Muscle Truck: 1979 Dodge Lil’ Red Express

Adam ClarkeBy Adam Clarke

I look at vehicles like this ’79 Dodge and can’t help but wonder why we never received at least some of these in Australia. As a tow vehicle, they would have been brilliant, as there was nothing that would touch them Down Under. This Lil’ Red Express is listed for sale here on Craigslist. Located in Duncan, Oklahoma, it of offered for sale with a clean title. The seller has set a price of $7,000 on this vehicle. This Dodge was spotted by Barn Finder Dean, so I must say thank you to him for bringing it to our attention.

The ’79 model of the Lil Red Express was not as rare as the preceding year, with 5,118 built as opposed to the 2,188 built in 1978. However, the ’79 model did benefit from a few upgrades which included riding on 8″ wheels on all four corners as opposed to 7″ front and 8″ rears of the previous year. Having said that, it appears that the wheels fitted to this example aren’t the original wheels. This Dodge is in pretty reasonable condition, and restoring it to its former glory doesn’t look to be a particularly challenging job. All of the external trim appears to be present and most of it is in good condition. The body is essentially straight, and a repaint in its original Medium Canyon Red would certainly bring it back to life. The woodwork will also need to be restored, but even this would be fairly straightforward, as would replacing those distinctive stickers on the doors. I have to say that I really like those exhaust stacks!

The interior of this Express looks to be in quite good condition, with few issues to consider. The only things that may need addressing is the state of the carpet and the lack of a gas pedal. It’s hard to tell whether the carpet will respond to a clean, or whether it will require replacement. Replacing the missing gas pedal won’t be a problem. This pickup has also been fitted with an aftermarket CD player, and the installation doesn’t look that great, so this may need to be tidied up.

Under the hood is the 360ci V8 backed by the A-727 automatic transmission. Unlike the ’78 version, the ’79 model was fitted with a catalytic converter and ran on unleaded fuel. These changes did not have a noticeable impact upon the performance of the ’79 model. The engine in our featured vehicle looks quite clean, especially for a pickup of this age. The seller states that the truck runs and drives great, and that it is difficult to find a truck in this condition for the price.

The seller makes the statement about not being able to find a truck in this condition for the price, and I am quite willing to believe him. If this truck is as solid and good as he states, then a restoration is going to be really straightforward. Looking at what the ’79 Lil Red Express is achieving at present indicates that prices vary between $26,000 and $30,000 for a nice one. What I did find interesting is that in spite of the higher build numbers, the ’79 is consistently achieving higher prices than the ’78 model. The seller may well be right: At $7,000 this might be a really good buy.

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Comments

  1. RoughDiamond Member

    That truck looks to be well cared for and a good deal to me. I am not familiar with those dashes, just hope someone did not cut it up to install that cheap radio. I have had friends drive and even prefer driving without the actual gas pedal. It always felt awkward to me.

    2
  2. poseur Member

    this is a great opportunity to get in on an appreciating muscle truck for in solid condition on the cheap.
    if i was remotely close or had room i’d drop $7k on it in a, pardon me, “heartbeat.
    the underhood condition is amazing.
    it’s a repaint & stickers away from being in very respectable shape & well worth $10-12k.

    1
  3. stillrunners

    Dang…had hoped no one would see this driver that’s fairly close….priced right.

    1
  4. Chrysler Captain

    For big money I’d only buy a 78 version.My father has owned his 78 since 89 or 90.No converters.Single headlights.Staggered wheel combo.No spare….Yes the 78 is the big money for me….But I’m happy the 79s are coming around.

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  5. Rodney Barrett

    Could anyone help me import this beauty to New Zealand

    1
  6. Craig M Bryda

    It looks like for a weekend or two with a buffer & some sand paper & varnish you could bring the body around to be good enough for cruising & cars & coffee. I’m not cheap, just frugal/thrifty.

    2
  7. tricky

    Come and buy mine Adam, I have a ’77 located in Hervey Bay!!

  8. Wrong Way

    I must comment! There must be something not right because if everything is so straight forward to bring it back why doesn’t he do it and reap the profits?

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