As cool as the Ram TRX, Ford F-150 Raptor, and Chevrolet Silverado ZR2 are, we still yearn for a resurgence of small pickup trucks. The Dodge Dakota comes to mind, in particular. Ram is said to be working on a smaller truck for the USA market, but it remains elusive. And when it does arrive, chances are it won’t offer a Hellcat V8 engine. Wouldn’t it be a sight if there was a Dakota Hellcat truck? Well, turns out there is. Created by Boosted Motorsports and highlighted by Holley Performance, that’s exactly what we have here today.
It’s a simple concept, throw away just about everything under the hood and install a 707 horsepower motor from a Dodge Hellcat. Yeah, we thought you’d like that. That’s what John O’Malley did to his 1999 Dodge Dakota pickup, and the net effect is quite hair-raising.
Dubbed the “Hellkota,” this Dodge Dakota truck is a refreshing restomod from the usual ratty muscle cars that receive the tire-smoking powerplant.
The 6.2-liter supercharged Hellcat V8 adds a significant amount of performance where there was essentially none to begin with, and sends it all to the rear wheels via an 8HP90 eight-speed automatic transmission to the factory 9.25-inch rear end, complete with Detroit Truetrac differential.
The build is more than just a “simple” engine swap, as the interior has also been completely updated to feature the dashboard, instruments, steering wheel, and center console from the Hellcat. This might be more out of necessity than style, as there are so many electronics that control the engine that it was probably easier just to use all the original parts, rather than try and retrofit it to the original Dakota interior.
To top it all off, the truck carries its original blue paint, which John estimates that less than 200 trucks left the factory with in 1999, making it even more special. John chronicles the build of the truck on his YouTube channel, where he also showcases his Viper V10-powered RAM SRT-10. And if 392 Hemi engines are more your thing, there’s a Dodge Dakota build for that, too.