We Found A Rare Lil’ Red Dodgeolet Truck, Or Did We? This Thing Is CONFUSED

We Found A Rare Lil’ Red Dodgeolet Truck, Or Did We? This Thing Is CONFUSED

(By Greg Rourke) – The “WTF” file cabinet is getting pretty full at BANGshift. However, we have one more file folder to cram in. While wandering around Illinois, as I am known to do, I run across stuff. Some of it I wish I hadn’t. Case in point: This Dodge.
I’m sure you’re all familiar with the Dodge Lil’ Red Express pickup. In 1978 and 1979 performance was dead in Detroit, emissions rules and such. Mother Mopar found a loophole, half ton and larger pickups were nearly exempt. So they stuck a 4 barrel 360 in a step side D100, ran the exhaust through a pair of chrome stacks, and put big rubber on chrome wheels on all four corners. For 1978 only, catalytic converters were left in the bin, leaded fuel could still be used. The Lil Red Express and the lesser known Warlock were born, car rags of the day claimed they were among the very few vehicles produced that could top 100 MPH.
Don’t get your shorts in a bunch, this isn’t one. It’s a 1977, the seller doesn’t claim it’s a LRE, other than slapping the stickers on the doors. And what’s up with the Chevrolet sourced drivetrain? A 350 under the hood, a Turbo 350 under the floor, and a 12 bolt under the bed. I’d guess a Mopar man won’t want it with the heart transplant, and a Chevy man won’t want it either. You know, because it isn’t one.
At least for the $5000 asking price you’re getting a rust free pickup. You can use it while scouring the local U Pull It for a proper drivetrain.

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13 thoughts on “We Found A Rare Lil’ Red Dodgeolet Truck, Or Did We? This Thing Is CONFUSED

  1. David Honea

    Those were butt ugly then and they are still butt ugly. The only thing missing is a hook on the front to mount the porkchop to it so the dog will like it.

    I don’t care one bit what powerplant a dude puts in a ride, if you’re a real hot rodder, you look past all that brand loyalty crap and go with what your wallet dictates. I’m here to tell you that you morons that think your ride is ‘pure’ this or that are delusional. ALL automakers are incestuous whores- and will beg, borrow, steal, contract with vendors to get their product off the assembly line and onto the sales lot. Examples: IH, Chevy, Ford V-8’s in Studebakers. Bodies by Fischer. EVERYONE ordered their bodies by Fischer. LeBaron built MOPAR, NASH, etc etc bidoes. MOPAR rear ends are used in everything you can imagine, INCLUDING GM. Model A hot rods sporting EVERYONE’s power plant. Current Ford diesel trucks, running IH power plants. Chevy diesels made by Isuzu. Oh the horror! Transmissions made by those pesky Germans GETRAG. Transmissions in Jaguars made by GM. Transmissions in BMW’s made by GM. Transmissions in Jeeps made by Renault. Whuahhh? Yep. DeTomaso Pantera with a 351C Ford. Yeah baby, these dudes took the best of both worlds. Who can’t send love to the Pantera? I’ll take one, two or three! How about a 53 Studebaker, low slung with huge gears on the Salt Flats? You cry baby self-appointed keepers of the brand going to whine about something like that? OMG!! Why doesn’t it have a Chevy? OMG!! Why doesn’t it have a Ford? And the 401 Nailhead guys just keep on plugging away. Here’s what I have for you “brandys” – I’m a hot rodder. Get used to seeing me drive what I make. You can count on this: If I can locate an old F4 Phantom, afford the purchase and figure out how to stuff one of the J57’s into a frame with 4 wheels on it, what’s that to you? Do I do it to piss you off? No. I do it because I can. and yes, that is what I taught my 3 sons too. And yes, he decided to buy a rolling BMW 535 and slapped an LS into it; we don’t care what you think of it. As he blows by you on the freeway in luxury and comfort, look for his middle finger. You deserve it. Now move over, this Caddy got a license to fly….

    1. jerry z


      All you’re doing is preaching to the choir. I’m a Chevy guy and still hate what they did to this truck because I was a kid during the lean years of the 70’s. Stick in a late model Mopar drivetrain, have a little imagination.

      1. Dave Honea

        I’m a hot rod guy. That means, loyal to none, sworn to fun. I don’t care what moves it down the road, if it’s reliable, fast and my wallet likes it, I’ll drive it or ride it. Rat Rods are the bomb because of TRUE creativity. I own gas torches, a milling machine and a monster lathe for a reason. I’m not a ‘paint by numbers’ type of dude.

        This brand loyalty crap came started in the 60’s drag era wherein the factories were throwing up all over themselves to make a buck on the showroom floor. Granted, a lot of nice stuff came out of that effort, but one thing that wasn’t so nice popped up: mesmerized brand zombies walking around thinking if they bought that hideous UFO looking 62 Dodge Polara on the showroom floor, they’d somehow turn into a speed king because of what they saw on the drag track.

        And it worked on most, but not all. NASCAR Richard Petty never cared what he drove; his point was to win. Ford, Mopar, whatever. Get me across the line first, THAT is what counts.

        You actually had Mopar whining about their competition, Ford, for making too good of an engine! Made for NASCAR, the 427 DOHC motor was the bomb. All had to admit, THAT was one fine engine.

        So MOPAR protested because their nice 426 HEMI was no match. Ok, so Ford says screw it, and sold them to the drag freaks. EVERYONE wanted one because they were fast motors. But, would I stick a 426 HEMI into a Mustang? You dang right I would. That’s a nice mill. Love that engine. Just like I’d slobber all over a Ford DOHC 427 slammed into a 67 Camaro. Or a cute little Chevy 409 resting under the hood of a 53-55 Studebaker.

        So gents, unless you’re getting a paycheck in your account from brand x, you owe them NOTHING. No stickers, no logos, to arguing over which marque is superior, NOTHING.

        Now fire up the torch and the Sawzall and let’s get cutting.

  2. Chevy Hatin' Mad Geordie

    Lay off the crystal meth Dave!

    The most extreme version of Chevy pollution is the re-imagined Jensen Interceptor. This is a £100k plus car that has an LS in it instead of the Chrysler that had powered Jensens since the 60s, This has more to do with those Frenchies that Britain is trying to Brexit from than Chevy worship and I wouldn’t drive one no matter how good it is!

    1. Greg Rourke, post author

      No, it looks like it. I touched it, It’s steel. Seems unnecessary.

  3. 75Duster

    Why didn’t the owner just find a C10 to modify? It’s not like they aren’t readily available.

  4. Gump

    This is worse than the trans-a-pede from yesterday. I would be less disappointed seeing a slant 6 than this 350 junk.

    Yeah, wtf is with the panhard bar with leafs? Someone needs to cut back on the Keystone.

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