As the end of MotorTrend’s inaugural year of Mecum auction coverage fast approaches, this ultra-rare 1990 Dodge Dakota Sport pickup is queued to cross the block at the upcoming sale in Las Vegas, November 10 to November 12. That’s right, the Las Vegas Convention Center will undergo a massive one-week makeover that takes it from being home of the annual SEMA trade show to a super-sized dealership, at which upwards of 1,000 vehicles will hopefully be sold to the highest bidders.
We kick off a quartet of features on cool, unique rigs for sale at Mecum Vegas with this report on the ragtop Dodge Dakota Sport. Why, you ask? Because we’re pretty confident it’s not on the radar of most hardcore truck fans reading this. Heck, only three members of MotorTrend’s esteemed Truck and Off-Road Group have actually seen one in person. The 1990 Dodge Dakota Sport convertible isn’t the rarest of the rare, but with only 909 rigs produced for that model year (2,842 convertibles were built for 1989, and only eight were made for 1991), and with no data on how many others still exist now, this near-mint, Bright White survivor is very special.
Catch the live gavel-to-gavel broadcast of Mecum’s Las Vegas auction on MotorTrend TV and MotorTrend+. The start time is 2:00 p.m. (Eastern) on Friday, November 11, and Saturday, November 12, 2022.
1990 Dodge Dakota Sport Convertible
You’re looking at a unique, pioneering midsize American classic. Just 909 ragtop units were produced for the 1990 model year, and the following year’s run was even smaller, with only eight convertibles built. Dodge commissioned American Sunroof Corporation of Southgate, Michigan, to reconfigure hardtop Dakotas, to the financial tune of $3,000 more than their base price. Despite being classified as compact trucks, Ford’s Ranger and Chevrolet/GMC’s S-10 and S-15 were Dakota’s rivals of the period. However, none of those rigs were modified (per the factory’s order) into convertibles.
A 3.9-liter Magnum V-6 engine resides under the convertible Dakota Sport’s hood. It’s connected to an optional four-speed automatic transmission (a five-speed manual gearbox was standard), and this example is two-wheel-drive (four-wheel drive was also available).
Subtle, Simple Inside
The 1990 Dodge Dakota Sport convertible’s cabin is clean and relatively no-frills, with charcoal gray as the primary color for the reclining high-back cloth seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel, dash, and trim. Power steering, brakes, windows, locks, cruise control, and air conditioning are the only stock amenities worth noting. As part of the convertible upgrade, a padded rollbar—for safety and structural rigidity—was installed just behind the seats.
American Sunroof Corporation was charged with converting hardtop Dakotas to convertible form. The manually operated roofs for these rigs were made of vinyl, but this Sport is upgraded with what appears to be a new cloth top.
In the Back
It’s fitting for a convertible, but we believe the “Touring Edition” decal on the tailgate is not a factory identifier. Woodgrain trim on the lip of the gate and top of the bedrails is interesting, and a Pendaliner is fitted inside the bed to ward off dents and paint damage.
Although it wasn’t an overwhelming sales success, Dodge’s ragtop Dakota Sport apparently was popular in the New England area, of all places. We dig the Euro-style blackout treatments on the grille, bumpers, foglamps, mirrors, door and tailgate pulls, and fenders, as well as the silver graphics on each side. A leveled stance and BF Goodrich Radial T/A tires on five-spoke silver steel wheels (with chrome trim rings) balance out the exterior package.
This Dakota Sport may actually fall in the same category as the recently featured replica Marty McFly four-wheel-drive 1985 Toyota SR5 Xtra Cab that sold at the Mecum auction in Chattanooga, Tennessee—a repeat offender. In what’s becoming standard practice, we took a look back at past Mecum auctions and found this rig for sale in 2020 (Indianapolis). We acknowledge that the similarities could be totally coincidental, and can be definitively verified by VIN only. But, coincidence or not, it’s one of very few pickups like it. And the only way we can score that is … cool!
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