Clean, simple, and bright, Nick Vandehey's DakotaLex is an understated but detailed ride.
When Venus drifted ashore in Botticelli's famous renaissance painting, the painter should have colored the seashell she perched upon with Lexus' Alpine Pearl White. That's the color of Nick Vandehey's '99 Dakota streaked with a five-color fade from silver-to-gray flames with blue tips. The Dodge glows like foaming surf and mother of pearl. Mini-truck styling and Lexus class inspire the name DakotaLex.
The goddess of love often disarmed Mars with her charms, and once again, love conquered all as the truck's stock war-god-red body was transformed into white. Insane Flames in Azusa, California, applied PPG paint for the flames. Nick smoothed the Dakota's exterior by shaving the front side and hood emblems, antenna, tailgate handle, gas tank door (which was moved to the bed), and roll pan. Rather than shave the door handles, he had Insane Flames paint them the same color as the rest of the exterior, along with the windshield cowl, wiper arms, driprails, and mirrors. Matrix Euroclear headlights and taillights lend their translucent brilliance to the body's style. Keeping a lid on the battery and 22-gallon gas tank is a Slim Top tonneau for the bed.
Inside the Dakota, the carpet's matching gray provides the foundation to the gray and white contours of the stitched-in flames on the seats and headliner. A painted dash bezel and upper and lower console frame an array of billet accessories that include the rearview mirror, instrument bezel, doorsills, and pedals. Audio Innovations in Glendora, California, is responsible for the upholstery job and a cool mobile entertainment system. Heading up the system is a Pioneer AVH-P6500DVD with a 6-1/2-inch monitor. It feeds a Precision Power PAR-245 parametric equalizer and preamp, a 2,200Wx2 HK-802SX subwoofer amplifier from Precision Power, and two 250Wx2 Rockford Fosgate Punch 250A2 amps for the speakers. From there, the signal drives two Rockford Fosgate 12-inch Punch HX2 RFD2215 subwoofers and Alpine DD Drive components speakers. A Sony PlayStation offers alternative video entertainment. For power management, there is an MA Audio 1.5-farad capacitor, and Stinger products wire the system together. Vandehey also replaced all interior and exterior lights with bright LEDs.
The wheels gracing this Dakota come from Dolce - four DC-6 22x9.5-inch rims are rolled in P265/35R22 Pirelli Scorpion tires. Pro Dezignz (where Vandehey is an employee, and appropriately, the installer for this project) installed an Air Ride Air4Link reverse-triangulated four-link 2600 Firestone airbag system in front and 2500 models in the rear, then added nitrogen-charged and chromed Porsche shocks, Parker valves, and 1/2-inch lines in the front and rear. The overall 16-1/2-inch drop is facilitated by a rear step notch, a bridge notch, and a front C-notch for the sway bar. Under the hood, the Dakota's 5.2L V-8 powerplant is boosted by a K&N intake system, a JET chip, and for better exhaling ability, a Flowmaster two-chamber dual exhaust. All in all, the package delivers 280 hp and 285 lb-ft of torque for a top speed of 122 mph.
With the truck's simplicity of design and attention to detail, there are no awkward platypus looks here. Inside and out, the truck bears a classical appeal with a poise that would catch the eye of Venuses anywhere.