The Dodge Lil Red Express was already one tough truck back in 1979, but how do you make it tougher? Well, consigning the original 360ci V8 to some dusty corner of the workshop, and then squeezing a 440 Six-Pack under the hood would be a pretty good start. That has been the fate of this one, and the result is one Lil Red Express with a serious dose of attitude. If you would like to get your hands on a truck with tire-frying abilities, then you will find this one located in Aztec, New Mexico, and listed for sale here on eBay. Bidding on the Express has reached $14,700 in what is a No Reserve auction.
Having spent its entire life in New Mexico, it should be no surprise to learn that rust is not an issue with this beast. What is impressive is how well the bright red paint and the timber trim pieces have survived in such a harsh environment. It isn’t perfect, and some of the timber, especially that in the bed, is starting to show its age a bit. It isn’t bad, but I suspect that someone is going to want to restore it at some point down the track. It appears to be wearing the original 8″ chrome wheels that were part of the package on the 5,118 vehicles produced in 1979. The original, menacing chrome exhaust stacks are also still present, and appear to be in really good condition. Overall, the whole vehicle seems to present really well. However, that is just the entree.
Now we get to the main course with this mighty Dodge. The original engine under the hood of the Lil Red Express was the 360ci V8, backed by an A-727 automatic transmission. Both of these items are nothing more than a distant memory. What you get now is a 440ci Six-Pack, and this is in extremely good health. It has only accumulated around 500 miles since it received a rebuild. This included a new set of Speed Pro forged flat-top pistons, and a Competition Cam. The rest of the internals are said to be standard, but the combination should produce plenty more horses than the original 360 did. Into the bargain comes a nice looking set of headers, along with power steering and power brakes. Replacing the bullet-proof A-727 transmission is a 4-speed manual transmission. All of the conversion work was performed using a kit from Direct Connection, and all of the documentation and receipts for the work are included with the vehicle. The owner doesn’t provide any real information on how the truck performs, but if you play the video clip at the bottom of this article, you will hear that it sounds seriously tough.
The interior is pretty well what you would expect to find inside a 1979 Lil Red Express. There was a choice of upholstery colors, and in this case, it’s red. The condition of the interior trim and carpet is really nice, but one thing that has been lost in the conversion is the original air conditioning. However, this might not be a problem to rectify at some point down the track. Aftermarket additions include a CD player, a tachometer mounted in the dash, and a cluster of gauges hanging under the dash itself. Those probably aren’t a bad idea to monitor the monster under the hood.
The Lil Red Express became something of a legend during its 2-year production run. In 1978, it was the fastest accelerating American production vehicle from 0-100mph, and even the 1979 model, which found itself wearing a catalytic converter, was no slouch. I don’t know how much faster this one would be, but I suspect that it would be well and truly capable of grabbing your attention if you buried the gas pedal. These are a desirable vehicle, and original examples are achieving some pretty impressive prices today. This one might not be original, but I’ll bet that it’s a lot of fun. In fact, it is a vehicle that would be pretty hard to pass up. Would you like to own this one, or would you prefer an original example?
This content was originally published here.