5k: Pickups Gone Wild: 1979 Dodge Lil’ Red Express Truck

 Dontcha just hate it when people take perfectly good cars/trucks and cover them in gaudy paint, questionable aftermarket chrome, and corny graphics?  Yeah, me too…wait…who did what? You say this was done by the factory?  In that case, honey, cash out our 401k, this thing is awesome.  Find this 1979 Dodge Lil’ Red Express Truck offered for $7,500 in Clarinda, IA via craigslist.  Tip from Andy L.

Fresh on the heels of the success with their factory hot rod Dodge Warlock pickup, Chrysler management green-lighted the release of the ’78-79 Dodge Lil’ Red Express.  It is clear that a gear-head of some kind was in charge of the project, because it combined the truck exemption from catalysts with a 360 cubic inch V8 to produce serious performance for the day…and it looked ridiculous awesome.  Contemporary magazines pointed out that from 0-100mph the Lil’ Red Express was faster than any domestic automobile…including the Corvette.  Perhaps Prince was singing “little red express, baby your much too fast” in his 1983 hit album titled 1999, but I still think I hear “pay the rent collect, bebe yer much too bad.” (Lady Mondegreen would be proud, right Kaibeezy!)

The 360 cubic inch LA V8 was rated at 225 SAE net horsepower (this would be equivalent to a 300ish rating from a pre-1973 SAE gross rating) at 3800 rpm and 295 ft-lbs of torque.  The Lil Red Express added a 727 Loadflight automatic transmission and a 3.55:1 rear axle for a great launch and decent top end performance.  The dual exhaust with vertical stack-pipes and assorted accoutrements add up to a feast for the 70s fanatic.

A quick search for other Lil’ Red Expressions for sale finds some nutter who has amassed a collection of six of these things (out of the 7,000 produced).  Find the half dozen here on hemmings offered for an undisclosed price.

See a better custom factory classic for cheap? tips@dailyturismo.com