• Mar 19, 2009
Dodge's original Li'l Red Express trucks are now in their early 30s, and even building a clone will be an exercise in rust mitigation and parts scavenging. By the time you're done, you'll have spent enough to buy a brand new Ram. Mopar high-performance icon Mr. Norm's is doing what Chrysler can't currently manage, reviving the spirit of the original with a fully modern Red XPress Truck, using the excellent new Ram as a basis. The name has been tweaked and there's no fat-fendered bed, but the general idea is the same.

1978 Dodge Li'L Red ExpressChrysler's 5.7-liter Hemi is the standard fitment, and with 380 horsepower and 403 pound-feet of torque, it makes a good argument. Alternatively, 6.1 liters of SRT crate Hemi will give you about 450 hp, and then there's the 426 cubic inch version of the SRT engine, which Mr. Norm's modified with forged internals and more stroke. Thus tweaked, the 426 nets you about 600 hp, nearly triple the 225 hp kicked out by the police-spec 360 in the original.

Appearance is obviously also part of the package, and there are graphics on the doors reminiscent of the original, as well as homage-paying exhaust stacks as part of the list of optional upgrades, – all of which we could see ourselves buying. Starting at an estimated $3,599 for the base Red XPress Truck, the price of entry sounds entirely reasonable, though lowering the ride height, bumping up to the biggest engine and its Tremec/Dana 60 combo will probably inflate the price as much as it inflates the performance. No word on whether it comes with a C.B. radio and a huge whip for booming into the next county with your next Tx.

[Source: Pickuptrucks.com]


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  • 28 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'm also looking forward to a possible monster truck version to go toe-to-toe with the likes of Digger and Max-D...
      • 5 Years Ago
      Well, the old one looked better (as all cars), but they didn't messed it up badly.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Smokestacks on blocky 70's wood-clad stepside pickup = charming.

      Smokestacks on "sleek" modern pickup without stepside = pathetic.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I agree! Needs a stepside!
      • 5 Years Ago
      So, if someone gets around to making an aftermarket stepside bed for the new Ram, will this truck feature it from that point on?

      Either way, fan-*******-tastic!
      • 5 Years Ago
      I like the original better.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Oh Damn!
      • 5 Years Ago
      Amazing that when car companies are looking to their past to create something fun and unique that they are taken out back and shot for it. I guess we all have to drive boring 4 door hybrid sedans designed for german cement salesmen. While its not my cup of tea, i still think its a cool looking truck and is at least creative and a nod to the past. Nothing with wrong with having a fun "weekend" truck. Not everyone is into sports cars. Some people just like to cruise.
      • 5 Years Ago
      OH MY LORD YES!!!!
      • 5 Years Ago
      Nothing says piss poor article like incorrect facts: the HEMI gets 390 hp and 407 lb-ft of torque... but I guess it's too much to ask for a little fact checking out of Autoblog's staff....
        • 5 Years Ago
        Doh, sorry about that. It's my fault for going off Chrysler's original power ratings for the Ram. They remain wedged in my brain. It's actually 390/407. Again, really sorry about that.
        • 5 Years Ago
        From our source (Pickuptrucks.com): "Mr. Norm's Red Xpress Truck will come standard with the Ram’s 380-horsepower, 403-pounds-feet-of-torque"

        • 5 Years Ago
        Mike, what's a few horsepower amongst friends? ;)

        no worries - there's a +/- in the SAE HP spec, anyway...
      • 5 Years Ago

      Sarcasm On/

      Nice to see that Chrysler is putting all this time, money and effort to good use.
        • 5 Years Ago
        WHAMMY!

        My bad. Still, does a truck really need a 5.7 with hemispherical combustion chambers? (Honda used those before)
        • 5 Years Ago
        Um... Chrysler isn't doing this. It's a separate aftermarket company.
      • 5 Years Ago
      For some reason, I thought of the P*ssy Wagon from Kill Bill when I saw this truck.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Those trucks were AWESOME! My dad had one for a long time. I'd love to have one of the originals for myself.
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