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L’il Red Steal? 1979 Dodge L’il Red Express

It’s hard to believe now that a truck was the fastest American vehicle being produced in 1978, but that’s supposedly the case. This 1979 Dodge L’il Red Express can be found here on Hemmings in Lyndonville, Vermont. The seller is asking what seems like a great price: $10,600. This could be a L’il Red Steal.

If the first thing you do is click on the sales link and go through the photos like most of us do, you’ll see that there don’t appear to be any really big, glaring issues with this truck. Hagerty is at $10,900 for a #4 fair condition truck and this sure seems like it’s nicer than fair condition to me. Without seeing it in person, who knows. They list a #3 good condition truck as being worth $16,100 so there’s a lot of room to make improvements while still keeping under that value.

The wood on the sides of the stepside bed would be easy to refinish, a nice weekend project. As far as that little step plate that the exhaust comes out of, it looks great on the passenger side as seen above but not as nice on the driver’s side, I don’t know if that’s a replacement and they didn’t have it finished or what the story is. But again, things like that are probably easy fixes. The L’il Red Express was the fastest American vehicle between 0-100 mph at the time, according to Car and Driver magazine. The 1979 models had a catalytic converter and a milder cam so if you’re looking for the hottest one, the 1978 truck would be the one to find. Still, for ten-grand, this seems like a good deal to me.

The interior has a few additions or subtractions depending on how a person looks at keeping things original. I’m reasonably certain that the seat didn’t look like that and it would have most likely been vinyl. The steering wheel looks normal but with a fat cover on it. Overall, like the body, it’s hard to tell but the interior looks pretty nice for a $10,000 truck that’s worth $26,100 in excellent condition. The bed has powder-coated aluminum panels in it instead of wood, which is unfortunate. That can be changed back if the next owner wants to keep it looking stock.

Here’s the big change with this truck, the original 360 and transmission come with the sale but this is a rebuilt 440 cubic-inch V8. There is no mention of horsepower or anything else, the seller is low on word count for the listing but for anyone interested in one of these trucks, it might be hard to find a nicer one for the money. Any thoughts on this L’il Red Express?


  1. Avatar photo Rock On

    Looks like a great deal if you enjoy doing big billowing smokey burnouts!

    Like 9
  2. Avatar photo Evan

    Until the mid-70s pickup trucks were purchased almost exclusive by people who, you know, actually needed to pick stuff up. So the EPA cut these “work vehicles” some emissions slack.

    And then Dodge made this. Every time you see a pickup truck with an empty, unscathed bed, you can blame this truck.

    Like 4
    • Avatar photo Eric Fowler

      You mean like this 2004 Ranger Tremor edition truck with 259k miles.

      Like 5
  3. Avatar photo michael h streuly

    Cool truck for the money.

    Like 3
  4. Avatar photo Gaspumpchas

    Bet it will haul the groceries nicely with that 440. 10k seems like a great deal if you are looking for one of these beauties. Good luck to new owner. Ahh the beauty of a turn key vehicle!!

    Like 2
  5. Avatar photo JimmyinTEXAS

    “…you’ll see that there don’t appear to be any really big, glaring issues with this truck.”
    I didn’t see any glaring issues but I did see glaring omissions. There are no underside shots which are the first thing I look at. The second thing I look at is the under hood photos which in this case look really, really nice. Both bottom door sills look well worn, but hey 40 year old vehicles have some wear. The seat bracket gives me pause, lots of rust there, but I like this truck and the price seems right or very close to right. Get the 360 and tranny that came with it and drive…

    Like 1
  6. Avatar photo Tort Member

    Could not understand when they were new and I still cannot who would want lil Red Express on their pickup door!

    Like 1
    • Avatar photo Tricky

      Obviously a lot of people as they sold pretty darn well!! Maybe its a case of ‘There are none so blind as those who cannot see’!!

      Like 0
  7. Avatar photo Scotty Gilbertson Staff

    As of May 5, 2019 the listing has been removed, someone must have grabbed it!

    Like 0

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