From 1978 to 1979 Dodge produced a breathtakingly gorgeous and powerful truck as part of their special Dodge D series. The vehicle is known as the Li’l Red Express, and its design perfectly embodies its name. The iconic red coloring and compact size made it an attractive investment for vehicle enthusiasts, but the truck featured far more than just style. The Li’l Red Express offered a powerful, muscle-esque performance that was already out of fashion in the late 1970s because of emission restrictions and other factors.
Although the Li’l Red Express is iconic and powerful, that doesn’t mean it’s unavailable to contemporary car collectors. The vehicle can be found on classic car websites and auctions for a reasonable price. Whether you invest in a powerhouse vehicle, such as the Li’l Red Express, or another classic truck, make sure to insure it with Classic Auto Insurance. We offer robust and affordable coverage for vehicle lovers like you.
The History of the Dodge Li’l Red Express
The Dodge Li’l Red Express came on the scene ten years after the muscle car era. Muscle cars were no longer as relevant as they had been in their heyday because of rising fuel prices, safety and emission mandates, and increasing insurance prices. Although the general public was not interested in muscle cars, Dodge still strived to create high-performance vehicles. In the late 1970s, they debuted stylish and powerful vehicles known as “adult toys.” Some of the “adult toys” lineup included the Warlock, Midnight Express, Street Van, and Macho Power Wagon.
In 1978, Dodge came out with a powerful and stunning vehicle as part of their “adult toys” lineup known as the Li’l Red Express. The Li’l Red Express featured rustic gold lettering of its name on the side of its bright red body, and it offered an enviable speed performance. The vehicle could supposedly accelerate to 100 miles per hour faster than any other American-made car.
Dodge marketed the Li’l Red Express as a lifestyle pickup truck for personal use. Although the vehicle remains iconic to this day, Dodge only produced it from 1978 to 1979. The vehicle was underappreciated because of mounting gas prices and changes regarding emission standards.
Dodge produced a little over 7,300 Li’l Red Express vehicles, and many can be found for sale to this day. The average cost of this beauty is around $21 thousand.
Dodge Li’l Red Express Specifications
The Li’l Red Express sported an unrestricted 360 cubic inch V8 engine. Emission standards were already strict by 1978, but engine designer Tom Hoover found a loophole to equip the Li’l Red Express with criminally high performance. He discovered that light-duty trucks were not required to feature catalytic converters if their gross weight rating reached above 6,000 pounds. With this in mind, Dodge was able to bypass the need for a catalytic converter so that they could offer drivers the power of a classic muscle car. In 1979, Dodge was forced to equip the vehicle with a catalytic converter after even stricter emission regulations were released.
The truck’s V8 engine was designed from a modified police-code E58 engine block, and it used the camshaft of a 1968 340 cubic inch engine. Additionally, it utilized an intake manifold from a 1978 police 360 V8 and a Carter 4-barrel carburetor. The truck also featured power steering with a column shifter and a modified three-speed automatic transmission.
In addition to performance, the truck had a distinct style. The Li’l Red Express came with oak siding, pine flooring, and chrome-slotted wheels. The vehicle also featured two notable chrome exhaust stacks behind the cab. For interior style, drivers could choose between red or black trimmed seats.
Protect Your Classic Truck with Classic Auto Insurance
Whether you’re driving a classic powerhouse performance truck, like the Dodge Li’l Red Express, or another classic, luxury, or vintage vehicle, protect your prized possession with Classic Auto Insurance. We work with our clients to determine agreed-upon value prices, and we’ll find you a plan that best suits your needs and the needs of your vehicle.
If you want to learn more about Classic Auto Insurance or if you need a quote, click here or call 888-901-1338. Our car experts are ready to assist you with any questions you may have.