Last Fall, the staffs of seven emap USA magazines got the opportunity to make the all-new Dakota Quad Cab their canvas in order to build vehicles that best illustrated their individual markets. In the case of our sister publication 4-Wheel & Off-Road, the goal was to use Dodge's new Dakota Quad Cab as the foundation for a thoroughly impressive four-by. "Once Dodge saw what we had in mind, they quickly agreed to our scheme," says Craig Perrone,a writer for 4WOR, "but unfortunately, a truck wouldn't be available until a month before our set-in-stone deadline for completion!" A completion that would have it on display at the '99 SEMA/AI Show in Las Vegas.

"Sure, we could have changed our minds and gone the easy route. You know, bolt on a lift kit, add some 33-inch tires, and call it a day-but that wasn't part of our plan. We wanted to build one of the most radical and custom project trucks ever seen. Adding to the difficulty was that our truck, besides looking awesome, also needed to be functional-actually, it needed to work great. The truck would have to be able to throw mud, blast over sand dunes, and crawl over rocks with the best of them," writes Perrone in his article that appeared in the March 2000 issue of 4WOR.

With the only stock components in the plan being the frame and the body, a live-axle conversion, front and rear Dana 60s, a mega-horsepower Mopar Performance Parts Wedge crate engine, and super-stout running gear were all in the works. Also floating around in the staff's scheming brains was a seriously custom suspension that would have lots of wheel travel and be able to accommodate massive tires.

The concept definitely involved lots of skilled labor and custom fabrication, so 4-Wheel & Off-Road needed a shop that they could trust to meet the hurried deadline without sacrificing high expectations. "No small task, but without hesitation we contacted Maurice Rozo at Off Road Unlimited (ORU)," says Perronne. "We had seen Maurice's work before and knew it was of the highest quality. The crew at ORU was eager to join in the madness, and as soon as we took possession of our Dodge Dakota Quad Cab, it was dropped off at Off-Road Limited and the cutting began."

In addition to the driveline concerns, there was also the suspension details. "We had to make a completely custom suspension for the Dodge. Like our driveline, we wanted the suspension to work well. It needed to have a great ride and a decent amount of articulation. To top things off, we wanted to run 39.5x18 Boggers!" writes Perronne.

Part of the challenge was Maurice Rozo's insistence on using coil-overs at all four corners, despite the tight timeframe. Maurice and the crew at ORU definitely were up for the task and completed the truck in time for the deadline. Yes, a from-scratch suspension system worthy of the finest show and the greatest articulation.

Check out the following photographs to determine the extent of the modifications under this wild Dakota and you'll understand why a crowd gathered around the monsterous truck at the '99 SEMA/AI Show.

SOURCE
Off Road Unlimited (ORU)
40 E. Palm Ave.
Burbank
CA   CA
818-563-1208
www.offroadunlimited.com
K&N Engineering
1455 Citrus Ave.
Riverside
CA  92502
800-858-3333
www.knfilters.com
Lee Manufacturing Co.
11661 Pendleton St.
Sun Valley
CA   91352
818-768-0371
Flowmaster Inc.
2975 Dutton Ave.
Santa Rosa
CA  95407
800-544-4761
Griffin Thermal Products Inc.
1000 Hurricane Creek Road
Piedmont,
SC   29673
864-845-5000
Holley Tech Services
P.O. Box 10360
Bowling Green,
KY  42102
800-465-5391
270-781-9741
www.holley.com/
B&M Racing & Performance Products
9142 Independence Ave.
Chatsworth
CA  91311
818-882-6422
Thorley Headers
1561 Commerce St.
Corona
CA  92880
909-735-7280
MSD Ignition
El Paso
TX
9-15/-857-5200
msdignition.com
Continental Torque
730 Centinela Ave.
Inglewood
CA  90302
310-674-1072
Advance Adapters
4320 Aerotech Center Way
P.O. Box 247
Paso Robles
CA  93446
805-238-7000
National Tire & Wheel
183 N. River Rd. / P.O. Box 391
Wheeling
WV  26003
304-233-7917
Beard Products
12322 Penn St.
Whittier
CA  90602
562-696-6686
www.beardseats.com/
Mopar Performance
Mopar.com
Eibach Springs, Inc.
17817 Gillette Ave.
Irvine
CA   92614
949-752-6700
www.eibach.com/
Optima Batteries
5757 N. Green Bay Ave.
Milwaukee
WI  53201
414-524-1200
www.optimabatteries
Dynatrac Products
7392 Count Cir.
Huntington Beach
CA  92647
714-596-4461
Flex-a-lite Consolidated
7213 45th St., Unit E
Fife
WA  98424
800-851-1510
Gold Coast Coatings
19 Aviador, Unit A
Camarillo
CA  93010
805-987-9060
Mean Green
P.O. Box 336
Laughlintown
PA  15655
724-238-7319
Pro Trans
42156 10th St. W., Unit D
Lancaster
CA  93534
661-940-7400
Krupp Bilstein of America
8845 Rehco Rd.
San Diego
CA  92121
858-453-7723
www.bilstein.com/
Powermaster Electrical Systems
2401 Dutch Valley Dr.
Knoxville
TN  37918
865-688-5953
Reider Racing Inc.
12351 Universal Dr.
Taylor
MI  48180
N/A
N/A
www.reiderracing.com/
Morse Muffler
1022 W. Burbank Blvd.
Burbank,
CA  91506
818-848-1058
Weld Racing
933 Mulberry St.
Kansas City
MO  64101
816-421-8040
Aurora Bearing Co.
6-30/-859-2030
aurora_rodends@ibm.net
March Performance
5820 Hix Rd.
Westland
MI  48185
734-729-9070
www.marchperformance.com