If You’re a Truck Lover, You Should Know About The Lil' Red Express

Carlos Kirby
Dec 25, 2021 · 4 min read
Us gearheads do have a fascination with classic cars. While we tend to focus on the classic vehicles that celebrities collect, some gems get overlooked. Such is the case with the Lil' Red Express from Dodge
The Lil' Red Express was a major hit in the late 1970s, but for some reason, it seems to have faded from memory. With that in mind, we decided to take a closer look at this high-performance truck from a bygone era. 
Close view of the side of a rusted dodge pickup truck.
If you love classic trucks then you might have heard of the Dodge ‘Lil Red Express.

The Lil' Red Express was unique for its time

In the late 1970s, the US was dealing with an oil crisis that sent gas prices soaring. As such, most carmakers were focused on fuel efficiency above all else. This meant that hot rods and muscle cars were taken out of production. 
The execs at Dodge decided to go in a different direction. While the iconic Charger went on hiatus until the 80s, Dodge wasn't ready to give up on muscle cars altogether. They decided to alter their existing Warlock truck into a decked-out racer. From that, the Lil' Red Express was born.
The Lil' Red Express was designed to stand out from the crowd, and boy was that achieved. True to its name, the Lil' Red Express was only available with Canyon Red paint that paired nicely with gold pinstripes and chrome bumpers. 

Specs of the Lil' Red Express

While the Lil' Red Express was a nice piece of eye candy, it was just as impressive under the hood. According to AutoEvolution, this speedy truck came stock with a 5.6-liter V8 engine that was named "360 Express."
The truck's configuration allowed the Lil' Red Express to produce 225 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. It had a 0-60 mph of 6.7 seconds, giving it one of the best acceleration times for cars of that era. However, it was a rear-wheel-drive truck. While speedy, you wouldn't want to take it four-wheeling or get caught in the snow with it. 
It was expensive for its time, costing about $7,000, or about $29,370 in today's money. Nonetheless, Lil' Red Express was a smash hit with gearheads. Given that there were so few speed demons available on the market, all 2,188 units were sold in its debut year in 1978. Dodge decided to continue the vehicle for one more year, selling 5,188 in 1979. 

Can you buy this classic truck today?

The good news is that a Lil' Red Express will be cheap by classic car standards. Per Autoevolution, they sell for about $25,000. The hard part is finding one. Of the roughly 7,376 that were produced, it is estimated that less than half survived to the present. 
The Lil' Red is truly a historic car. In a time when most muscle cars were out of production, Dodge decided to roll the dice on producing a muscle truck. The little truck that could was the inspiration point for today's performance truck market. 

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