2000 Dodge Dakota R/T
Mike Stirparo's Dakota has constantly been in the renovation process since its odometer hit the 30K mark back in 2000. Mike purchased the Dodge straight from the dealer, but he had no intentions of leaving it in its factory-direct condition. Quite the opposite, in fact, as the truck was hastily 'bagged, shaved, and painted-a process that led Mike to believe he had a complete and legitimate show truck on his hands. It wasn't until the 1x1-inch rear bridge started bowing and the fresh paint started to wear through and flake off that Mike began doubting the condition of his showpiece.
At this point, Mike began tasting the true bitterness that comes only with finding yourself on the receiving end of the bill for subpar labor. Mike has since vowed to never bargain-shop for custom work again. Luckily, he ran into Eric Powers of K-otic Kustomz in South Jersey where the front suspension was completely blown apart and rebuilt and a one-off rear cantilever setup was created from scratch. After the suspension was soundly restructured, Mike showed his Dodge for nearly four years without any interior mods whatsoever. Wanting to take the next big step, Mike surrendered his truck to serve a two-year bid in paint-and-body purgatory before being released back onto the streets. More than a few body mods had to be retouched, even more items were shaved clean off, and while the Dakota was down for refurbishment, Mike decided to completely flip the paint scheme from the previous red-and-black two-tone to something much more sleek. The time came for Mike to finally resurface on the show scene and unveil the product of several years of successfully executed strategy.
"The Silver Jogger", a nickname Mike has given his Dakota after its revamp, doesn't have anything to do with the factory 360ci V-8 that is powering it but was inspired from a huge run under the clearcoat he noticed that ran along the entire passenger door before the truck was wet-sanded. Before now, this term of endearment was shared by those involved in the build, but now everyone is in on the joke. This truck's final evolution took 10 years to materialize, and believe us, it hasn't exactly been a cakewalk for Mike. He survived the second reconstruction phase of the entire truck with his sanity intact, patiently waited while it was held captive in the body shop, and finally indulged in the therapeutic process of getting his own hands dirty once it finally returned to his own garage. We asked what kept Mike's drive and focus alive during the grueling build, and we couldn't help but respect the conviction in his answer, "I wanted to help my club put the Northeast back on the map."
For more information on Mike's silver stunner, check out the Lowdown.