CarShowz Features

Custom 99 Dodge Dakota Big Blue – SEMA 2017

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Big Blue a custom 1999 Dodge Dakota Sport 4×4 is heading to SEMA 2017, Owner James Dark has a vision and wants to take that vision to a canvas for everyone to see, The SEMA Show 2017. It has always been a dream of James to attend the Super Bowl of all car shows in Las Vegas, Nevada. What makes this build more challenging is the lack of aftermarket parts that are available today for an older truck.

“Working with a 1999 Dodge Dakota Sport 4×4 dubbed Big Blue is going to be a challenge,” says owner James Dark. “There are not many parts available for my truck and there are very few older model trucks, aside from classics, that attend SEMA.”

James along with his team of sponsors is up for the challenge. Making the trip from the East Coast and getting the truck done in time for its SEMA debut in Nevada is going to be fun but, challenging.

Unlike a brand new pickup off of the show room floor, aftermarket companies are literally producing bolt-ons faster then the trucks are produced. The majority of the parts for James’ truck will be fabricated which is bringing together one hell of a build team to complete this build. is proud to be working with James Dark and Big Blue on this project as James’ media partner and consultant for the build. It is going to be a fun project and and learning experience as there is always something to learn when working on a build of this magnitude.

Page Updates: Track the status of this page here. Check back frequently as we make updates about James’ Big Blue build.

January – March: Generate build proposal for distribution to potential sponsor partners, design and publish build portfolio (this page).

April: Added additional build partners (sponsor list below), updated timeline (timeline calendar below) and build photos (build album /gallery below).

More to come…

To highlight some of the latest build partners, NRG Innovations is giving Big Blue an opportunity to shine by featuring the 99 Dakota in their booth at SEMA in November. By NRG extending this gracious opportunity this has opened up numerous doors for James in getting his truck to SEMA. NRG is enthusiast operated, just like us here at, and if you are not familiar with their products they produce the best quick release steering wheel set-ups around. You can also find other interior and exterior products as well by visiting their website.

Absolute Perfection is based out of Sykesville, Maryland and they run one hell of a vehicle wrap business. Their shop is immaculate and their customer service is top-notch. With over 5,352 wraps under their belt and several large vehicle fleet contracts throughout Maryland, there is no job too small or too big for Absolute Perfection. They are sponsoring Big Blue and providing a full vehicle wrap which is also competing in the SEMA vehicle wrap competition for SEMA 2017.

Bent Just Right is located in Fallston, Maryland and they will be providing Big Blue with a custom exhaust. The truck has to sound right and will have the nice added touch of a custom fabricated exhaust which is always a nice addition to any build, especially for SEMA.

DB Power Coating is located in Glen Burnie, Maryland and Danny Breach is just as big as an enthusiast as we are. He is always out and about at events and supporting the local scene and seeing his work is always a pleasure. Danny has supported Big Blue for awhile now and has completed a ton of custom powder coated parts throughout the build.

Winch Ready Bumpers is located in Redding, California and if you want your truck to look mean but have a functional bumper, Winch Ready Bumpers is the place to go. Winch Ready Bumpers is one of Big Blue’s original sponsors.

Tool Maker Metal Workz is providing custom battery tie-downs for Big Blue and will be a nice added touch of attention to detail to this build.

Spark Smith Auto is based out of North Carolina and specializes in custom lighting needs for your vehicle. Spark Smith is working on a full custom headlight and taillight housing for Big Blue. We are excited to see the finished product.

SS Designs is located in Maryland and specializes in 12 volt installations and full custom interior design and installation. SS Designs will be completely redoing the interior of Big Blue and adding some modern touches.

Bullet Liner is located in Rockville, Maryland and will be giving Big Blue that finished but, functional flavor in the bed of the truck.

XS Power Batteries is one of Big Blues original sponsors and has supplied batteries for the truck for a long time now. Having them on board and knowing Big Blue has reliable batteries to handle all of the trucks 12 volt needs is important, especially when traveling to the other side of the country.

Corbeau seats definitely comes in handy when you have a big guy like James cruising around sitting on your all day. In all seriousness, a good quality and durable product is important when completing a truck build and supplying comfortable seats is what Corbeau has done.

Cyberdyne gauges is a nice added touch to the custom gauge cluster of the Big Blue build. Accent lighting and giving the interior that upgraded modernized feel all but subtle look of upgraded gauges.

To bring all of this together Downtime Designs was hired to complete the build rendering for Big Blue. It is important to capture James’ vision and put together a build visual in order to secure potential sponsors. It is also a nice motivational piece to keep marching with getting the build completed for SEMA.

For more information about the build partners and to check out their products, check out the build partner list and website links below. We thank them for the support and dedication to this project. Stay tuned as we roll out features and product announcements from our build partners.

To continue to follow this build, tune in here at: for more to come on James’ build as we continue to upload updated photos and videos of the build progress and journey to SEMA.

James Dark Interview

Take a glimpse into the mind of James Dark, the passion and inspiration behind his SEMA build and his vision he has for his 1999 Dodge Dakota, Big Blue.

Video Length: 3:34

Big Blue SEMA Build 2017

The Theme – Baja Recovery Truck

The desired theme for this build is a Baja Recovery Vehicle. Given SEMA is in the 4×4 capital of the world and hosted in the desert, sunny Las Vegas Nevada, James’ build should be a nice addition to the SEMA custom builds and fit in perfectly with the environment.

Current (Product) Build Partners:

Big Blue Build Plan and Highlights:

  • Baja body conversion | New custom wrap | Rear tire carrier with lighting | Swing arm cases | 4X4 Recovery Equipment | Pace Edwards electric bed cover | New audio install | New interior | 20×12 wheels | 38” tires | Retro fit headlights and taillights

Owner Profile – James Dark

James Dark is actively involved in the custom aftermarket scene and has over 14 years of experience managing events, a Baltimore car club and his 1999 Dodge Dakota Sport 4×4 build. The truck has progressed over the years and has won several trophies.

James is looking to be an ambassador for aftermarket truck companies and represent your product by showcasing his Big Blue build at the 2017 SEMA Show. The partnership and representation will extend beyond the 2017 SEMA Show and into the 2018 show season by participating and competing at regional automotive events.

James Dark’s Proposal Letter:


Thank you for taking the time to review this proposal for sponsorship.  I have been involved in custom builds for many years, and this vehicle is my current project.  I actively participate in the Mid-Atlantic car show scene, and have done so since 2002.  Hosting local events, participating in community benefit venues, and feature displays throughout the MD/DC/PA/VA/NJ area, are all frequent activities for me throughout the show season. As time goes on, scenes and styles change, however, my passion for custom vehicles still thrives. I place top of my class / best of show in nearly every event I attend, but, ultimately find the most enjoyment from talking with people about the truck, the products that I have used, and the thousands of hours of fabrication that have been done throughout the years. Although the truck is well received in the show scene, I believe it is time for an updated build.  The goal is SEMA 2017.  I actively support all of my sponsors, and have various local shops on-board for the new build.

All sponsors on board for the new build will be represented all throughout the 2018 show season with their logos displayed on the truck as well as tagged in Facebook, Instagram and various of social media posts. Online media coverage on the build as well as the involved sponsors will be provided by including products reviews, videos and substantial exposure. Not only will this build be for myself, but everyone involved. Bringing the right people together on a project to bring a vision to life is a great experience and can provide long time friendships and connections. Making that connection is key.

Again, thank you for your interest in this build, and I look forward to working with you over the coming months.  If you have any further questions, please contact me anytime.

Build Timeline

January 2017

  • Source Parts from Sponsors and Vendors
  • Partner with local shops for installation

February 2017

  • Design build vehicle rendering
  • Announce SEMA build at Motor Trend International Auto Show Baltimore

March 2017

  • Start body work

April / May 2017

  • Dump Bed version 2.0
  • Wide body work
  • Frame paint
  • Skid Plate

June 2017

  • Continue wide body work
  • Bedliner
  • Retro fits
  • Bed Rack

July / August 2017

  • Interior
  • Audio

September 2017

  • Vehicle wrap
  • Wheel / Tire package

October 2017

  • Finishing touches
  • Prepare for cross-country trip from Maryland to Vegas

November 2017

Updated Build Photos

James is well on his way to building his SEMA dream build. Lots of long hours working in the garage and continuing to network with businesses and a ton of help from family and friends to make this build happen. Check out some progress photos below as this build unravels.

Build Videos

Coming soon…

Truck History (2001-2016)

Below you will find the portfolio of James Dark 1999 Dodge Dakota Sport 4×4, prior to the SEMA makeover. This truck has progressed tremendously over the years with the help of great partners and sponsors.



  • 5.2L V8 318
  • ATI Procharger
  • Stainless Braided Oil Feed Line
  • Aluminum Plenum & Piping
  • Aluminum Radiator (Fabricated Mount)
  • Aluminum Overflow Tank (Fabricated Mount)
  • Ross Machine Racing Fuel Rails
  • Stainless Braided Fuel Lines
  • Walbro 255 In-Line Fuel Pump
  • Bosch 42lb Injectors
  • Aeromotive Fuel Pressure Regulator
  • Powdercoated RCI 19 Gallon Fuel Cell (Fabricated Mount)
  • Powdercoated M1 Mopar Intake Manifold, Valve Covers, Throttle Body, Pulleys
  • Tial 50mm BOV
  • 180 Degree T-Stat
  • Taylor 8mm Wires
  • 3300cfm Electric Fan (Fabricated Mount)
  • MSD Ignition System
  • Excessive Amperage 250amp Alternator
  • Cyberdyne Digital Boost Gauge
  • Innovate LC1 LC-1 Wideband
  • SCT Blower Custom Tune Programmer
  • Mopar Performance PCM
  • Stainless Headers
  • Custom True Dual Exhaust
  • 2 XS Power Batteries
  • Drag Cut Off Switch
  • Remote Battery Jumper Terminals
  • Digital Voltmeter


  • Cervinis Sniper Hood (ram-air) w/inserts
  • Cervinis Sniper Grille w/inserts – Flat Black
  • Suicided Hood with Custom Fabrication and Powdercoat
  • Aerocatch Hood Pins
  • Smoothed Wiper Cowl
  • Winch Ready Stealth Bumper w’ Light Bar and Fog Lights
  • Diamond Euro Headlights
  • Diamond Euro Clear Corners
  • Xenon Headlight Bulbs
  • Truckin Suspension Skid Plate – Candy Blue
  • Painted Side View Mirrors
  • Pace Edwards Jackrabbit Bed Cover
  • Candied Taillights
  • Xenon Roll Pan
  • Rear Color Backup Camera
  • Shaved Antenna, Emblems, Door Handles, Third Brake Light
  • AVS Shaved Door Kit
  • Full Custom Paint Job
  • Custom Airbrush House of Kolor Paint


  • Cyberdyne Digital Gauge Cluster
  • Reupholstered Headliner
  • Corbeau Black Baja RS Racing Seats w “A” Harness
  • Powdercoated Harness Bar
  • Embossed Flame
  • Door Panel Fillers
  • Fiberglassed Dash, Dash Bezel, Center Console, Sill Plates, Kick Panels, Floor Console
    w/ 2 Airline Gauges, A-Pillars w/ 4” Speaker Pods, B-Pillars, C-Pillars w/ 4” Speaker Pods, Door Panels w/ Speaker Pods and Monitor Enclosure
  • Billet 4X4 Pedals
  • NRG Offroad Steering Wheel w’ Quick Disconnect

Suspension & Wheels:

  • 6.5” Truckin Suspension Lift & Custom Fabrication – Powdercoated Blue
  • 3” Performance Accessories Body Lift
  • 37-12.50-20 Super Swamper SSRs
  • 20X10 KMC XD Rockstars – Custom Drilled
  • Powdercoated Leaf Springs, Blocks, U-Bolts, Sway Bar & Diff Cover
  • 4.56 Performance Gears (front & rear)
  • Edelbrock Remote Reservoir Shocks
  • Gap guards
  • Drill and Slotted Rotors
  • Rear Disc Brake Conversion
  • Stainless Steel Brake Lines

In Car Entertainment:

  • Clarion VRX935VD In-dash TV/DVD
  • 2 14” Megavision Monitors in Door panels
  • Alphasonik 2 Channel 3000 Watt RMS Amplifier
  • Alphasonik 4 Channel 600 Watt RMS Amplifier
  • Alphasonik 2 Channel 400 Watt RMS Amplifier
  • In-Dash Voltmeter and Bass Boost Gauge
  • 4 12” Alphasonik Subwoofers
  • 4 Alphasonik Tweeters
  • 4 6.5” Alphasonik Speakers
  • 4 4” Alphasonik Speakers in A-Pillars & B-Pillars
  • Full Custom Sub Enclosure w/ Amp Rack

Past Accolades

Media Features

  • (Upcoming Feature Write-up – advertising, brand recognition – over 33 million site visits for 2016)
  • Truckin Magazine – Volume 35, No. 9
  • Truckin Magazine – Volume 35, No. 5
  • Washington Examiner – February 6, 2008
  • Motortrend International Auto Show Feature Display Baltimore – 2006-2012 (100K+ spectators)
  • Motortrend International Auto Show Feature Display Richmond – 2008 (100K+ spectators)
  • Various Local Show Advertisements, Booth Features, etc.


  • Imports vs Domestics at MIR / Best of Show Truck
  • Creatures of the Night / 1st Place
  • Laws of Physics / Best Interior
  • OC Car & Truck Show / Best of Show Truck
  • OC Car & Truck Show / 1st Place
  • Carlisle All Truck Nationals / 1st Place
  • Imports VS Domestics at MIR / 1st Place
  • East Coast Nationals / 1st Place
  • Low Rollers End Of Summer Bash / Top
  • World Of Wheels Baltimore / 1st Place
  • NOPI National at MIR / 1st Place
  • Ocean City Hot Rod Show / 1st Place
  • Carlisle Performance and Style / 2nd Place
  • Carlisle All Chrysler Nationals / 1st Place
  • Tuner Evolution / 3rd Place
  • Carlisle All Truck Invitational / Display
  • Many other local and regional awards throughout the year

1999 Dodge Dakota Past Photos “Big Blue”

Big Blue More Info

To become a part of this build, contact directly by filling out our contact form here or reach out to James Dark directly at via email: jamesrdark [at sign] gmail [dot] com

Be sure to follow James on Instagram: @dodgebigblue

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