1978 Dodge Lil Red Express Truck

Back in March 1978, one of the most unusual trucks ever made was released by Chrysler's Dodge division. Called the Lil' Red Express Truck, this vehicle offered unique styling and unmatched performance.  In fact, in 1978, the Dodge Lil' Red Express was the fastest American-made vehicle from 0 to 100 MPH as tested by Car and Driver magazine. Yes, this included the Corvette and all the other powerful muscle cars; the Lil' Red Express Truck beat every single one.

Lil' Red Express Truck details

The Little Red Truck was built on the Dodge's short-wheelbase (115 inch) Utiline-style half-ton D150 frame with a 6,050 pound gross vehicle weight. What made it go so fast was the engine that Dodge installed. It was the E58-specification police engine equipped with SuperFlow heads, a police cam (252° duration with 33° of overlap), dual-snorkel air intake, heavy duty valve springs and cold air induction. A special modified A-727 transmission with a 2500 rpm stall converter drove a 3.55 Sure Grip rear axle assembly.

The package also included Hemi style free-flow mufflers with a crossover pipe breathing through 2 x 2.5" monster chrome stacks jutting up the sides of the truck. According to Pearson of Richmond, VA, a full-service Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram dealer, one of the reasons the Lil' Red Express Truck was so fast was because of a loophole in the regulations.  It did not have to have any restrictive catalytic converters in the exhaust pathway like passenger cars did.

Outrageous Styling

For styling, it was quite ostentatious. A fire engine red paint scheme with large graphics embellished the cab doors. On the front, the Dodge Lil' Red Express Truck rode on GR60x15 raised white letter tires with 7-inch Chrome wheels and LR60x15 on 8-inch chrome wheels on the rear. The interiors were available with a standard bench seat in red or black or with optional buckets, and a fold down arm/rest console was also available as an option.

The Dodge Lil' Red Express Truck was quite unique yet sold just 2,188 in 1978. Nonetheless, for a while it gave its owners a taste of the raw power of the fastest factory vehicle in America.

1978 Lil' Red Express Truck

With the success of the 1978 Dodge Lil' Red Express Truck production of the 1979 Dodge Lil' Red Express Truck's was increased to 5,118. Most of the features remained unchanged for 1979 however there were some changes which included a catalytic converter, the ability to use unleaded gas, and a more restrained 85 MPH speedometer.

The most noticeable styling changes on the 1979 editions was the new flat hood and dual square headlights replacing the round versions on 1978 Dodge Lil' Red Express Truck's and the 1979's rode on LR60x15 raised white letter tires on 8-inch chrome wheels on all 4 corners.

Today nice examples of the Dodge Lil' Red Express Truck can be purchased in the $10K to $15K range.

Image Source: blog.dodge.com