Quick Pickup! 1979 Dodge Li’l Red Express Truck

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With the somewhat dismal state that the auto market was in regarding muscle choices back in the late seventies, it’s almost hard to believe the Li’l Red Express ever existed, and just all the more rebellious that such an offering was in the form of a pickup.  Kudos to Dodge for taking their ordinary truck and coming up with a contraption so unconventional for the period that it seemed to mock most everything the insurance companies and EPA were standing against at the time, and just going in an entirely different direction.  Fast forward more than four decades later and these unusual haulers are few and far between, so if you’re eager to own one this 1979 Dodge Li’l Red Express Truck can be found here on eBay.  It’s located in York, Pennsylvania, with bidding already up to $12,600, but still shy of reserve.

Dodge managed to sell over 7,000 of these during the course of 1978-1979, which seems like a fairly large amount considering how far away many buyers had strayed from performance vehicles.  They were all painted a color called Canyon Red from the factory, with the seller stating that the previous owner stored his truck inside for many years.  There’s no mention of whether or not the finish is original or if the body has ever had any work done, but unless it’s literally never hauled anything I don’t see how that bed could look as good as it does now 45 years later without at least some attention given to it, or perhaps I’m wrong.  That’s a real wood floor in the hauling area too, and yes, those protruding vertical exhaust pipes were standard!

More standard equipment was a modified 360 police engine under the hood.  The truck being offered here has a claimed 62,000 original miles, and while there isn’t any word if the motor has ever had a rebuild things do look nice and orderly under the hood, with a few dress-up items for even more eye-catching action in the engine compartment.  It’s paired with an automatic transmission.

Assuming it’s original, the interior seems to be well-preserved for the age, or maybe there’s been a bit of refreshing here and there, but in any event, I’m not seeing anything glaring that needs immediate attention inside.  We also get to see a few photos from the underside, which seems to show a solid undercarriage, although a very minor snafu is a tear in one of the mufflers.  I’m not finding much of anything here that’s making me not want to raise that bid amount higher, how about you?

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. Rw

    Looks decent at best IMO, not one good side view pic just enough to show the wheels suck worse than the O-E one’s did.

    Like 1
  2. Howie

    Best looking one that i have seen in a long time, does that one muffler have a rip in it?

    Like 3
  3. Grant

    Trucks were faster in those days as farmers and businesses lobbied for easier pollution controls. If used for business and you needed a better running machine, fair enough, but this was a loophole. No one ever hauled manure in one of these. Plus, it was a dumb idea putting performance in a pick up, they handled poorly enough as it was.

    Like 2
  4. BoatmanMember

    Didn’t the ’79 LRW’s have catalytic converters?

    Like 2
  5. Mr C.

    I owned 79 back in 1985 and sold it for $6,500. It was very clean and very low mileage. It ran 15.50’s @ 88 mph stock. I regret selling it but we built a new house and needed the money.

    Like 4
  6. Big Red

    Did these come with headers from factory?
    Its a real nice looking truck.

    Like 1
  7. TorinoSCJ69

    360 cube was a 225 hp engine.

    Here, a big Holley has replaced the Thermoquad carb + headers added, and unfortunately missing the original, dual snorkel air cleaner with cool air piping from both inner fenders.

    1978 No Cats underneath – just duals: Vehicles with a GVW (gross vehicle weight) of more than 6,000 pounds were not required to run catalytic converters.
    1979 – Yes, these had catalytic converters.

    Looks clean. 3.55 Rear was OEM.

    Great Read:

    Like 7
  8. BoatmanMember

    Original bed wood was painted.

    Like 1
  9. Tom

    My dad had a black one but it wasn’t the Red Express,he sold a 1970 Duster 340 to buy the pickup after I got my drivers licence!!It was a cool truck to cruise around in at 16!

    Like 2
  10. D Mattingly

    Wrong steering wrong!

    Like 0
  11. CCFisher

    Curse Dodge for putting that “EXPRESS” on the door decals and forever muddying this awesome vehicle’s name. For the record, the answer is on the tailgate: “LIL RED TRUCK”. If you don’t believe me, google up some of Dodge’s marketing materials.

    Like 1

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