Meet the World’s First Hellcat-powered Dodge Dakota

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Hellcat-Powered Dodge Dakota High Front

Instagrammer’s Dodge pickup has lived an exciting life, now packing more than 700 supercharged horsepower.

The arrival of the Mopar HellCrate engine package, coupled with the availability of Hellcat Hemi engines from wrecked Dodge Challengers and Chargers, has led to a great many Hellcat-swapped vehicles.

Swapping one of the factory-supercharged mills into a classic Mopar muscle car has become a popular option, a Texas dealership has built a Hellcat-powered Ram and there is even a Toyota Prius with the 6.2-liter Hemi, but the Dodge Dakota owned by Instagrammer Greg Snider is one of the coolest Hellcat-swap vehicles we have seen.

While the modern Ram 1500 is an impressive performance vehicle and the SRT-10 Ram 1500 was the most powerful production truck from the Chrysler Group, the second generation Dodge Dakota is arguably the greatest performance pickup from the company. In a time where Ma Mopar offered no muscle car, the regular cab, rear-drive, V8-powered Dakota was the next-best option. With mild modifications, these small trucks could offer big performance and unlike the SRT-10 Ram 1500, the Dakota offered affordable performance.

Greg Snider Dakota Launch

The second generation Dodge Dakota was such a great performance truck that many people still drive, race and love them today and one of those people is Michigan resident Greg Snider. Snider has been building one of the coolest 2g Dakotas since he acquired it in 2009 and most recently, it became the first compact Dodge pickup to pack the factory-supercharged Hellcat Hemi. He calls it the Hellcat Dak.

Hellcat Dak – The Early Days

Greg Snider’s 1998 Dodge Dakota Sport rolled out of the factory with the 5.2-liter Magnum V8 under the hood, sending 225 horsepower towards the 9.25 rear axle by means of a five-speed manual transmission. When Snider purchased the truck from a friend in 2009, it had been upfitted with a Mopar M1 intake, a Magnum R/T cam, and adjustable rockers with some Caltracs traction bars out back.

Snider Dakota EArly

In other words,this 1998 Dakota Sport would have been a little stronger and a little quicker than it was in stock form when Snider purchased it, but he wasn’t happy with that naturally aspirated output. He added a Kenne Bell supercharger and began enjoying the bigger power until that boosted 318 broke the stock transmission while running in the low 13-second range.

Snider Dakota Blown 318

When the truck broke the stock transmission, Snider envisioned building a 419-cubic inch stroker from a 6.1-liter Hemi, but when Mopar introduced the components to easily install the then-new 392 crate engine in project vehicles, he sold the stroked 6.1-liter Hemi and purchased a low-mileage 6.4-liter Hemi that had been pulled out of a Charger or Challenger.

After doing all of the work to make the 392 fit in the engine bay of the Dakota, he spent the 2017 season racing with that engine, including several strong runs at the Roadkill Nights by Dodge event in Detroit.

Snider Dakota 392

Although the 392 in Snider Dakota had headers and a free-flowing air intake setup, he ran the engine on the stock tune and made solid power, running a best time of 12.58 at 111 miles per hour.

Snider Dakota 392 at Roadkill

That time was achieved with street tires and a struggling clutch setup, yielding a 2.0-second 60-foot time. While it was quick, good tires and a better clutch setup would have certainly led to better track times, but before Snider got that far with his 392-powered Dakota, he decided to make another big change.

Snider Dakota 392 Launch

He wanted to replace the 392 with the Hellcat Hemi. 

Meet the World’s First Hellcat-powered Dodge Dakota continued…

"Before I was old enough to walk, my dad was taking me to various types of racing events, from local drag racing to the Daytona 500," says Patrick Rall, a lifetime automotive expert, diehard Dodge fan, and respected auto journalist for over 10 years. "He owned a repair shop and had a variety of performance cars when I was young, but by the time I was 16, he was ready to build me my first drag car – a 1983 Dodge Mirada that ran low 12s. I spent 10 years traveling around the country, racing with my dad by my side. While we live in different areas of the country, my dad still drag races at 80 years old in the car that he built when I was 16 while I race other vehicles, including my 2017 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat and my 1972 Dodge Demon 340.

"Although I went to college for accounting, my time in my dad’s shop growing up allowed me the knowledge to spend time working as a mechanic before getting my accounting degree, at which point I worked in the office of a dealership group. While I was working in the accounting world, I continued racing and taking pictures of cars at the track. Over time, I began showing off those pictures online and that led to my writing.

"Ten years ago, I left the accounting world to become a full-time automotive writer and I am living proof that if you love what you do, you will never “work” a day in your life," adds Rall, who has clocked in time as an auto mechanic, longtime drag racer and now automotive journalist who contributes to nearly a dozen popular auto websites dedicated to fellow enthusiasts.

"I love covering the automotive industry and everything involved with the job. I was fortunate to turn my love of the automotive world into a hobby that led to an exciting career, with my past of working as a mechanic and as an accountant in the automotive world provides me with a unique perspective of the industry.

"My experience drag racing for more than 20 years coupled with a newfound interest in road racing over the past decade allows me to push performance cars to their limit, while my role as a horse stable manager gives me vast experience towing and hauling with all of the newest trucks on the market today.

"Being based on Detroit," says Rall, "I never miss the North American International Auto Show, the Woodward Dream Cruise and Roadkill Nights, along with spending plenty of time raising hell on Detroit's Woodward Avenue with the best muscle car crowd in the world.

Rall can be contacted at [email protected]

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