Dodge SEMA Trucks
By: Mike Magda Posted: 11-11-04 19:06
© 2004 PickupTruck.com

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Dodge made several notable announcements at the 2004 SEMA Show that focused on the Hemi engine and excited muscle car enthusiasts of all generations. First off, a modern 5.7-liter Hemi will be available as a crate engine with an easy-to-use, plug ‘n’ play engine controller. There are also a variety of classic Hemi crate engines for hot rodders available from the Mopar Performance catalog. So if you’ve got an old Dodge truck, you have a nice variety of crate engines for restoring your truck.

From our perspective, the one Hemi that caught our eye was under the hood of a hacked-up Durango called the “Dude.” Conceived and built by the Chrysler Group SkunkWerks team, the Dude looks a little like a regular cab Dakota with an SRT-10 hood; that is if Dodge made a regular cab Dakota. But since they don’t, the team chopped off the back of a Durango, rounded off the roofline a little and fabricated the leftover sheetmetal into a cargo bed. The Dude is also modified with a cat-back exhaust, lowered suspension, custom front and rear fascia, 20-inch Budnik wheels and hot PPG Tangerine paint. Don’t expect any such vehicle to appear in any showroom. To be honest, we’d rather see the SkunkWerks team chop up a Dodge Magnum and make a Rancher/El Camino-type pickup.

The SkunkWerks team did have a Dakota on display. Inspired by the pre-runner look, the team built this Warrior HO, and it could possibly end up in some production form. The Quad Cab is powered by a 260-horsepower 4.7-liter HO engine, which should be available in the Dakota by spring. Modifications to this truck include a water-fording intake system, integrated bumper-winch combination, off-road tires and decoupling sway bar system (like the one on the Power Wagon). Adding a little extra character are hood scoop, wheel flares, bed-mounted spare tire, tubular tailgate, light bar and sport bar. Don’t be surprised if you see some type of extreme off-road package for the Dakota given the huge response to the Power Wagon.

The other Dakota in the Dodge display was built by Performance West and follows the T/A theme made famous by the Dodge Challenger in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. The Club Cab’s 4.7-liter engine is assisted by a ram-air intake package that is topped off with a 6-Pack style hood scoop. Setting off the truck are the Plum Crazy purple paint, T/A graphics and 20-inch wheels.

The hottest Ram in the display was a Sublime Green regular cab created by Roush Industries. It features a functional shaker hood scoop and dual exhaust that exits in front of the rear tires. Other mods include deep front fascia, cladding, rear roll pan, 22-inch Alcoa wheels and Pirelli Scorpion Zero tires.

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