Owner: Tom McCarthy Jr.
Purchase price: $3,800
Years owned: One
location: Austin, Texas
Found on: Craigslist
When I moved to Texas I thought, I should get a pickup. On a whim, I Googled “convertible truck,” and discovered the Dakota Convertible. That car became the dream, but I never thought I’d find one. Dodge only made about 3,500 of them between ’89 and ’91. But when I was visiting a friend in Dallas, I decided to check, and saw one nearby. I thought the listing was a scam, but, thankfully, I went anyway. It was the real deal. The previous owner had died, and his family didn’t want it anymore. It just didn’t hold the right memories for them.
It came with a/c, automatic transmission, and a red velour interior, which is awesome. I love the utility. I’m a photojournalist, and I watch dogs as a side business—that’s my dog Chuy in the photo. The truck is great for both. And the top is mechanically simple—just unlatch and fold down. It has a summertime vibe that fits in well around here. People roll up to me and go, “Did you do that yourself?”
I’m not super-adept at car maintenance, but for the most part, if it needs anything, I can do it. The goal is to keep it from falling into disuse. Even if it were rusted out but ran perfectly and the top came down, I’d be just as happy. It’s funny. When you buy an old car like this, you feel like you owe it to the community, the rest of the people who own this type of car, to keep it running.