dodge Dakota discs, while the rears are the traditional drum type. As if the huge donut tires didn't provide a smooth ride already, four Rugged Trail shocks assist. The steering was custom-fabbed from factory components because of the increase in height and the fact that the frame once belonged to a two-wheel-drive rig.

Powering the truck is a '79 360-cid Dodge V-8 from, of all things, an old State Trooper police car. To give the V-8 a once-over, the folks at Champion Automotive in McCordsville, Indiana, bored the big-block 0.030 inch over and replaced the stock pistons with Keith Black 9-1/2 Silv-O-Lite pistons, Clevite Bearings, a 218 duration with 0.458 lift Lunati camshaft, a double Summit Racing timing chain, and Mopar high-volume water and oil pumps. The cylinder heads were also reworked, thanks to M&M Automotive, which also dressed up the engine with Moroso valve covers and breathers. For further engine protection and increased life expectancy, a Summit engine oil cooler and a 16-inch Derale electric fan keep the high temperatures at bay. Breathing duties are the responsibility of a single 600-cfm Edelbrock carburetor that sits atop an Edelbrock Performer intake manifold that is Jet-Hot-coated. The electronic Mopar ignition system was recurved to accommodate the ACCEL coil and wires. To make the Dodge seem even more impressive than it already is, Flowtech headers and a Flowmaster exhaust system give it a deeper voice. At its last dyno meeting, the engine put out a respectable 350 hp.

A custom-enhanced '78 Dodge 727 Torqueflite transmission was the creation of Bob Nicely of Greenfield. A sampling of Bob's additions to the 727 is the B&M valvebody and Megashifter as well as special gearing for when the rig is out four-wheeling. Wagoneer driveshafts were mated to the tranny and axles.

8

View Photo Gallery

The body of the truck, an '89 Dodge Dakota shortbed, was primed and painted by Top Coat Refinishing, also of Greenfield, using only the highest quality paints. To make the truck have more of a sport truck look, a roll pan replaced the factory bumper, while the front bumper, the grille, the wiper arms, and the side mirrors were all color-matched. After the Dodge Intense Blue paint had cured; silver and orange pinstriping was applied by the hand of the legendary Billy J of New Palestine, Indiana. On the inside, Auto Meter gauges grace the dashboard while a Pioneer stereo system provides some more creature comfort. The interior was reupholstered and soundproofed in dark-gray cloth to complement the blue exterior. The 3-inch R.J.S. lap belts are not only attractive but functional.

Being a sort of trial and error if you will, between man and machine, we feel that it's only fair that this rig command the respect that it has been built to take. Judging from the hundreds of awards that it has garnered, we think both the owner and the rig are on the right path. Trucks such as this are a testament to the notion that from out of nothing something beautiful can arise. We liken it to the mystical Phoenix, where from out of the fire arose a beautiful bird. You get the point - it's just one cool ride.

11

View Photo Gallery
SPECIFICATIONS
Vehicle : '89 Dodge Dakota 4x4
Owner/hometown : Mark Entwistle/
Greenfield, Indiana
Engine : 360-cid Dodge V-8
Transmission : Custom-built 727
Torqueflite
Axles/differentials : Lock-Right Lockers
Suspension : 12-inch custom-made
leaf springs; Rugged
Trail shocks
Wheels : 15x12 Eagle Racing
Tires : 39.5x15x15 Mickey
Thompson {{{Baja}}} Belted
Other : Custom-converted
two-wheel-drive frame;
B&M MegaShifter;
Flowmaster exhaust;
K&N Air Filter System;
Howe racing radiator

Comments

Advertisement