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3 Projects For Under $2,500

'79 Little Red

This is the 1st of three vehicles we found that are currently on the market for $2,500 or less! This 1979 Dodge Lil’ Red Express project can be found here on craigslist in St. Louis, Missouri for $2,400 firm or for partial trade. The factory chrome valve covers, air cleaners and exhaust stacks are included. The 360 V8 and transmission are in the truck too, but everything needs a total restoration. There are lots of extra parts included though.

'78 GP

Next up is this 1978 Pontiac Grand Prix project for $500 found listed here on craigslist. The Grand Prix has the transmission and exhaust in the car, but you’ll need to source an engine…

'76 TR7

Up next for your consideration is a 1976 Triumph TR7 project.  Listed here on craiglist is this TR7 titled car for $650.  This car needs a total restoration or can be used for parts.  The seller will not part out and is not taking any trades.

'76 TR7 engine

The car has been parked for years and has not been run.  The hood is bent and the floor boards appear, as per the seller, not to be rusted through.

'76 TR 7 dash

None of these would be easy, but is there a project here that you might want?



  1. jim s

    i would go with the truck. it has a frame so if it is good the rest are just bolt on parts. comes with a lot of extra parts. i would make it safe, convert to manual trans, not fix the dents, and then put the truck back to work. i would sell off the unneeded parts/body panels.

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  2. Marty Member

    Weren’t these Lil Red Express trucks bringing big bucks not long ago?

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  3. PeteL

    I am with Jim, take the truck and run. The others, flee quickly! And understand I own two Triumphs.

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  4. Howard A Member

    The truck is indeed the best of the bunch. Not highly collectible, but it showed what car makers would do to make trucks appealing. Being an old trucker, I always liked the “twin chimneys”. Pontiac, not bad cars, but just a shell of the former glory of what a Grand Prix used to be, and the Triumph, IDK, even as a parts car, who in the world would be restoring one anyway? I guess the TR-7 wasn’t a terrible car, just a little too far out there for most Triumph followers, especially since the memory of a TR-6 was so recent. ( I kind of figured the handwriting was on the wall for Triumph and remember thinking, THIS is what replaced the TR-6?)

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  5. MountainMan

    I agree….the truck for sure. The Pontiac would be a good start for a 1/4 or 1/8 mi project on a budget. The TR is all there it seems so maybe a good for a parts car for somebody who has TR7’s or maybe even a chumpcar or le mons project? The lil Red Express is a truck after all so it can be brought back to being a driver and be useful while continuing to improve the cosmetics.

    Oh, while I’m thinking of it, so nice to see the recent quantity of features while continuing the fine level of quality. I like this idea of the triple play writeup too….good job !

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  6. Mark S

    Trucks are a lot easier to restore than cars, these little red express trucks are kind of cool in my books that’s the one I’d take it would make a good father son project and a good first vehicle for the son when completed. Great way to introduce him into the hobby. The same could be said for the Grand Prix however yet again the lazy seller takes four crapy pic’s and expects you to be interested. Why would you even go look at a car like that. The Tr7, if the Triumph guys don’t want it why would you restore it. I suppose that at some point there will be so few left that they my catch on. But nicer ones will be around. I’m not that knowledgable on these British cars is the drive line worth taking for something else?

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    • Howard A Member

      Hi Mark, apparently, Wiki claims this motor was used in the Saab 99’s ( if that tells you anything) It was half of the Triumph Stag V-8 motor. At least it had a timing chain ( instead of a belt) I believe it was a pretty good motor.( aside from water pump issues that were resolved)

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      • Mark S

        Hi Howard so in your opinion is this motor and drive train worth saving.

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  7. OhU8one2

    The Triumph for sure. Then I’d do the old engine swap,drop in a built 4.6 litre Rover V8. Upgrade the brakes,install a stronger rear diff,put a Rover manual trans from Defender 90. This thing would flat fly. If I could get past emissions testing,then I would have David Nelson build the motor for me. Don’t know David? He won Hot Rod Magazine engine building contest a few year’s back. His work is second to none. Now everyone,let’s go find some sucker’s to race.

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    • Michael Rogers Member

      —and the alloy BOP slides right in along with the 302, What was a ‘shocking’ body style then is nice today
      Kastner won his class at the ARRC, a world wide runoff in one with the 2 litre and V8,I think!

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    I would pass on all three. The truck hands down would be the best of the three. I believe the asking price vs. condition though would not be worth it. You would be better off buying a nice one for a little more. The grill would be the tough item to locate and parts geeks know that the twin stacked headlights were an option for Dodge trucks in 1979 but standard on the ‘Lil Red. Expensive! Hopefully it has the OEM dual snorkle aircleaner with chrome lid and hose w/plastic brackets that snap in the radiator support. Those are a tough find. Bucket seats were an option as was a tach. The later versions did not get the Tough wheel. Chrysler was going broke. This period was the 11th hour of Chrysler was almost bankrupt. If one would insist on a ‘Lil Red the 78 would be the better choice. It is true that someone at Dodge was paying attention. There was a loophole in the law that trucks did not require a cat converter. In 79 however the law caught up. An excuse to have a truck to fix up and use around the house? Come on. First do you really think after you restored the truck and polished and clear coated the wood in the bed you would haul anything? No then there is the limited volume of space in the stepside bed. Would not like the 10-12 MPG despite what we assume is cheap fuel prices now. Next three choices please!

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  9. Rex Kahrs Rex Kahrs Member

    Lil Red Truck for sure! I saw a young guy (under 30) at a car show this past summer with one of these that he’d restored with his Dad, and it was really awesome. Now, back in ’79, I thought these were kinda geeky, but here again, like with the orange Hornet, time improves my perspective and I’m able to appreciate the wood, decals, and 340 that made this a pretty cool truck.

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  10. Dan the Man

    The truck for sure!! The other two are more “money pits” than anything!!!

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