14 Pickup Ute Trucks that Changed the World & shaped America.​


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The compact pickup truck segment was red-hot in the mid 1980s, and Dodge was already selling the Ram 50, a re-badged Mitsubishi. But the company needed its own home-grown small pickup with something to set it apart from the crowd. The Dakota all pickup with something to set it apart from the crowd. The Dakota hit in 1987 and was larger than the compact trucks it competed with, yet smaller than full-size machines. The Dakota was offered in a wide range of interesting configurations, including a high-performance Shelby model and even a convertible. In the early 1990s, Dodge added a factory-installed V8—the first for a small truck. And in the truck’s second generation, Dodge added a smart and roomy crew-cab model in 2000, beating Chevy and Toyota to the punch. The truck stayed in production for 24 years, and although it’s no longer produced, the Dakota had a lasting influence as the only midsize truck at a time when all other manufactures were still producing compact trucks. Today, new compact trucks don’t exist in America—every small pickup is a midsize, and the Dakota is the one that pioneered the trend.


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