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The Lil Red Express!

'79 Lil Red

While Dodge’s Lil Red Express truck is a bit over the top styling wise, these muscle trucks are really quite cool and are becoming a sought after collectible. This great looking example has been listed here on eBay in Clarklake, Michigan with the high bid at the time of writing of just over $6,000, with the reserve not met. Dodge had a 2 year run with the Lil Red Express, 2,188 produced in ’78 and 5,188 in ’79. This is the more common 1979 model, but it is still desirable.

'79 Lil Red rear

Straight off the assembly-line, the Lil Red Express came with the E58 police package 360 V8 engine. The odometer is showing 66K on this truck and the seller has owned this truck for 12 years.

'79 Lil Red engine

Here’s what could be your new 360 V8 with a 850 cfm carter thermo-quad four barrel carburetor. Reported to produce 225 horsepower, the Express is no slouch. To keep things handling well there is a rear stabilizer bar, drum brakes on the back and power disc brakes up front to stop fast. Dodge claimed the ’78 was the fastest American production vehicle for that year. Claiming and being are not necessarily the same.

'79 Lil Red int.

The new owner, at some point, may wish to recover the driver’s seat and repair the rust in the image below.

'79 Lil Red rust

This is an original matching numbers truck. Other than a few flaws, it looks to be in great shape.

'79 Lil Red front

If you are looking for a low production number, matching numbers, go-fast truck this could be the one. Is a Lil Red Express in your near future? In most cases you would be the only one parked in the parking lot and/or at most car shows with a truck like this!



  1. Mark E

    When these came out, malaise era automotive was at it’s peak. The corvette was essentially a Monte Carlo with a fiberglass body. I recall the claim that this model pickup was the fastest production vehicle of the year and I don’t doubt it…

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  2. Walter Joy

    1979 had a few changes over the 1978 (besides the grille). It had a new hood, steering wheel, all 4 wheels were the same size, and the truck had catalytic converters. Another interesting thing is they weren’t sold in some states due to noise, like California and Maryland

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  3. Bobsmyuncle

    The engine was a modified police engine. Different cam, timing chain, rockers, carb, and actually I think heads.

    The speed rating may have been true but it was measured to 100 not 60.

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  4. Mike R

    For the closet redneck in all of us.. :D

    Fun toy tho.

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  5. Toast54

    A local Dodge dealer was taking the basic slant 6 225 and adding the stacks, wheels and graphics to sell these. It still had the exhaust pipe at the back. Darn thing looked silly.

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  6. Howard A Member

    Dodge had several of these, including the “Midnite Express” and the “Warlock”. Dodge was sharp back then. Apparently, this WAS the fastest production vehicle then, as most of the horsepower limitations applied to cars, and trucks weren’t included.( until later) Being an old trucker, I always liked the “dual up pipes”, but the rest of the vehicle didn’t really appeal to me. Looks like I wasn’t alone in that thinking, but still a cool truck.

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    • Bobsmyuncle

      Yep this was originally slated to carry the name; Red Warlock.

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  7. Charles

    If my memory is correct, a friend of mine at Auburn had one of these, but replaced it with a Subaru BRAT.

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  8. randy

    I came very close to buying one of these when they were new, I decided on the Plymouth Arrow Sport truck instead, yellow and black with satin black paint. I once made the mistake of waxing the hood. The Arrow truck was fast as well with a 2.6 MCA jet Mitsubishi engine. The price difference was only $1000.00 back then.

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  9. Ed P

    This is an interesting model and it is not in bad shape. It looks good and can be driven now. Fix it as you go. As to it being the fastest, remember that this is a period when performance was pathetic.

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  10. Chebby

    I remember when these came out and wanting one SO bad, but I was seven years old at the time. I still think it’s cool, but they are definitely styled for 7-year old boys.

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  11. JimmyinTEXAS

    I am so glad this one has new headlight doors. Those things are made out of unobtainum…

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  12. HeadMaster1

    I had a 78 Lil Red a few years back (2002-2005), great truck for waking up the neighbors. The mufflers are prone to rust out as water will get down those pipes if parked outside when it rains. I replaced the mufflers with Cherry Bomb glass packs, dam thing was loud and right at your ear. I got pulled over one time and the cop read me the riot act for putting stacks on a pick up truck. He was a younger guy, he didn’t believe a word I said about them being factory correct….This was one of Dodge’s “Adult Toys” and they are just plain cool…..The 78 is the one to have, but either way they are very cool…..I will probably buy another one some day, just because…….

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    • Patsy Hines

      I bought a little Red Express in 1978. I still have it. Has 38,000 miles on. I raced this truck back in the day, it was fast.

      Like 0

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