Welcome to this edition of the Hooniverse Obscure Muscle Car Garage, 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. Dodge’s R/T performance history dates back to the late 1960’s, 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. However, does this truck really belong in the Garage?
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 Magnum V-8 (which measures 360 CID) 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. 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 tougher look and feel. The Dakota R/T was equipped with 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. There is a limited-slip differential that was standard equipment 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 by sports cars nearly a decade earlier. To get these performance numbers from a truck was almost unheard of.
So there you have it, another Muscle Pickup Truck for the Hooniverse Obscure Muscle Car Garage. We have already profiles the Ford SVT Lightning, the Chevrolet SS 454, as well as the Dodge Li’l Red Express, so does the Dakota 5.9 R/T belong with the other inductees, 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.
Please Note: All Images are screen grabs from around the web. If you want credit for any image, please let me know in the comments section. Thank You!