1997 Dodge Dakota - $5,000 of Satisfaction

Low-buck Dakota Build

Gary Blount
Sep 1, 2008
Photographers: Gary Blount
Photo 2/9   |   1997 Dodge Dakota front Left View
Not every custom truck is built with the staples of a typical custom-truck build. But considering the level of today's custom builds, clean and close-to-stock isn't going to win you much credit in the scene. So if you don't have the cash to purchase the aftermarket prefab parts, you'd better have a detailed vision of your project along with some incredible skills and some really good friends. Or, you can purchase a project that already has some of the mods done to it. Case in point: Patrick Reid purchased this '97 Dakota that had sat stagnant after a friend of his modified the suspension and body-dropped the truck.
Photo 3/9   |   1997 Dodge Dakota rear Right View
Patrick was enthralled by custom trucks from an early age, drawn in by the paint schemes and graphic details. One Christmas he received an airbrush, and he's been slinging pigments ever since. After building a couple of trucks, Patrick wanted to take his next build one step further, but he didn't want to invest his life savings getting there. He saw the potential in picking up where his friend left off and purchased the Dodge for peanuts.
It wasn't until he got the truck home and started buttoning up the build when he realized that you do indeed get what you pay for. The wiring and plumbing were a mess and forced him to rip out everything and start from scratch. He tore his new project all the way down to the frame and meticulously replumbed the air and brakes in hard-stainless and stainless braided lines. With the plumbing in place, Patrick built a custom harness and ran it next to the hard line to power up the electrical side of the suspension system.
Photo 4/9   |   1997 Dodge Dakota seats
All of the electrical and plumbing was removed one more time to allow Patrick to detail the frame. Along with prepping the frame for paint, he relocated the upper ball joint and the shock mounts to ensure the suspension dynamics were sound. A high-solids primer was laid over the frame and suspension and then sanded for a smooth, paintable surface.
The same care went into shaving and prepping the Dakota's sheetmetal. Patrick prepped, primed, painted, and airbrushed everything on his killer Dodge. Over 90 colors were used on the truck, and every drop was applied by the owner. That this was a labor of love becomes obvious when you look closely at all of the details incorporated into the paintjob.
Photo 5/9   |   1997 Dodge Dakota interior
After the exterior was done, fiberglass and resin were used to form the truck's custom interior dash, console, and door panels. Patrick's friend, Daniel Simpson, recovered the Dakota's seats in gray tweed with snakeskin inserts. Patrick took it upon himself to apply the brown vinyl on the dash door panels and back panels to accent the snakeskin inserts in the seats.
This Dakota is still evolving, and Patrick will keep tweaking it and coming up with new stuff to do. We think this proud truck owner's $5,000 and, more importantly, his gold mine of talent have constructed one impressive machine.
Photo 6/9   |   1997 Dodge Dakota truck Bed
The 411
Patrick Reid / San Leon, Texas
'97 Dodge Dakota
V-6 with an overdrive automatic / K&N open-element filter attached with custom 3.5-inch dryer duct painted to match / custom, mandrel-bent 3-inch exhaust / two-chamber Flowmaster muffler
By: Owner
Photo 7/9   |   1997 Dodge Dakota door Panel
Front & Rear: 20x8 Center Line Archer with 5.1 inches of backspacing
Front: 225/35R20 Nitto NT555
Rear: 245/35R20 Nitto NT555
Front: A-arm with 1-inch relocated upper ball joint / 2600 Firestone airbags / relocated shocks
Rear: Custom-fabricated five-link suspension consisting of a parallel four-link and Panhard rod / 2850 Firestone air springs
Accessories: Polished stainless 3/8-inch hard line / Thomas air compressor / 450 Extreme 3/8-inch air valves
BY: Patrick Reid and previous owner
Photo 8/9   |   1997 Dodge Dakota engine
Body Mods:
Shaved door handles, tailgate, bed-stake pockets, antenna, upper cab seam, lower body line, third brake light / 3-inch body drop with modified cab floor / rounded upper door corner to match back of cab / front license plate frenched into bumper / wood bed floor / Street Scene mirrors and grille inserts / mirror mounts molded to the truck / cowl hood
By: Rob Rodell and previous owner (body drop); Patrick Reid (everything else)
Custom Paint:
Factory red basecoat / 94 colors used to create graphics
By: Owner
Photo 9/9   |   1997 Dodge Dakota engine
Tuxedo gray tweed and synthetic alligator inserts / custom fiberglass and brown vinyl door panels / custom fiberglass and brown vinyl / custom-built center console and dash
BY: Owner and Daniel Simpson
Sony GT620 head unit with iPod controller / two Rockford Fosgate P2D412 12-inch subs / Rockford Fosgate P1000-1bd Class-BD circuit / two sets of GT625A speakers
By: Owner
Severed Ties
Special Thanks:
Severed Ties, Daniel Simpson, Jason Hall, Freddy, Mike, Angela, Mom, Dad, and Samantha



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