NEW! Award 26: 1979 Dodge D150 Lil’ Red Express Tribute – NOW $22,000

Jul 2020 | NEW Award, Truckin Tuesday

July 7th update:  When we first featured this 1979 Dodge Lil Red Express tribute pick-up, it was easy to give the seller our latest “NEW!” (short for “No Effin Way!”) Award as he was asking more than concours money for a non-original example.  Fast forward seven months and one pandemic later and we noticed a new listing with the asking price now $22,000.  While this appears to be a nicely restored tribute, the seller should not expect much of premium over what a regular D100 equipped with the 360 cubic inch V8 would bring.  We predict this truck will continue to languish unsold through the fall.

In 1979, the fastest car sold in the U.S. wasn’t even a car.  It was the 1979 Dodge D100 Adventurer Lil’ Red Express pickup such as the example still posted here on Craigslist in Hackensack, New Jersey.  Unfortunately, the second owner since 1989 continues to ask original example money for a tribute car.  Now priced at $22,000 (down from $25,000 in December), while that is $4,400 below the #2 estimate for a real-deal Express, a check of the Hagerty Insurance Online Valuation Tool for a D100 Adventurer this Tribute is based on  confirms he has it priced $1,500 more than the #1 “Concours” estimate of $20,500.  And that’s exactly why this Tribute is stalled on Craigslist for nearly one month and for that, we’re awarding our latest “NEW!” (short for No Effen Way!) Award.  If you are serious about purchasing this truck and think you can convince the owner to negotiate on price a bit, you can start the conversation by e-mailing the seller here.

Leveraging a loophole in emissions regulations at the time, in 1978 Dodge released the Lil’ Red Express Truck which turned out to be the fastest American made vehicle from 0 to 100 MPH as tested by Car and Driver magazine.  The E.P.A. loophole meant the truck did not have catalytic converters handling the exhaust gasses of a special High Performance 360 cubic inch, four-barrel-topped small block Magnum V8 producing 225 net horsepower @ 3800 RPM. The package also included Hemi style mufflers with a crossover pipe breathing through 2 chrome stacks located behind the cab, a special 727 transmission and 3.55:1 rear gearing.  All 1978 Dodge Lil’ Red Express Truck’s were automatics the interiors were available with a standard bench seat in red or black or with optional buckets and a fold down arm/rest console which was available both years.  The feds quickly caught on so by 1979 when Dodge produced this example, it came equipped with a catalytic convertor although the exhaust was still routed through the cool exhaust stacks.

The owner of this truck for the past thirty years reports he completed a full restoration ten years ago using a Chrylser 360 Magnum crate motor using a combination of original and NOS parts.  With the values of the real-deal Lil’ Red Express trucks continuing to climb in value, this example makes a nice alternative to enjoying the driving experience without the worry of adding miles during each cruise.  If you can convince the current caretaker of the true value of his truck, good luck with the purchase!

Here’s the seller’s description:

“Please read full description before asking questions.

Up for sale is a complete off frame restored 1979 Dodge D100 1/2 ton step side pickup little red express replica.
Second owner since 1989. Always garage kept. Full restoration complete around 10 years ago.
Installed Chrysler 360 magnum crate engine.
Edelbrock high performance carburetor.
All original and NOS parts.
Multiple coats of POR15 on the frame.
Red oak wood flooring in bed finished with polished 304 nickel stainless strips.
All documents including invoices, pictures, original dodge manuals.This truck is mint condition. Come take a look.” 

Do you have a Lil’ Red Express story you’d like to share?  Comment below and let us know!

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