Carroll Shelby is a legend for making incredible cars that could achieve impossible feats, he is known for using large and powerful engine in almost every possible class. The most famous cars Shelby has built are the Shelby Cobra, GT350 Mustang, and the large GT500.

Around the 1980s, Shelby was working with Chrysler under the approval of Chairman Lee Iacocca. Together, they were able to create special edition cars such as the Dodge Shelby Charger, Zippy CSX, Rorty GLHS, and our featured car, the 1989 Shelby Dakota muscle truck.

1,500 high performance Shelby Dakotas were made during its 1 year production and after 25 years, these beast are still roaring down the road including this one. This well maintained pickup was just put up for sale online and it is claimed to have 25,307 in its odometer.


So why is the 1989 Shelby Dakota so special? Like most of Shelby’s creations, the magic starts with its powertrain. Before 1989, the stock Dodge Dakota pickups only had the four-cylinder and V6 models but Shelby and Dodge wanted more power, so it got the bigger 5.2 L Magnum V8 that was used in the Full sized Dodge pickups. The Magnum V8 was redesigned to fit into the smaller midsize Dakota which probably was not an easy task.

To do this, Dodge had to replace the belt-driven fan of the V8 with an electric unit that was installed at the front of the radiator. It not only made the V8 smaller but also added a few horsepower to the Dakota reaching a 175 horsepower and a torque of 270 lb.-ft.

It may not be much compared to the pickups today, but in 1989 it was already something you do not mess with. A record of 0 to 60 mph in 8.5 sec with the Magnum V8 connected to a 4-speed automatic with lockup torque converter that directs all the power to its rear wheels.

1989 Dodge SHELBY DAKOTA interior

To further improve the performance and reliability of the Dakota, it had a limited-slip differential, transmission cooler, and some optional body modifications for a flashy ride such as a unique air dam and bumper, Shelby floor mats, monogramed seats and door panels, a “CS” steering wheel, 15-spoke hollow alloy wheels, and other flashy details.

Although the Shelby Dakota did not continue its production in 1990, the V8 lived on in 1991 as the 5.2 L eight-cylinder option for the later Dakota models.

Out of 1,500 Shelby Dakota pickups made, 860 were painted with red while the remaining 640 came with the classy Bright White. This Dakota is believed to be #245 of the white pickups, and only had one owner from Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, for $15,985. Originally the Dakota was sold for $3,933 in 1989. At the moment, the bids for this truck is above $10,000.

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