This truck is 100% garage-built

With parts extracted from a handful of vehicles, Joe Titchenal assembled a truck that features styling cues from very unexpected sources. A '69 Dodge Superbee hood, a narrowed '95 Ford Lightning front bumper, Caddy tails, and Kia seats are just a few unlikely parts that found their way onto Joe's project, but that's how it goes when building a Dodge. Without much aftermarket support, creativity and execution both proved to be Joe's most valuable assets along the way.

Joe first started working on the Dakota with a friend in Arizona who happened to own it back then. The truck was a hacked-up, spray-painted mess in those days, and before the guys could make any real progress on it, Joe moved back to Illinois. The Dodge sat untouched for some time, and the day came when Joe's pal decided he was going to pack up and move away. With no real drive to even think about seeing the build through, Joe's friend agreed to sell him the truck and ship it out to Illinois. "For starters, I redid the bodydrop, stripped the 50 coats of flat-black spray paint, and rewired the entire truck from headlight to taillight," says Joe about the first few personal touches he applied to his new project. To push the build further, Joe put together a one-off back-half, painted the frame, straightened out the body, and pretty much left no nut or bolt untouched.

Joe estimates that the complete build spanned the better part of five years since almost every modification required one-off fabrication. And on top of spending half a decade on the project, Joe tells us that his bank account took quite a ding over the years, but he doesn't regret a thing. "Even though making the true custom pieces for the truck slowed me down, I think all that work is what makes it so unique. If you want to know something funny, I actually decided on the truck's paint based on a vacuum cleaner I saw one night while walking through Wal-Mart with my wife. I stashed a painted cap from the vacuum in my pocket so I could match the paint later on. As I look back now, I remember the truck being completely torn apart and taking up so much room, but I am very proud to say that this truck is 100% garage-built."

Owner: Joe Titchenal
Ride: 1993 Dodge Dakota
Hometown: Bethalto, IL

The Lowdown

Rolling Attire
Wheels: 17-inch Chrysler 300M
Tires: 245/50/17 Hankook Optimo

Chassis Modifications
Suspension (front): Slam Specialties RE7
Suspension (rear): Slam Specialties RE8, back-half frame with cantilever bars with a parallel four-link
Shocks: Bilstein
Compressor(s): Two Viair 480s
Air/hydro Accessories: AVS gauges and switch box
Misc.: Gas tank is in the standard location but has been raised, frame has been stripped and painted gloss black
Performed By: Owner and friends

Body Modifications
Shaved: Doors, antenna, wipers, tailgate, stake pockets, firewall, gas door, wiper cowl
Bodydrop: Traditional 4-inch
Body Mods: ’69 Superbee hood, narrowed ’95 Ford Lightning front bumper, Cadillac tails, license is sunk into the tailgate, Cali combo
Misc.: ’54 Chevy Deluxe emblems on the tailgate and firewall, raised bed floor, S-10 Blazer rear
Performed By: Owner and friends, and Bob Titchenal

Paint
Brand & Colors: DuPont Hot Hues Limelight
Misc.: Truck was pained in a garage
Performed By: Owner and Bob Titchenal

Interior
Seats: Kia buckets
Dash: ’00 Dodge Stratus
Gauges: Stock
Misc.: Custom door panels, third-gen Dakota overhead console, two-foot shifter with beer tap, custom center console, all interior is tan leather with ostrich inserts, flamed steering wheel, floor and wall are Rhino-lined
Performed By: Owner and friends, Denny’s Upholstery

Stereo
Head Unit: Clarion
Mids & Highs: Kicker 6.5-inch components
Subwoofers: 8-inch Kicker L7 in center console
Amplifiers: Kicker ZX 400x1 and ZX 500x4
Misc.: Stinger
Performed By: Owner and Mikey Storer

Engine/Performance
Engine: Dodge 3.9L V-6
Intake: Port and polish
Header/exhaust: JBA headers and Flowmaster muffler
Transmission: Five-speed
Rearend Type: Stock 9-1/4-inch
Detail Work: Everything is cleaned and painted
Misc.: Dwight throttle body, billet overflow, electric fans
Performed By: Owner and friends

Special Thanks From Owner
"My parents for letting me take over the garage, my wife for letting me spend the late nights in the garage and for putting up with my friends, my uncle Bob Titchenal for the body and paint and all the tricks he taught me, Denny’s upholstery and Jeff Jones for the killer interior."