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DO NOT FEED THE TROLLS!
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I'm not familiar with the techncial details of the swap. How much modification to the body is necessary to put it on to the Dakota frame? How will it sit/ride compared to now?

For me, if the car doesn't have to be cut up too badly, if it'll ride at an appropriate height, and if it means getting all of the safety features like better suspension, better brakes, and all of the goodies that come with 40-50 years of revisions, then I'd consider the new frame/engine/etc. Heck, if the 4wd Dakota would still ride at the right height, with having CV shafts and independent front suspension, you possibly could build an AWD car if you can work out the transfer case issues for full-time...

If it requires extensive cutting or simply won't look quite right when done then I'd probably keep most of the underpinnings.
 
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