Just watch, these cool pickups are going to be the next big thing.
In 1979, this Dodge Lil' Red Express truck was about as close as
you were going to get to a real muscle car, and I doubt we'll ever
get an OEM building a truck with chrome stacks, wood paneling, and
this much personality.
The name says it all: Lil' Red Express. It's a red pickup, neatly dressed up to look a little vintage, what with the wood paneling on the bed and the big gold logo on the doors. It was the '70s so anything was possible, and in an era with giant screaming birds on the hood, this is a real standout. It was repainted around 2009 in a correct shade of bright red and a recent professional buff really brought out the shine, giving it a fantastic look. There's already a movement afoot to preserve and celebrate these trucks, so they didn't modify or change any of the details; why would you on something that's already so custom-looking? It hasn't been damaged or rusty, so the repaint simply erased several decades of use, and although certainly not perfect, today it looks just as eye-catching as it did when it first hit the streets. That's real oak in the bed and outside on the sides, although it's not structural, merely decorative, and all of it remains in great shape, too. There's also plenty of chrome, including the aforementioned exhaust stacks, plus a heavy-duty rear bumper and a grille with stacked headlights that were new for 1979.
You had a surprising number of choices inside, with this truck getting the best combination: black bucket seats with a third jump seat in between that doubles as a console. The Express was loaded and was the most expensive truck in Chrysler showrooms in 1979, and this one includes fully functional A/C that still uses R12 refrigerant inside. The interior is probably original, so it's showing its age, but there are no splits or tears in the upholstery and a set of contrasting red floor mats protect the carpets today. You do get a fairly comprehensive set of gauges as well as an AM/FM radio that still sounds pretty good. A few flashes of red inside give it a sporty demeanor and keep it from seeming too serious and you'll probably find it's easy to get comfortable in this 37-year-old hauler.
There was plenty of muscle on tap when you bought a Lil' Red Express, thanks to a strong-running 360 that was not necessarily burdened by the same pollution controls that strangled the muscle cars. The 360 cubic inch V8 was upgraded by the factory with a cam from a 1968 340, heavy-duty valve train, a police-spec intake manifold and 4-barrel air cleaner, and a full roller timing chain. It's still quite stock, but the performance sill surprise you, even today. The chrome dual snorkel air cleaner was also part of the package, and it's dressed pretty much the way the factory did it, right down to the original decal on the lid. It's tidy and shows signs of routine maintenance, but no modifications, which suggests it's always been treated well. A heavy-duty TorqueFlite 3-speed automatic was the only transmission available, and it spins 3.55 gears out back, so it feels punchy around town but cruises easily on the highway. Obviously dual exhaust was standard, and this truck also carries dual gas tanks for bladder-bursting mileage. Cool aluminum wheels with fat 275/60/15 Goodyears complete the ideal '70s look.
Lots of fun and sure to be a hotter collectable once everyone gets their Trans Am fix, this Dodge Lil' Red Express is ready to play. Call now!