February 4, 2010
CarDomain Obscure Muscle Car Parking Lot: The Dodge Dakota 5.9 R/T
By Jim Brennan
The new year is upon us, and it’s time for a brand new season of the CarDomain Obscure Muscle Car Parking Lot, where I profile a car (or in this case, a truck) that you might not consider a muscle car, and try and change your thinking on what a muscle car can or should be. It’s been a while, and I’m glad to be back at CarDomain, writing about obscure muscle, like this entry on the Dodge Dakota 5.9 R/T.
Continue reading after the jump!
Dodge’s R/T performance history dates back to the late 1960s, a time when Mopar powered Hemi, Big and Small Block muscle cars ruled the street and the drag strip. The first R/T which stands for “Road and Track” was a Hi-performance version of the 1967 Dodge Coronet equipped with a 440 Cubic Inch V-8, heavy-duty suspension, beefier brakes, larger tires, and R/T badging. If that wasn’t enough you could order the legendary 426-cubic inch (7.0L) Hemi engine rated at 425 horsepower. Over the year’s many different models had an R/T edition including, Aspen, Charger, Challenger, Neon, Viper and more. In 1998 Dodge added the Dakota to the list, the first truck to wear the R/T badge.
The Dakota 5.9 R/T was offered in both the standard cab and the club cab configuration. The Dakota R/T comes equipped with a 5.9-liter Magnum V-8 and large-bore, free-flow exhaust that delivers increased engine performance and an exhaust note that is backed up by its performance capabilities. A four-speed transmission connects the 250 horsepower and 345 lb.-ft. of torque from the 5.9-liter Magnum V-8 to the limited-slip rear axle which turns 255/55×17-inch tires. The Dakota R/T’s suspension tuning also includes front and rear stabilizer bars for added control. It’s lowered one full inch and offered in only two-wheel drive configuration.
The Dodge Dakota R/T went on sale in the spring of 1998 and was produced thru 2003. The 5.9-liter (360) Magnum V-8 engine packing 250 horsepower and 345 lb.-ft. of torque. Wearing oversized 17-inch wheels gives the Dakota R/T a solid, stable footprint, which further enhances handling. The suspension, which was built with a focus on road handling as opposed to load hauling, is lowered to give the R/T a racing look and feel. The Dakota R/T has front and rear stabilizer bars to control handling, but the rear bar is a beefier 19 mm to minimize body roll in turns during cornering and a limited-slip differential for improved traction. The one downside is the fact that there is only a 2,000 pound towing capacity.
Feeding power through a 46RE four-speed automatic, the R/T posted a 0-60 time of 7.08 sec, passing through the quarter mile in 15.50 at 88.72 mph. Fitted with 11.3-in. vented discs front and 9.0-in. drums out back (with rear-only anti-lock), the Dakota stopped from 60 mph in a decent 136 ft. These numbers were achieved only achieved by sports cars nearly almost a decade earlier. To get these performance numbers from a truck was almost unheard of.
CarDomain Members Rides:
There are quite a number of CarDomain Members who roll a 5.9 R/T, and here’s two of my favorites. First up, take a look at Andrew’s R/T Club Cab. His ride page takes us on a journey from the day he bought, and chronicled every modification he did to the truck. You have to check it out!
Here is a hot red 5.9 R/T Club Cab, which belongs to Chris, from Rochester, NH. Chris added some modifications that are subtle, but pay tribute to the Mopar Muscle Cars of the past. Well done.
So there you have it, the first installment of the new year of the CarDomain Obscure Muscle Car Parking Lot. Does the Dakota 5.9 R/T belong on the lot, or should it be kicked to the ground as a pretender. Express your opinion below, and keep on suggesting what other Obscure Muscle you want me to write about.
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