Sport trucks have become a huge part of today's new vehicle market. While many companies offer a variety of trucks, DaimlerChrysler has positioned itself well into this market with performance-oriented products: The SRT-10, the Rumble Bee, and the Dakota R/T models. The Dakota R/T has been in production the longest, since midyear 1998, and has gained quite an enthusiast following.
One way the owners of these Magnum-powered trucks get together is through the National Dakota R/T Club. Founded in 2000, the club consists of 12 chapters nationwide. They maintain the web site, www.dakotart.com, which contains club news, info, and an Internet registry. They also host one big national event each year, as well as several regional races.
During the Mopars at the Rock event last April, over two dozen members from the National Dakota R/T Club were on hand. They came to Rockingham, North Carolina, from all walks of life, and enjoyed spending the weekend talking to each other about owning, modifying, and tuning their trucks. Through the efforts of the club and the help of the track, they organized a bracket race devoted just to Dakota R/Ts. The Port City Mopar Club, who ran the car show for the event, set aside the entire back fence behind the track for the club, where they swapped parts out, bolted up the slicks, and went racin'.
We had a chance to meet the club members at the event and have highlighted a few of the faster ones who were in attendance. With the cost of iron from the classic musclecar era climbing, and the practicality of a truck as a primary or secondary everyday vehicle, owning an R/T and catching up with these guys someplace may be a great new way to enjoy a Mopar-style weekend.
A special thanks goes out to Richard Eckstein, a Columbus, Ohio-based officer in the club, who introduced us to several of the contestants.