When we photographed this '00 Dodge Dakota R/T, it was serving as Mike Williams' weekend cruiser and part-time quarter-miler in Flint, Michigan. Mike took what was already a powerful base package and added his own modifications to turn it into an evil R/T.
Mike bought the Dakota new in 1999. "They've never put a 360 in a Dakota before then," Mike tells us. "That was what made me [want to buy one]."
Mike's affinity for dark Mopars didn't begin with this truck. It goes farther back. "I had a '74 400 four-barrel Fury," he says. "It was a triple-black two-door. It was a beast. It was like a tank. If I could find another one like that, I'd buy it."
Mike kept the bottom end of the engine stock, but he added Mopar R/T Magnum big-valve heads with a three-angle valve job, a Mopar M1 intake, 35-pound injectors, a Jacobs' Ultra Team ignition, MP headers, and a billet throttle body.
"The blower was an Internet buy," Mike says of the 9-pound ATI Procharger. It features a billet impeller and a Spearco intercooler. "I bought it from ATI and it had a good reputation, but it was actually a company called Golden West that put it together. I wasn't happy with it originally, but it eventually got [worked out]."
Mike did the engine work himself. He also modified the suspension, adding a Kenny Brown Performance X-brace, and Hotchkis springs and front and rear sway bars. The exhaust system was fitted with Straightline Performance mufflers and 211/42-inch Challenger exhaust tips. But his most significant modifications involved the fuel system. He applied an additional fuel system with Holley billet fuel-rails, braided fuel line, a Split Second air/fuel calibrator, and a full return system. "I was basically running two fuel pumps," he says. When Mike finally got the bugs in his fuel system worked out, he was able to run a best quarter-mile time of 12.9 seconds at the Chrysler Classic Event in Columbus, Ohio.
Mike says the graphics on the rear quarters and tailgate of the truck were meant to match the gold and black striping of the T/A Challenger he owned at the time. The interior features '97 Dodge Viper GTS seats, and digitial boost, fuel-pressure, and air/fuel gauges from Intelltronix.
When we last talked to Mike, he had just sold this Dakota and moved on to an '01 R/T. "The club cab is a smoother ride than the [regular cab] was," he says of the '01 model. "But it is a little slower. Some of the exhaust system changes made it not as quick."
Mike is between project cars right now, and he isn't sure what will be next. Whichever direction Mike decides to go, odds are it will be a walk on the dark side.