HomePick of the DayDodge Lil’ Red Express Truck with unique style and performance

Dodge Lil’ Red Express Truck with unique style and performance


The Lil’ Red Express Truck was a short-bed pickup model built by Dodge to perk up its offerings during the performance doldrums of the 1970s.  Offered in limited numbers for just two years, 1978 and 1979, Lil’ Red was a unique effort to build a factory hot rod that would stand out in a crowd. And that it did.

The Pick of the Day is a 1978 Dodge Lil’ Red Express Truck in “very nice, super-original” condition with just 32,369 miles showing on the odometer, according to the Springfield, Massachusetts, dealer advertising the truck on ClassicCars.com.

DodgeMaybe a bit too perky for the more-macho truck drivers, but the pickup did feature performance components that both looked super cool, such as the vertical twin exhaust stacks, and provided muscular horsepower.

For the 1978 year only, Dodge took advantage of a loophole in the emissions laws that allowed the truck to run without a catalytic converter, thus permitting a high-performance 360 cid police-cruiser V8 that produces 225 horsepower at 3,800 rpm.  Also standard were Hemi-style mufflers, a special 727 automatic transmission and a 3.55:1 ratio rear.

The seller notes that the Express Trucks were reportedly the fastest production vehicles at the time from 0 to 100, even besting Corvette.  There were 2,188 produced for 1978.

DodgeThe 1979 trucks were saddled with catalytic converters that slightly lowered the performance, but they were still hot sellers, with 5,118 produced.

There’s nothing subtle about these rambunctious machines, with the name emblazoned on the doors in gold paint, wood inserts on the bed, chrome wheels and those audacious  exhaust stacks.   Lil’ Red Express Trucks were built to be fun to drive and to be seen driving, rather than carry loads to the worksite.

This pickup seems like a rare survivor in good original shape and with such low mileage.

Dodge“It has all of its original components intact and is completely rust free,” according to the seller. “The wood components appear to be original and are in great condition. The truck started its life in California and moved to PA in 2012. It appears to have always been garage kept and well-maintained. It runs and drives well.”

The asking price is $24,990.

To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.

Bob Golfen
Bob Golfen
Bob Golfen is a longtime automotive writer and editor, focusing on new vehicles, collector cars, car culture and the automotive lifestyle. He is the former automotive writer and editor for The Arizona Republic and SPEED.com, the website for the SPEED motorsports channel. He has written free-lance articles for a number of publications, including Autoweek, The New York Times and Barrett-Jackson auction catalogs. A collector car enthusiast with a wide range of knowledge about the old cars that we all love and desire, Bob enjoys tinkering with archaic machinery. His current obsession is a 1962 Porsche 356 Super coupe.


  1. What I remember most about the Lil Red Express was back at Watkins Glen NASCAR in the 80s. In those days we had to line up on the public road before the track opened. We came a day early and the line was long. There was a little Red Express trucked in front on us. After 24 hours of waiting, the line started to move into the track. The poor guy in the Express was sound asleep. All the horns did not wake him . Hope he got a spot on the fence.

    • In 78/79 Dodge and Plymouth offered the Police package on the Aspen and Volari which included a 360 PI engine and 727 trans in addition to the Plymouth Fury that came with the 440 PI engine and 727 trans. I believe that even the 400 was an option in the Police cars of that time period.

  2. This was my first vehicle I ever owned and to this day, I wish I still had it! The only reason why I sold it back in 1982 was because I was filling it up every 3 days with gas (I worked at my fathers Service Station at the time and “charged” my gas then. I would pay up on Pay day) and i was owing HIM money after all was said and done!

    BUT, I do wish i had that truck today!!!! It would be worth a fortune today compared to what I had paid for it!


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