Godzilla On Four Wheels: The Story of the Li’l Red Express Truck

The attitude of car lovers towards the EPA has often been similar to that of misbehaving kids towards their parents. Or perhaps suspects caught in a gambling den by the vice squad. Deep down inside, you know that what the authorities are doing is best. Yet you can’t help but resent them just a bit for shutting down the party. You also can’t help playing a little cat-and-mouse with them every now and then. In the late 1970s, Dodge did just that, when it found a loophole in EPA regs that allowed it to build the legendary Li’l Red Truck.

It was a Dodge D150 with a narrow box, 115 inch wheelbase, and monster 360 cubic inch V8. This big ole’ American V8 was fed generously by a four-barrel Holly and twin fresh-air inductors. Toss in the utter lack of emissions controls and you can see why this vehicle would send an environmentalist into overdrive from righteous indignation alone. In fact, the engine was originally designed and built purely for law enforcement vehicles.

But what really made the Li’l Red Truck a performer was the engine’s tuning, which pretended that air pollution was a vital nutrient essential for plants and animals to exist. This approach gave it 225 horses and a rocking 295 foot-pounds of torque at 3200 RPM.  The truck could do the standing quarter mile in less than 16 seconds. (The 225 HP claim is the official story from Dodge. Those who have tinkered with the power plant say it actually puts out a helluva lot more.)

Lil Red Express

When that monster engine exhaled, it did so through a pair of 2.5 inch chrome “smoke stacks” mounted just behind the cab, making the Li’l Red Truck look like a crimson-colored Kenworth. In fact, if you added an air horn and mud flaps, then the Dodge might give the big rigs a run for their money.

Starting price on the Li’l Red Truck in 1978 was a mere $5,000.00– about 18 grand in 2013 dollars. That got the buyer a base model in either red or black, with choice of bench or bucket seats. A thing of grace and refinement, the Li’l Red Truck was not. It was loud, the ride was hard, and it brakes were, in no way, equal to their task.

Nonetheless, for a while it gave its owners a taste of raw power unrestrained by anything resembling good sense.  For that, it has earned its place in automotive history.

PHOTOS: See more of the 1979 Dodge Lil’ Red Express Pickup

Photo Credit: Car Domain

Latest News

  • FDCI locks dates for next AIFW seasons

    New Delhi, March 29 (IANS) The Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI), the country's apex fashion body on Sunday announced dates for the Amazon India Fashion Week spring-summer and autumn-winter 2016 seasons. …

  • Success is becoming the best version of yourself: Hrithik

    Mumbai, March 29 (IANS) After coming out unscathed through all the struggles in his life, actor Hrithik Roshan has nothing but inspiration to offer his fans and says success to him is becoming the best version of one's own self. Success to me is becoming the best version of yourself," Hrithik told IANS. …

  • I am really glad rap music has found some place in Bollywood, says Mickey Singh

    By Ashish Kumar Singh New Delhi, Mar 29 (ANI): Indo American singer Mickey Singh recently discussed the importance of rap and fusion music in Bollywood during his visit to New Delhi. The 'Double Addi' hitmaker spoke exclusively to ANI about his music and the current music trend in Bollywood, saying that he was really glad that rap music had found some place in Bollywood. The American pop sensation said, "Rappers like Badshah and Yo Yo Honey Singh have definitely taken rap music and Indian …

  • Disappointing first quarter, say Bollywood's trade gurus

    Mumbai, March 29 (IANS) With no blockbusters, and a majority of debacles, the first quarter of 2015 has been disappointing for Bollywood box office, say trade gurus, who believe that small fries like "NH10" and "Badlapur" have managed to earn plaudits and profits. It's been an average year so far -- none of the Khans' films released, and the only A-list starrer "Baby", featuring Akshay Kumar, was among the four movies that performed well. This year, there was was no such major film," trade …

  • Reality shows not my thing: Nathalia Kaur

    New Delhi, March 29 (IANS) Brazilian model Nathalia Kaur, who recently stepped out of her comfort zone to perform some action-packed stunts in Indian reality show "Khatron ke Khiladi Darr Ka Blockbuster Returns", says she has no intentions to take part in any other reality show as of now. "Reality shows are not my thing. Films are my focus at the moment," Nathalia told IANS over phone from Mumbai. I think I'm not made for reality shows," she said. …

  • Films on Himachal's wildlife may hit roadblock

    Shimla, March 29 (IANS) Big budget documentaries showcasing Himachal Pradesh's prized wildlife, including the highly endangered pheasant, by Green Oscar winning filmmaker Mike Pandey may hit a roadblock. The wildlife department has decided to give one last chance to the acclaimed filmmaker to seek his view over the inordinate three-year delay in completing four sets of documentaries of 30 minutes each, a senior official told IANS. The government has made a partial payment of Rs.40 lakh to the …

  • Being an actor a torture for skin: Taapsee Pannu

    New Delhi, March 29 (IANS) "Baby" actress Taapsee Pannu, who has signed up an endorsement deal with skincare brand Everyuth, says the acting profession is a "torture" on one's skin -- but with a mix of right food and liquid intake, she keeps herself glowing. What is your take -- should celebrities promote the concept of fairness creams? …

  • Radhika won't do songs that objectify women

    Mumbai, March 29 (IANS) Actress Radhika Apte, who picks content-driven films, says she would not do an item song which objectifies women. Asked if she's willing to do item songs in Bollywood, the "Hunterrr" told IANS: "It all depends on what it is. What is item number? …

Loading...