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Rusty Red: 1979 Dodge Lil Red Express

The Lil’ Red Express edition was offered in 1978 and 1979 by Dodge and all were equipped with a 360 cubic inch police interceptor V8 engines. This example is a 1979 model listed here on eBay. It is located in Groveland, Florida and there are 4 days remaining in the auction. It is currently bid to $6,600 and is sold at no reserve. Most people don’t know that only 5,118 examples of the Li’l Red Express were produced in 1979 and it was not available for sale in California, Florida, Maryland, Oregon, and Washington. In 1978, only 2,188 units were produced.

The interior is dirty and looks like it has been sitting in a barn. The seller states that is exactly what this Lil’ Red Express edition truck has been doing for the last 10 years. The truck is said to have 69,000 original miles and was a 1 family owned truck since new. The seller pulled the vehicle from the barn and replaced the fluids, installed a new carburetor and it fired right up. The dealer who is selling it even states that there is no smoking from the tailpipes and no fluid leaks.

There original 360 V8 engine is said to run excellent and the three speed automatic transmission shifts well through all three gears. The engine was designated the EH-1 and was fed by a Carter Thermo-Quad carburetor and a dual plane, cast iron, EGR equipped intake manifold. A dual-snorkel air intake was mounted on top of the engine and exhaust was fed through dual exhaust fed stacks. The engine had an 8.2 to 1 compression ratio. The engine produced 225 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. A brake job is needed and probably some other work such as replacement of fuel lines is recommended. The truck will need new tires to safely drive it also.

The truck body looks great from a distance even with the wood paneling deteriorated and the decals faded. However, there is rust on several body panels and there a detailed photos to show the condition. I like an optimist but the seller describes the paint as “in OK condition for the age.” Power was listed as 225 hp for these trucks. Hot Rod magazine was able to achieve a 14.7 second quarter mile time in a 1978 pre-production prototype. That was almost as fast at the W72 equipped Trans Am with a published quarter mile time of 14.6 seconds. A catalytic converter was added in 1979 which was not present on 1978 models and quarter mile times were recorded at 15.7 seconds, a full second slower.


  1. The Purple Defender

    BTW, Bruce Johnson, are you still playing with the Beach Boys?

    Like 2
    • Bub

      Nice try. Bruce Johnson is doing what he’s only ever done, playing superb jazz guitar.
      Bruce Johnston is still active with The Beach Boys.

      Like 2
    • Bruce Johnson Bruce Johnson Staff

      Unfortunately, my talents don’t lie in the music area but I do like listening to Lil Deuce Coupe!

      Like 4
  2. Red Roof Rusted (B52 tin roof)

    This needs a new cab .
    Wowza the rust on roof cap and back lower cab is bad.

    Like 3
  3. Bob

    I had a 79… although it had the emissions and converters I still smoked a 79 Corvette. Mine was just like the one shown sans the rot..
    It had issues when I bought it… wanted to put a lemon where the decal on the door is.. Still a memorable ride

    Like 2
  4. CCFisher

    Li’l Red Truck. It’s a Li’l Red Truck, like is says on the tailgate and in all Dodge promotional materials.

    Like 1
  5. RMac

    Cc if you r going to be picky it actually reads. “Li’l Red EXRESS Truck”
    Buddy has had one for 25 years loud and crude but lots of grins and thumbs up

    Like 1
  6. The Purple Defender

    I said it b4 and I will say it again, some strange stuff going on here on this site. Posts disappear and vanish into the night like some thief, rarely to return. Where do they go? Hopefully to a better place where they can be cared and loved for without prejudice. Remember, all posts are someone’s children. Just because you may not love them, someone else most surely loves them very much and the loss of them would be inconsolable.

    Like 5
    • Bub

      Hahaha. You’re a hoot, Purple.
      Thanks for that. 👍

      Like 4
  7. Grape Ape

    360 cubes, 8.2 to 1 compression ratio, producing 225 HP and 295 ft-lbs is impressive for the year imo.
    Grew up Washington State, had one of these running around back in the day, looked fun.

    Like 0

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