Selling For A Friend: 1979 Dodge Lil’ Red Express – Sold?

by | Apr 2021 | Craigslist ClassiFINDS, Truckin Tuesday

May 18, 2021 Update – We just confirmed the listing for this “Classifind” expired, so with no replacement found we’re assuming this ride “Sold?” While this one got away, please reach out either by email or call Rudy directly if you’d like to be informed when we come across something similar.

For 1979, Dodge continued cashing in on their limited edition Lil’ Red Express Pick Up Truck launched one year earlier and this example originally listed in April 2021 on Craigslist in Boonton, New Jersey shows off how well-optioned these were.  A friend of the owner of this survivor-quality example equipped with factory air conditioning is currently offering this Lil’ Red Express for $24,000.  Checking the Hagerty Insurance Online Valuation Tool confirms the current caretaker has his limited-edition Dodge priced between the #3 “Good” appraisal of $17,200 and the #2 “Excellent” appraisal of $26,900. As a second data point, the Collector Car Market Review reveals the seller’s ask falls between this guide’s #2 “Very Good” estimate of $19,000 and its #1 “Excellent appraisal of $28,900.

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.

It didn’t take long for the EPA to close said Loophole so while the Li’l Red Express returned for 1979, it was now equipped with a performance-hampering catalytic converter and a milder cam. Hood and headlights were changed to a modern quad square bulb layout, however, the trucks’ appearance was otherwise the same. Buyers, having been tipped off by scores of favorable magazine articles, stepped up to purchase more than 5,000 of the model. Surging gas prices, however, took the wind out of the sails, and production was canceled after two years.

We came across this driving view of a similar ’79 Lil’ Red Express pickup on YouTube to give you a great perspective of what its like to drive one:

We like this ’79 example as it’s clearly a well-maintained, survivor-quality example that is priced appropriately based on the current market. A serious detailing of the engine and restoration of the pickup bed are all that is needed to have this truck ready to hit the serious show circuit​. We say for now, just enjoy it this year and attend to those details over the winter.

Here’s the seller’s description:

“No emails, call only! Thanks. 1979 DODGE”LIL’ RED EXPRESS BENCH SEAT, A/C, 360 HI-PERFORMANCE V-8, A/T, P.S., P.B.–88,200 MILES-TRUCK WAS RUSTPROOFED FROM NEW=NO ROT NO RUST VIN D13JS9S196580 $24,000 BOONTON,N.J. I’m listing this pickup truck for my friend, John, call him.”

Show or go: what would you do with this Lil’ Red Express?  Comment below and let us know!


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