Believe it or not, the Dodge Lil' Red Express pickup was one of the fastest vehicles you could buy in the late 1970s, so that explains why you'd want to build a tribute like this 1977 Dodge Lil' Red Express Tribute. With a strong-running 318 V8, a distinctive look, and not a lot of weight to haul around, was this the first muscle truck? Either way, if you want attention, this is an affordable way to get a whole truckload of it.
All the Lil' Red Express trucks were (obviously) Canyon .....
Red, and the combination of the familiar Ram front end with a stepside bed and chrome smoke stacks gives it a vintage look that works rather well. This one started life as a V8 D100, which is cool by itself, but it got a full makeover to create something even cooler and much more iconic. Whomever was doing the work got it right, so it has a fresh-from-the-70s look that is pretty cool today. The gold decals on the doors and tailgate are in great shape and work well with the wood paneling in the bed and the chrome stacks that give it an old-fashioned look. This was the '70s, so build quality was decent, and the restoration keeps it pretty much as it would have been when it was new: not perfect but quite good. It's a driver, but a driver that brings more attention than most show cars at the cruise in. A big grille, heavy-duty rear bumpers, and yes, a pair of functional exhaust stacks, all help with the big rig attitude. The bed is also neatly finished with dark wood planks and color-matched rub strips, with the result being too nice to put to heavy-duty work but just right for cruising to local shows.
Most 'Lil Red Express trucks had either red or black interiors (some even had Levi's denim), but this particular tribute has a very comfortable gray-and-silver cloth bench seat interior that really works inside. Today, this is probably the smarter choice and it looks quite fresh with a newer seat cover, nice dark gray carpets, and handsome door panels that tie the whole cab together. There's also a custom center console that continues the theme, and it includes a couple cup holders and a Pioneer AM/FM/CD head unit that handles the tunes. The dash is full of original round gauges that handle the basics, and the big steering wheel is the original unit that's still in very solid shape. The dash pad is in good shape too, showing no signs of having baked in the sun, and this truck offers both power steering and power brakes, so it's a great cruiser. I can certainly think of worse places to spend a Saturday afternoon, can't you?
The engine is a 318 cubic inch V8, which makes plenty of power and torque to make the Express feel downright spunky on the road. It's believed to be the original motor that was born with the truck and still features a stock 2-barrel carburetor and original intake manifold, so it's running smoothly and efficiently, much like it did when it was new. The presentation is all stock as well, featuring a light blue block, matching valve covers, a snorkeled air cleaner, and stock headers that feed the dual exhaust system that terminates into those uber-cool tall stacks. The TorqueFlite 3-speed automatic was also retained and feeds the original rear end, which is geared to make cruising at higher speeds very effortless. It's got the right stance for a truck and sits on aluminum wheels wrapped with 275/60/15 Cooper Cobra white-letter radials that finish off the look.
These have always been cool trucks, and with lots of good work completed on this tribute, it sure seems like a smart buy. Guaranteed to draw a crowd wherever it goes, this is a fast, fun little hauler that definitely earns its keep. Call today!