Halloween Comes Early: 1979 Dodge Warlock II Pickup

By Jeff Bennett

Don’t you get mad when a car manufacturer names a new vehicle some inexplicable combination of numbers and/or letters?  What do all those letters and numbers mean, and do they mean anything to the purchaser?  Cars should have names.  Real names that mean something too, not like some stupid sounding name made up by the nerds in the marketing department.  Dodge is beginning to see the light again with their new Demon.  That name means something, especially on a car that has that much horsepower.  In the seventies, Dodge had this naming stuff down pat.  Looking for a niche, they created the Adult Toy Program (Oh, the places we could go with that name!) for the misfits at Dodge who wanted to create special edition trucks.  One of these special edition trucks you have heard of: the Little Red Express.  However, there is one that didn’t see the sales success of the Little Red Express, but is infinitely cooler.  For sale in historic Ringgold, Georgia is this 1979 Dodge Warlock II pickup.  Found on Craigslist, this cool, darker version of the traditional step side Dodge pickup can be had for just $8200.

A Warlock, for those of you who are too heavenly for such terminology, is a male practitioner of evil magic.  To make the Dodge Warlock, the designers started with a short bed step side Dodge pickup, added a chrome rear bumper, special eight spoke gold wheels with black pinstripes, oak bed sides emblazoned with the word “Warlock,” gold pin striping to accent the body lines, door panels, and dash, and bucket seats.  You could have one in black, red, orange, or green.  Black was both the most obvious and most popular choice.  While the Little Red Express was only sold from 1978 through 1979, the Warlock was offered from 1976 through 1979.  The 1979 models, for some reason, were sold as Warlock IIs, but there were no major differences between these and earlier trucks other than exchanging the black wheels for chrome ones and Warlock II badging on the tailgate.

The owner of this particular Warlock II has kept the truck in fairly good condition for its age.  He claims that it has traveled just 80,000 miles, and that it still has its original paint.  While the paint is pretty much toast, with little shine and a lot of fading on the hood, at least the pin stripes are still there so the new owner can have them replicated when the truck is repainted.  He has recovered the seats, but I cannot find any documentation verifying that the original pattern and material were used.

Looking below the seats, we see our old friend rust hanging out in the floorboards.  The seller claims that there is a little rust in the floor pans, but this looks like a bit more than little to me.  I also wonder if the vintage Mopar signs are in the floorboards for a reason other than decoration.  Floor pans are available from a few aftermarket suppliers, but the installation by an experienced body man and the required painting and priming won’t be cheap.  Assuming, of course, that the buyer doesn’t try to do it on their own.  Other than the rust, we see that the truck no longer has its carpet, but the dash is in great shape.  It is also an automatic, but I cannot tell if it has air conditioning.

A look at the driver’s side door panel shows the special pin striping that was applied to these trucks.  It is still in good shape, as are the door panels.  The metal at the top of the door shows the corrosive power of perspiration, as it has slowly worked its way through the paint over a number of years.  This does make you believe that this truck didn’t come with air, or that is non-functional.  Georgia summers are pretty hot, especially in a black truck with no floor insulation.  At least these trucks were equipped with vent windows, which direct air to the driver’s face when needed.  They are a feature that needs to make a comeback.

So, what we have here is a rare truck with an awesome name, a few modifications, and a fairly high price.  It does have a 318 cubic inch V-8, and a 727 automatic transmission to back it up.  This is a very reliable combination, but usually a bit thirsty.  The Warlock II is a cool concept from a time where people spent a lot of time and money customizing their vehicles.  It isn’t nearly as well known or common as the Little Red Express Dodge pickups.  When was the last time you saw one?  I’d love to see Dodge come out with a new version, complete with their strongest engine below the Hemi they are putting in the Demon.  We are a more accepting country now as far as sacrilegious names go, and Dodge’s marketing department seems to be just edgy enough to try making a Warlock Pickup again.  Meanwhile, you can still purchase this one to bide the time.  The price may be high, but you can say the devil made you do it.

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Comments

  1. whmracer99

    $8200 price but a $3500 ad. No underneath or engine pics, rough looking floors, no a/c, etc.. From the “all show no go” era of motoring and probably half the HP of the earlier Little Red Express (smog exempt) trucks with the 360 ci motors. Like the looks — just not $8200 worth.

    5+

    • Tom Member

      Maybe he is dyslexic and meant $2800??

      0

  2. Steve

    Didn’t these trucks originally get the hot 360 like the Little Red Express?

    5+

    • The Walrus

      Warlocks, unlike the Li’l Red Express Truck, could be had with any available engine, including the 440, or transmission, including 4-speed stick, as well as with 4WD. You could also get a Warlock with a Sweptline bed. Basically a Li’l Red (and Midnite Express, the black version of Li’l Red) were Warlocks with a specific group of options set by Chrysler. Warlocks were an open book with options left to the customer/dealer.

      3+

  3. AMXSTEVE

    Isn’t this a 78 model, I thought in 79 they switched over to square headlights?

    4+

    • Rabbit

      Looks like a 76 grille. 77 & 78 would have had round headlights with vertical parking lights beside them, toward the inside. 79 should, in fact, have the square lights. I’d post a pic, but I have limited internet at work, where I’m currently goofing off.

      5+

      • The Walrus

        In 79 the 4 rectangular headlights were an option. They were an option into early 80. When the parts for single rounds ran out several weeks into production, all subsequent 80’s had 4 rectangles.

        0

      • The Walrus

        Oh, and that’s a correct 79/80 round headlight grille

        0

  4. John L

    Lots of Lil Red’s around that are well preserved and correct. Seems not to be the case with Warlocks as all or messed with and not at all original. Still on my wish list but originality and correctness a must.

    0

  5. Tricky

    Love my Dodge pickups and I don’t think I will ever sell my ’77 D150 custom…. Just something a bit different and individual to the usual offerings from Ford and GM. I’m in Australia and to my knowledge I have the only ’77 Dodge pickup in the country!!!

    3+

  6. Mark S

    What a great truck, I’m a fan of the dodge line of trucks from the 70’s through the 90’s you couldn’t ask for a more reliable truck at the time, with a lot of technical advance today this example could be made to be more powerfull and fuel efficient but that would depend on how bad you want to beat up your wallet. Good find and I hope it ends up in good hands.

    1+

  7. craig m bryda

    I had a ’77 Warlock, black, black. It had
    a.c. cruise, p .s. p.b. .It came with a 318 which I quickly swapped it out for a ’69 New Yorker 440 . That. Truck flew, unfortunately the bed floor was non existant and the only thing holding the bed on was gravity. I loved that truck and wish I still hsd it . No rust, solid floors

    2+

  8. W9BAG

    The redone interior looks like it was done by a Jr. year high school auto upholstery class.

    0

    • Mark S

      Well they have learn it somewhere.

      2+

  9. Chris H

    LS swap it.

    0

  10. Mr.B

    Love these trucks. I worked at a Dodge dealer from 78-80. When a LRE or Warlock would roll off the trailer, our service manager Cal (he was my dads age) would call me up front and with a sh#t eating grin say “time for a test drive”! He would haul ass down the access road and back with his foot to the floor, screaming “gotta break her in”!! He kept telling me “dont ever grow up”, and i never have! Would love to have one, but its gotta have the stacks!

    1+

  11. erikj

    Where are the Warlock logos?,It has the pinstripe,if orig. ??

    0

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